Mental Health - Alzheimer's - 'Dad's Dementia'

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If you are experiencing the loss of a loved one through dementia - has the sharing of my experience helped you?

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Alzheimer's

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Dad's Dementia

We think Dad’s dementia began about the time his angina and diabetes started. His memory loss and confusion developed slowly and when we look back, we can almost remember exactly when it started. It was about the time he had ‘one of his do’s’ and ended up in hospital. After that, he at times appeared to be a bit forgetful, disorientated and confused, this became more apparent as the disease progressed.

At first, just little things he said and did made us laugh. Then one day he developed a rash; Dad insisted some women came round to the house and threw itching powder all over him and that was what caused the spots. He says they were nattering loudly; laughing at him and deliberately threw this powder over him. He says he saw the hand come up in the mirror. The rash was actually caused by antibiotics he was given by the doctor for a chest infection. He kept scratching the heads off so the spots wouldn’t heal. He tried pulling them out with pliers saying that they were stuck in his skin and that when he pulled them out bits of skin were attached to them. Honestly, if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry.

He started having hallucinations where he heard voices and saw things that are not there like someone telling him to ‘shift’ or little men dancing on the shelf (put there by the man next door). He said that there are about six cats in a box on the other side of the wall waiting to pounce on unsuspecting birds feeding on the top of the wall – he told us that the man who lived kept the cats there on purpose and he wanted shooting.

Now, Dad thinks he is only visiting his home, he doesn’t remember why he came to be living there or how long he has been living there. He wonders when he is going back to the home he knew when he was a little boy. He doesn’t know how he will get there or carry all the things he has accumulated while he has been here. He tells his son ‘when I go from here I will never come back’ and sadly, we all know that that is actually true.

Dad used to love pottering about town calling in all the charity shops and snapping up bargains. Nowadays he leaves the house but doesn’t know which way to go to get to town even though he has lived in the same house for nearly 60 years. Mum has to go with him everywhere. She isn’t too steady on her legs so she has to use her tri-shopper but she has to go, she cannot let him out of her sight for fear he’ll get lost. When they went shopping the other day, Mum had just put her hat and coat on to go through the door when Dad said, ‘Where’s the other one, is she coming, too.’

Dad thinks Mum is the daily cleaning lady and asks her if she does what she does every day, if she comes to his home everyday to do the chores. He asked her if they had a piece of paper that gets given when they go in the big building instinctively she knows he means the marriage certificate and tells him it is upstairs. He asks her if she will come to live with him now that they are married. When she gets into bed at the end of the day he says ‘So you are sleeping here as well, are you?’ and smiles mischievously. He also thinks that there are several women coming and going at the house in order to look after him but to Dad, Mum is ‘the main one’. When Mum got up one morning to make them both a cup of tea he asked her who the other one was that was in bed.

The consolations of Alzheimer's

The lack of real support – practical and emotional – for our family has been staggering. Nobody will tell you what to expect, or help you develop the psychological tools for coping. I understand fully that each patient is different, and each patient-
The lack of real support – practical and emotional – for our family has been staggering. Nobody will tell you what to expect, or help you develop the psychological tools for coping. I understand fully that each patient is different, and each patient- | Source

Do you want me to write - Part Two - Dad's Advanced Dementia - the final journey?

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Mum is exhausted; she says it is like having a child back in the house. He has to be watched all the time even when he gets up in the night. He does some very silly things if she doesn’t keep an eye on him. He turns the gas rings on to boil the kettle but forgets to ignite the flames so invariable when we walk in (usually twice daily) we instantly smell gas and have to jump into action. We fear that he will blow the house up and got them an electric kettle but Mum’s never had an electric kettle and doesn’t like change.

We explain that under the circumstances change is what is needed to keep them both safe but she says she is ready for her box – we say don’t say that we are not ready for Dad. We don’t really mean that, we would take care of both of them if she would let us but Mum, these days is too independent and not as needy. Dad on the other hand would be so difficult to cope with especially for his son even though Dad doesn’t know he is his son. His son finds it hard to watch his dad withering away and dementia is so cruel. He listens bewildered as his dad accuses him of doing jobs around the house that he, himself undertook disastrously some years before. Dad accuses his wife, son, friends, and neighbours of taking things that he has lost or misplaced and he can get quite nasty about it.

We are not even sure that Dad knows who we are. We visit every day, twice a day, and although he knows our names’ we can tell sometimes from the expression on his face that he doesn’t know us, not really!

Everyday he slips further away into his mind and the fleeting glimpses of the Dad we remember are fewer…


© 2012 Leni Sands

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Comments 26 comments

leni sands profile image

leni sands 2 years ago from UK Author

peachpurple apologies for not responding sooner but I don't get on hubs that often these days. I hope all is well with your mother. My mother had a stroke a couple of Christmases ago and then mini-strokes last year and yes she is very forgetful. I think remembering the past so vividly is very common in dementia and vascular dementia is frequently diagnosed following a stroke.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

i am sorry to hear your dad passing. My mom had stroke and her memory is half gone. She can remember the past vividly but not the current


leni sands profile image

leni sands 2 years ago from UK Author

Sadly, 'Dad' passed away this Christmas time - it has been devastating for us but in a strange way a relief especially for him as he has been freed from suffering. He died surrounded by loving family. We will miss him forever.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 3 years ago from UK Author

Jo_Goldsmith11 thank you for taking the time to read this hub. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. We take one day at a time.


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 3 years ago

My heart so goes out to you. It really is "the long goodbye."

I have cared for a couple of relatives briefly who were in the early and mid to late stages of this horrible time. I tried to appreciate the good days, and when the bad days come, remind myself there will be another *good day*.

There should be more supportive services and outreach for the families who need someone to talk with, it is most hardest time on the family. Excellent writing. Thank you for sharing how brave you are. Sending you prayers & hugs! Tweet, Up++ and shared. God Bless you! Shalom


TENKAY profile image

TENKAY 4 years ago from Philippines

Consider yourself hugged.

I don't know how I wandered into this hub, but I am glad I found this. It is such a comfort to know I am not alone in having this sadness of seeing the once strong people in our life grow weak.

You are such a courageous woman. Hang in there.Thanks for sharing. I will follow your story.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you GlstngRosePetals for your words. It is comforting that we are not alone in our plight, though sad that statement is so true...so many to be struck down by such a horrible disease. I will keep you posted.


GlstngRosePetals profile image

GlstngRosePetals 4 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

leni sands: I had to come and read since you commented on my dementia/alzheimers article. I'm sorry that you and your family have to watch him go through this and everything you have listed is so true for this disease. I think all of you are doing a great job and I know it's a long road but hang in there. Keep us posted on how he is doing.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

WD Curry 111 - hang in there yourself - don't wander off!! Your dad needs you. We have to remember that this is the man who took good care of you while you were growing up, the same man that worked his fingers to the bone to make sure you turned out the way you did. He deserves your support - as I know you will continue to give, as we do!

Today, dad took himself for a walk to corner of the street, when his wife fetched him back he said he was waiting for the man to take him to school???

Such a horrible disorder, the plague of the aged!


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

I can relate. My dad has been in the advanced stages for a couple of years. He is now in a convalescent home. He usually knows who we are, but he is sure confused. Sometimes I think he is too tough for his own good. I am thinking seriously of wandering off like some people have a tendency to do here in Florida.

You hang in there and take care. Love conquers all.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi, Sky9106, this was part one - part two is still to come (to be continue...) I am still writing it! (lol) Thank you so much for taking a look. If you want to read my hub 'Dad's dementia' it might give you more insight into what we are dealing with. Take care and keep those wonderful hubs coming.


Sky9106 profile image

Sky9106 4 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

My hands stopped at part two but it's find I will work it nicely.

This is awesome , the to do so , is a constant study of my 91 year old mother, and I am glad I wish I could always be she is so independent she loves being on her own, she recognizes my love, I made it that way , because we have to we are all individuals .

After I read part one I will make my truthful comment . I love the way you are writing with love and truth I can feel this quite easily I i understand quite a bit, eager to read the other parts .

Maybe tonight.

Thanks for sharing.

Thanks and Bless.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Agnes Penn I will look into that - it seems my flash player needed updating. Thanks for the link.


Agnes Penn profile image

Agnes Penn 4 years ago from Nicholson, Pennsylvania, USA

Leni, when you mentioned Diabetes and Dimentia a light went on in my brain. Have you heard about the following: http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/mp4/LJO190v1_WS ?

I hope this helps. Hang in there and never loose hope.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you PegCole17 your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

When I read your story I had to go back and count my blessings. Despite my mom's growing forgetfullness and worrysome misplacing of things, she still knows where she is (at home, thankfully) and who we are. Her older sister who lives with her is nearly 92 and has the same clearness of mind.

I feel for your situation and know this is so hard on you. May God bless you for the care you do for your dad-in-law. There is no greater calling than to respect and love our elders. Kindly, Peg


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you donnaisabella your prays are appreciated.


donnaisabella profile image

donnaisabella 4 years ago from Fort Myers

I am sorry for all that you have to go through. I pray that the Lord holds you all together and give you strength. It must be hard to see one's dad go away like that, we all never want our parents to suffer. Thanks for sharing.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you thesingernurse, your comments are appreciated.


thesingernurse profile image

thesingernurse 4 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

Am very sorry to hear this. It must be a difficult time for your family. I hope you continue supporting and loving your father. He is unaware of what he does and experiences right now. I am happy to learn that all of you are very understanding. I wish your family all the best...

Voted up for this hub. Beautiful and straight from the heart...


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you b. malin, L.L.Woodard & always exploring - your thoughts and kind words are much appreciated. 'Dad' is actually my father-in-law but its still horrible watching the people you care about suffering like this. I am still working on part two and will keep writing as this horrible disease keeps progressing. It puts an awful lot of strain on the rest of us - 'Dad' doesn't know who any of us are anymore.

Thanks for reading and please drop back some time to see how things are progressing.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Leni, I'm so sorry..This is so sad..If only a cure could be found. Bless you and your Mother. I know the care givers suffer much. Thank you for sharing your story..


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

Leni, I'm sorry for the heart-wrenching difficulties you and your family are experiencing, but appreciate that you're sharing your story with us. Take care, please.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Oh Leni, it's times like these that you have to keep your Humor...It's so hard to see parents getting old and Dementia rearing it's Ugly Head...I feel your feelings and Humor, thank God, that you have it. It must be so hard on your Mother, so good that you are there for her, and for both of them...that's really what counts.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks acaetnna, we are exhausted. I am working on part two at the moment because every day something new develops. His dellusions, imaginings, his second childhood..thanks for voting up, etc.


acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 4 years ago from Guildford

This is so, so upsetting and yet it happens to so many lovely people. For loved ones to watch the demise of someone so loving is heartbreaking. I so feel for your whole family and it must be so upsetting for the spouse. They try to do everything within their power but then complete exhaustion takes over. My heart goes out to you and your family Leni. Dementia touches so many lives and there appears to be little way of escape. Great hub, so full of care and emotion. Voted up and pressing the appropriate buttons too.

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