‘Dementia’ that dreaded word anyone with elderly parents dreads hearing!
As you know I have been caring for my elderly dad, dealing with a number of health issues but things have been going ok and we have been taking things a day at a time. In recent months I have been more concerned with my dad’s short-term memory loss, which has been quite worrying. Some days he is very alert and active, other days he can be quite frail and doesn’t recall many things that have been said or done the previous day.
I have lots of helpful ideas which I put into place for my dad, such little notes reminding him to take his tablets at certain times, if I’m not there. I also have a whiteboard on which I write a few things down for him, such as what day and date it is, what he needs to remember , such as an appointment, or a time when I will be calling around. These do help most days, but then there are days when my dad doesn’t even remember to read the little notes or the whiteboard 😥
It was during a visit to my dads consultant at the memory clinic two weeks ago when that dreaded word ‘dementia’ was brought up! First of all I let my dad do the talking when asked how he had been in the last six months since his last appointment and as usual my dad replied “I’ve been fine, no change really, I can’t complain can I” . .
It was at this point the consultant turned to me to ask if I was in agreement with dad’s response or was there anything I wished to discuss regarding my dad’s condition, had things stayed the same or was there anything I had been worried about.
I discussed what had been worrying me regarding a few incidents over the last few months of which had concerned me, and there had been quite a few, such as my dad calling me late at night to see where everyone was? Telling me he had been out shopping and on his return he wondered where everyone was, telling me someone had been in the house as things had been moved?
This was worrying for me as my dad doesn’t go anywhere on his own, he is to unstable on his legs, his balance is not good and he gets confused easy therefore, he only goes out with me, to hospital appointments, for his pension, shopping etc. . .
When I recalled the conversation with my dad the next day, he had no memory of this at all. We did laugh about it, but after the discussion we attended his memory clinic appointment only twenty minutes later and on discussion with the consultant, my dad, again couldn’t recall the conversation at all.
There have been other things happening similar to this, that have had me worried about his memory and all this was discussed at the appointment.
When the consultant finally suggested it could now be the start of dementia, it was quite heartbreaking, yes I know my dad is 84 but you don’t want to think of your dad suffering with the onset of this debilitating disease, I didn’t want to think of losing the dad I know to dementia. . .
The good news, there was a course of medication for him to trial, but after two weeks it was very apparent they didn’t agree with my dad and he was taken off them.
A Good Life: I feel quite sad for him, he has had a great life, this isn’t suppose to happen to him. . He has seen the world, experienced so many things I could never dream of doing, he spent ten years in the Merchant Navy and loved all of the experiences, the places, the people, the culture of so many countries across the world. All of these he can still recall and talk about and I always encourage him to discuss.
Life Story – A Book in the making? I keep telling dad I will write the book of his life story as he’s had such an interesting life. This may be something I will complete one day, as a while ago I did start to write this book, I have quite a few chapters already written, depicting his life, maybe I will complete it one day 🤔
So another thing to deal with on this journey of caring for my dad, who has good days and bad, all of which I deal with one day at a time. I just hope that dementia does not take over him, I want to keep the dad I know, and not see a steady decline when other decisions may have to be made concerned his welfare and still very independent life.
Dad is still living in his own house, I am only two street away and spend time with him every day, sometime two or three times, he also spends a lot of time at my home or out with me. However, my dad still likes to go home to relax watching his own TV and reading his paper, as well as sleeping in his own bed and while he still enjoyed doing all those things in his own home, I will carry on supporting him to do that.
Apart from this little set back and worrying diagnosis, we as a family are all carrying on as normal, keeping dad involved in everything, helping him to stay as active as we can.
Thank you for reading my post, do comment as its always nice to see what others think. . Have a nice week