Hi all, I am so pleased to have found this forum - just wish I'd searched for it sooner... I've not read through all the previous threads, and thought I'd just type my thoughts as they come.
A bit of background - I'm 49, only son to my Father aged 86 who lives over 100 miles away. My mother died from cancer nearly 30 years ago, and six years later my father took early retirement aged 63 and moved to Wiltshire where he re-married.
My Father has a history of high blood pressure & heart problems, and I have was more than happy for him when he retired to enjoy the country life which he has done for the bulk of the last 23 years. I visit three/four times a year, and ensure that I phone every Sunday morning and sometimes during the week as well.
Dad had an Aorta operation some six years ago, and at the time the doctors said that the severity of the operation and anesthetic used could have an adverse affect upon his memory in later life.
About 18 months ago that I began to notice the repetative questions during the phone calls, at first about something missplaced or missing but as time progressed, he would mention historical events as if they had only just occured.
I increased the frequency of my calls and began to receive quite a few from Dad as well, usually questioning if he was retired, and information about his old childhood home and often claims that he had stayed there and left a jacket behind...
My Stepmother has been fantastic, with the patience of a saint, trying to answer his constant questions, whilst living with her husband who does not recognise their relationship or recall their 23 years together.
Dad's memory continues to deteriorate, although we have not had a name put to his condition or proper diagnosis despite my stepmothers attempts to progress things via the GP. I think any tretament is complicated due to the other medication that he takes in relation to his heart.
Things have come to a head, with Dad calling me convinced that my mother has just died and that funeral arrangements are required. He phoned four times me from midnight last night through to 07:00 this morning. He was demanding that my Stepmother give him the car keys so he could return "home" for my mothers funeral.... Previously I have managed to briefly pacify him by sharing my own memories of events that I know he also experinced, usually with his eventual acceptance of his memory problem, but not this time.
Having now spoken to my stepmother, she is trying to contact the GP and I honestly don't know what to say when Dad calls again later on...
Sorry I've go on... it has helped sharing this anyway...
It's always heard dealing with these situations, and the changes they experience as dementia progresses. It's best not to argue with them, because that will just be frustrating for everyone. When your dad speaks of going "home" to your mom's funeral, maybe you should say that you are making arrangments for him to get a ride, or redirect him to some other activity. Most likely the situation will come up again though. Reading some of the other threads, you will see many people have similiar experiences with sufferers of dementia--who seem to be stuck in some different of their life. They often talk of old events, as though they were very recently, or occuring right now. But correction seems to only bring about extreme agitation, so it's best to just go along with whatever they are talking about...sorry you are having such an experience with your dad. It's painful to watch a loved one slip into the grips of Dementia, but you should be proud of yourself for wanting to know how to deal with the unique situations you will encounter with dementia, and seeking support of others who have been there. *HUGS*
Disclaimer: This post may be jumbled...it is really late and I am about to go to bed!
I must admit it alarmed me when you said your dad has only seen a GP about this. Although there are wonderful GP's out there who are knowlegable about alzheimers/dementia, they seem to be few and far between.
The best type of doctor to go to for this is a neurologist, preferably one who specializes in geriatrics. This doctor will do tests like MRI, blood tests, MMSE (memory test) among other things. Basically what they'll do is rule out any other possible cause for your dad's memory loss and behavior. From what you've described, it sounds like AD but many other things can cause these things.
He might possibly benefit from a drug called Aricept that is out there for dementia and Alzheimer - it seems to slow the progress. I know without it my brother-in-law is a totally different person. He exposes himself to people, rants and raves about small things, swears like a sailor (something he has never done in his normal days), and it has given him back his life somewhat. We are happy he benefits from it. I don't think it would bother his other medications, as brother-in-law had recent heart surgery and they put him right back on it. Best of luck to you in these difficult times.
As one of the other members metioned more then likely the AD meds should not bother your dad. My mom is taking 7 other meds in conjuction with Aricept and Namenda. Her Dr reccomended taking both as the seem to work better together.
We all know what you are going through and are here for you.
My first contact for my husband was my Dr. It is very frightening at first... and my heart goes out to you. Try to keep a happy relaxed atmosphere around your dad and just agree with him. Take it one day at a time... and don't loose your sense of humour... you are going to need it in the days ahead. Also keeping a familiar routine can be reasurring. Keep us posted... there are folk who really care.
I was struck by your comment that your father isn't recognizing his marriage to a second wife. I'm also a second wife, married 27 years... and my husband has recently been denying we were ever married, or that I am the mother of his youngest child. It's rather disconcerting! It helps a bit to know someone else is trying to cope with this. Please give your stepmother my best wishes as she makes the difficult journey at your father's side.