My Dad has early onset dementia :-(

posted 2 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
Member
2661 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Oh gosh, how heartbreaking.  I do know there are medications now that can slow down dementia.  I hope he is a candidate for one of those.  Thoughts and prayers for your family,  Dementia is heartbreaking.  Your dad is the same age as mine.  I can’t imagine!

Post # 3
Member
1287 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

TheLadyA :  I am so sorry you are going thru this 🙁  Dementia is a scary, progressive disease, which has so many forms.  Alzheimers is the most common, but there are so many more!!  I have dealt with dementia more in my professional life, rather than personal, but I have first-hand, hands on experience with it.  I work in a healthcare setting where it is prominent, to say the least.  

First, I would urge you to seek out a support group.  People whom have or are dealing with this, with the aide of others whom can tell you how to handle the frustrating parts.  Losing your patience is normal, grieving the loss of the ‘old person’ is NORMAL.  Figuring out how to deal with it, and more imporantly how to deal with him (ways to guide him, things that will help him, and triggers to avoid) will be an invaluable asset to your entire family. 

I wish I could say there was some magic pill to reverse the ways he is impacted, but sadly, there is not.  However, I know families I work with try different ways to keep it from getting worse.  And again, it ranges from person-to-person, to the varying dementia they have.  Some have tried different diets, some have tried medications to hinder further effects, or have tried memory/recognition therapies, etc.  Some have let it take its course, and have really just worked on ensuring that no matter what they are in a safe enviroment (which, is going to be very important for you all; assuming he lives alone, etc).  

I often say, after working in my field, that I am not sure if I would rather my body fail me, or my memory.  Having a condition that continuously impairs me physically, or a condition that impairs me mentally.  In many ways, the dementia I have experienced has been relatively harmless from the person whom suffers from it.  They do not realize what they are saying or doing is ‘wrong’, and so they are living day to day in a world we cannot understand, and become very frustrated with!!!  It is a crazy, and fascinating degeneration of the mind.  

I hope this post does not discourage you.  It is not meant too.  Seek out forums where others can share their first hand experiences/triumphs with this disease, as far as being the loving wife/daughter, etc, etc.  I am sorry you are struggling with this!! 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by  OUgal0004.
Post # 4
Member
6614 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m sorry your dad has dementia. It is a difficult disease, particularly for family members. Yes, there are meds, but they are not necessarily a magic bullet. Your mom is right to be concerned about his driving, and he would definitely benefit from having a doctor, particularly a dementia specialist. Just having family involved and caring for him has a big impact on his wellbeing, but it can be very taxing as a caregiver. I would recommend checking out the Alzheimer’s Association website as they have a wealth of information on patient education and care resources for your family. Hope this helps.

Post # 5
Member
2519 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

TheLadyA :  I am SO SO sorry about your dad. That is so hard :-(. Take it day by day and cherish and lucid moments he has left. Maybe find a support group?

I don’t know his situation-he may have already done this- but is he married ? If not Before his disease progresses  I urge you to get him to give someone ( maybe you, maybe your mother?) very trustworthy power of attorney and get all legal affairs in order. I know its probably horrible to think of right now but trust me you will want to be able to help make decisions for him (medical, financial ect) down the road. 

Post # 7
Member
917 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

I’m so sorry to hear about your father.  My mother, aunt, and I are the primary caretaker for my grandfather who has had dementia (Alzheimer’s) for the past ten years.  We were luckily able to catch it rather quickly (2 years of it starting), but I still kick myself for not identifying the FIRST signs that struck me as odd.

I really recommend reading the book called “Still Alice.”  It’s about a woman who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.  There’s a movie coming out about it later in the year, actually.  It may help you cope – it sure helped me.  Look into support groups – there are TONS, especially for the caretakers of someone with dementia.  You are not alone, and it’s important to recognize that.

I know it’s extremely hard… but you have to focus on how your father was before the disease.  My grandfather is a complete shell of his old self… he was always so happy, kind, and giving, and now he gets angry a lot – sometimes the meds don’t help with that, either.  It’s hard to remember how he was, as I was only 13/14 when he first began exhibiting signs. 

Most importantly, it’s healthy to know you WILL lose your patience, you WILL yell at him sometimes, and it’s normal.  Please don’t beat yourself up over it.  But don’t just ever give up.  It’s the most trying experience I have… and as an EMT, I’ve had so many nursing home/demential calls, but it’s tiring… truly tiring, to care for someone with it each and every day. 

Post # 8
Member
2661 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Do you know who Pat Summitt is?  She is the winningest coach in woman’s D1 basketball history (she may be the winningest among men adn women’s D1 coaches).  She coached for years at the University of Tennessee.  Anyway, at age 59, she was diagnosed with early onselt dementia, alzheimers type.  She now has a foundation and you may find information on her website helpful.  Her son, Tyler, is also very involved in her foundation and care.  I am not a Tennessee fan; I am a Kentucky fan.  But I am now and always have been a Pat Summitt fan.  Anyway, I thought her story and information might be useful to you.

Post # 11
Member
1303 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2015 - Chapel on Base

I’m am truly sorry.  No child should see their heroes suffer.  Stay strong.  

Post # 12
Member
1843 posts
Buzzing bee

TheLadyA :  I am so sorry to read this :(.  I guess it will all depend on the final diagnosis. But I wanted to share that my grandma was diagnosed with dementia and at the time things were very ugly.  It all happened pretty fast and she started having issues recognizing us and with terrible hallucinations seeing snakes, rats and stuff crawling over her bed and in holes in the wall. Counting millions of dollars that she didn’t have and trying to take pills she did not have in her hands.  She then did not recognize us.  She was prescribed Aricept and OMG that was like day and night.  Hallucinations stopped altogether and little by little she was able to recognize us.  She was pretty old at the time but she did last quite a few years after that and quality of life was much better. I hope there is a good treatment for your dad and that he responds well. HUGS!!!

Post # 15
Member
4831 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

TheLadyA :  My dad, too. Same stuff as your dad. He was probably 67 when I noticed it, too, and I live 1000 miles away. If you’ve read anything about dementia it’s the numbers and letters that go first. And my dad has also gone through the lashing out phase. Unfortunately I am very far away and my mom is doing all the caretaking herself. Does your dad live with anyone? I really do feel your pain and I am in the same boat. Life will never, ever, ever be the same. And it sucks big time.

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