Hi. My Dad has dementia and he is only 49 years old! He was actually diagnosed with this 2 years ago. He was forgetting things that he shouldnt forget, like my Grandma dying. He even said he talked with her on occasion. He is off the medication now.
I am very worried about him! I got a call from my step-mother today and she said she had to take my father to the emergency room because he couldnt stop crying all day! The night before he even mentioned that she should get their gun out of the house because he is afraid he might use it on himself. When the nurse at the E.R. asked him if anything tramatic has happened recently, he just said he's worried because the basement flooded.
I am kind of ashamed to admit this but at first I thought all these weird things he was doing was for attention, but my Dad never cries, not even at my Grandmas funeral! Maybe that is why he is crying so much now. All that built up frustration and sadness.?
He has a wonderful personality. He is a work-a-holic. And he is extremely close to his grandchildren.
He has not talked to me about his disease, but I hear most everything from my step-mother. She is very worried.
I dont know anything at all about this "dementia".
Is there a cure? Should I worry about him being alone with my children? What can I do to help him?
Thank You for reading this post.
Bless your heart! It's sad and very upsetting to see a loved one lose themselves, but more so when the person is as young as your father is.
My mother had Alzheimer's and there was a stage when she cried much of the time. She'd tell me she was not upset, angry, or hurting, just frustrated that she couldn't stop crying. Her doctor put her on an antidepressant and that stopped the tears. It's logical that an antidepressant would help - I imagine it's depressing to know your mind is slipping.
Jennifer, dementia and Alzheimer's are about loss of skills, memories, and learned information. It is unlikely that your father's tears are pent-up emotion from a past event, unless he's remembering that event as if it is current. My mother once told me she was crying because she was worried her mother didn't know where she was. I hugged her and told her I had let her mother know where she was and that she was safe. Those tears stopped.
Were you father's "conversations" with his mother while he was taking this medicine that was stopped? If the family decided it was best to stop the medicine, be sure his doctor knows your father is not taking the medicine and the reason.
I'd ask your step-mother if he can still be trusted to be alone with your children. I'm not saying he'd do anything wrong or harm them. He might just forget to watch the kids, or be careful enough with them. You or another adult could always stay close by, watching too.
Is there a cure? Sadly, if it's Alzheimer's, the answer is no. If the cause of the dementia was a tumor or an aneurysm, then it could possibly be treated with surgery. I hope your father was tested for those fixable causes 2 years ago.
Read the posts on this thread. There is a lot of good information and good ideas here. You're not alone on this unwelcome road.
Our family is also dealing with early onset, although my husband is not as young as your Dad. Please consider asking if you can participate, even by phone, with a family conference with the doctor who diagnosed your Dad, so you can all discuss the questions that you have. One question to ask the doctor is about the research reported in the Harvard Brain scientific journal in 1996 (Elizabeth Kensinger) that antidepressants are not recommended for early onset patients unless depression is very severe, since antidepressants can worsen the disease in early onset cases. Your Dad and Stepmother certainly sound as if they might be in that situation.
You want to be sure that he was diagnosed by a neurologist with experience with AD, and need to get as much information as possible. Most of the literature states that the early onset version of the disease progresses more rapidly, but there are patients (like SnowyLynn, who sometimes posts on this board) who have been diagnosed with early onset years' ago, who are still able to communicate well.
There are lots of crisis and tough days with this disease...you can go along ok for awhile, and then something happens that stretches everybody's ability to cope, and then it seems to settle down to a manageable level until the next crisis. Your Dad won't remember things that happen, but you and your Stepmother will be tested emotionally with each incident...I've found that having a lot of knowledge about what's going on helps me, and that keeping my husband's life as pleasant and calm as possible helps to keep him content. Our home is now about making his daily life as stress-free and happy as possible. Lots of noise (and we have teenagers, so there's always noise!) or a lot of distracting activities/people talking at one time are very difficult for him to cope with. And when all else fails, a little quiet rock n' roll on an oldies station is very helpfu!
The people on this Board are terrific! Lots of good suggestions. God bless --
Dear Jennifer, I am sad to hear your story. That is a terribly young age to be affected. I hope your dad has had all the necessary tests to rule out OTHER causes, from brain tumors to bleeding in the brain. If all has been ruled out it is a situation all of you have to accept and learn to live with - this is hard for the family members no matter what age it begins. There are legal repercussions, meaning you need to get Power of Attorney (his wife should have it) to act in the patient's best interests when he no longer can. I pray yours is a problem of a different nature, but if not, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
I think everyone has said what I'd like to say already, except I'd like to stress that the faster you deal with these difficult issues and the better. You and your family need face the facts, it will help you understand more about what he's going through and how to deal with the emotionally challenging issues that will arise. You need to find out what is causing this, much sooner than later. If it is dementia he should be on medications, they won't stop the digression but they can slow it down - the sooner you try slowing it down the better.
Hey dont feel bad Jennifer, Im almost in the same shoes as you! Im 25 and my mom is 59, shes got dementia. It started about 3-4 years ago.
I consider myself my mothers "advocate". I fight for her. I would strongly advise you to attend some alzheimers/dementia group meetings for caretakers and patients. Then do some research on the web, i always look for supplements for my mom to take that will ease symptoms and/or hopefully slow the disease.Ive had her on fish oil supplements (omega 3) and vitamin E & B12. Even though thats a double edged sword - I wonder if sometimes I should just let it take its course and she can be out of her misery. Shes been on Namenda for a few months now, i dont realize any difference. My mom was a health nut her whole life, rarely ate any meats, never drank or did drugs. Always did aerobics and ate organic foods. Her 2 uncles had alzheimers too so she was always trying things to prevent it to herself (like taking selenium and stuff). Its not fair. But anyways thats why I always look for natural remedies, my mom hates taking "pills". We tell her namenda is a vitamin, lol.
My mom was just like your dad. She cried for a long time for no reason. When you'd ask her she'd just say she was depressed and didnt know why. She's never been diagnosed, I finally got her to a neurologist last month and we go back on 11-22-05 for a diagnosis. My mom was (and still is) suicidial. When she has her "clear moments" she realizes whats going on and gets very down about it. She realizes she cant drive, cook, talk on the phone, go anywhere alone anymore. But when shes out of it she doesnt notice this. Its a very weird disease and I hate it.
Anyways, what state do you live in? Let me know I can email you a list of support groups that you should attend at least 1 meeting so you can gain a better perspective of what to expect.
Last edited by Chriznat25; 11-07-2005 at 06:39 AM.