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Old 04-18-2011, 03:28 AM   #1
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Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Hello, I'm new to this board, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, desperately need advice and help. My 76 year old father has been struggling over the past fifteen years, since my mother passed away, and over the last few years has begun to show deterioration of judgement, along with causing us serious concern over his memory. He also has type 2 diabetes, that is unmanaged. This past October, after having dinner with us at my house, he told me a long detailed story about a trip to England he took with my mother. The details were correct, but it was not my mother on the trip, it was me. My mother was terrified of flying, and never set foot on a plane in her life. The trip took place after her death.

Three months ago, he suffered a stroke and collapsed outside his home. His house has a very high retaining wall, and it was the dead of winter, so there was a two foot high snowbank, shielding him from an otherwise busy street. He lay outside for nearly two hours, slowly crawling to the top of his stairs, where someone finally noticed him. By that point, he had advanced hypothermia and frostbite on his hands and legs.

This has been three months of a painful recovery from a stroke and frostbite damage, but he has regained the use of his hands, is mobile, his incontinence is becoming manageable, and his short term memory is reestablishing itself.

At present, he is in a nursing home, and doing very well with the care he is receiving. He is eating a healthy diet, physical therapy has given him strength he didn't have before the stroke, and his blood sugar and blood pressure are both being monitored.

As his health improves, there is now discussion of sending him back to his home. He is adamant that he wants to return to his house. I have serious concerns about this. He is a hoarder, and his home is in appalling condition. Even with home health aide visits, I don't feel it's a safe, appropriate environment, and hasn't been for many years. He can't maintain the home, he won't clean it, and the best he's been able to manage for food before the stroke seems to be ordering Domino's and leaving half-eaten rotting pizzas lying literally all over his house.

More troubling, as my father tires, now, he becomes disoriented and confused, often thinking he is elsewhere. Last night at the end of our visit, after watching a film with him for two hours (he had relevant comments about the film, knew the title, and was following the plot), he suddenly announced, "What movie is this? This isn't what I was watching!" Then he began to scour the floor for a soda he claimed I gave him (I didn't), and then started staring around him, out the window, touching the dividing curtain, and saying, "What is this thing?"

I am currently his POA and health care proxy, and have been working with a legal firm on a medicaid application. But, of course, this means nothing if he returns to his home which is literally falling apart, and on which he took out a huge mortgage three years ago (the house is not worth the mortgage, and no one knew about this act except him).

My observations are mixed; usually he is sharp, but when he's tired, he's very out of it. I have been reporting my observations to the staff at the nursing home, and while it is a nice facility with a caring staff, no one seems to see the signs of dementia, or care about them, but me.

My greatest fear is that he insists he's going home, and they allow him to return. His home is in complete chaos, and we've been working very hard to try and deal with his massive consumer debt (in addition to the mortgage). The thought of him with a credit card in his hands literally makes me physically ill, I can't eat or sleep, and my family needs me. I am completely consumed by this, at risk of my own health.

Any advice anyone can give is appreciated. Thank you. Sorry this is so long. Stroke and dementia also run in his family.

 
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Old 04-18-2011, 05:45 AM   #2
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

You need to have a sit down meeting with his doctor, his social worker at the rehab center and an elder care attorney. Tell them what you just told us. As long as his insurance holds out, he should stay where he is. Hopefully by then you have worked out the other legal and financial details.

Keep us posted. Am sure the others here will have more detailed advice for you -

 
Old 04-18-2011, 06:09 AM   #3
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

You can ask a neurologist referred by the GP to give him verbal test or MMSE to see if he indeed has dementia. He could have vascular dementia without knowing. The doctor can also take ct-scan to find out.
You still have to get him diagnosed for dementia so he can get proper medication and care.

About going back home, it depends on how you will take care of him at home. Will you hire someone to help him? Will he live with you? It will be a lot of work for home care. If he really has dementia, he needs to stay put because moving too many times is bad for the elder with dementia. You can talk to the experts or social worker/professionals about this, but you need to be aware that your Dad may go downhill as he ages.
Does this home have memory unit that is locked so he won't get lost in the future when his dementia really kicks in? It all depends on what factors you have right now.

Good luck,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 04-18-2011 at 07:13 AM.

 
Old 04-18-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Thank you both for your replies.

We have an eldercare attorney working with us on a medicaid application. If he were to return home, he would have to have private support, which doesn't seem feasible paying a large mortgage, large consumer debt, and utilities. I can't take him, as I'm already a full-time caregiver for my multiply disabled 12 year old. That makes advocating for my dad that much more complicated, but we are doing our best to be a regular presence in the nursing home both physically and by phone. I'm there at least four times a week, but have to have my son with me three out of four visits.

The social worker and the doctor don't feel he is fully aware of his own deficits, as of right now, and he should stay put. Luckily, he hasn't put up a fuss yet, but I sense it's coming. He is a hoarder, and very attached to his house, and possessions, up to and including his collection of half-eaten domino's pizzas.

I will be speaking his doctor this Wednesday, and asking for a neurological evaluation. If it isn't dementia, I'd like to know what's causing these episodes of confusion and disorientation. Perhaps leftover effects from the stroke, but vascular dementia was the first thought that crossed my mind, when I learned of his stroke (it took some time to determine he was altered in the hospital, because of the hypothermia). Diabetes is a common cause, and he has other unpleasant symptoms, such as diabetic neuropathy and occasional hypoglycemia. My son is a type 1 diabetic, so I know quite a bit about the long term complications of uncontrolled blood sugar.

I would like to see him be happy, healthy, and safe, but realize the happy part might be a bit of a stretch.

Alison

 
Old 04-18-2011, 11:11 AM   #5
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

He can be happy again but first you will have to get him situated where he is safe and diagnosed and properly medicated. I am not talking about over medicating him so that he becomes a zombie...but meds to address his problems so that he can once again be "happy".

As for wanting to go home. They all want to go home. Do you blame them? Home is where they think they are safe and happy..there are no problems there...in their minds at least. We know that is not reality..they don't.

You know too that you cannot let him go back there. It is what he wants, not want he needs.

I would suggest you find him a good asst. living facility that also has a memory care unit so that he can be cared for as he progresses.

As for his home...use any and all excuses to put him off.
Things like...the house needs a new roof so we have to wait til that is done but in the meantime move him to the new place.

Or tell him the house was found to have termites and you have to have it tented and that you have to call the exterminator.

In other words, get creative. You need to tell him what you need to tell him to keep him safe. Don't think of it as lying to him...think of it as your best way to protect and care for him.

Love, Meg

 
Old 04-18-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Thank you, Meg.

I guess because it's so early, and all I have are my personal observations and my long experience of my dad and that house, I'm feeling a mixture of guilt and responsibility.

He loves the house, but has never taken care of it. After my mom passed, I cleaned the house out repeatedly (she was also a hoarder, and collected cats, eventually my father managed to neglect them all until they died of various ailments - horrifying, I regularly took them in for medical care paying my own money, changed their water food dishes, litter boxes, etc. - ). As much as I cleared, I could never keep up with my own life, my child, and my father's constant influx of unopened items he ordered, books, junk mail, newspapers, garbage, and plastic spoons and napkins.

A few winters ago, a tree limb knocked a power line down on his property. He didn't have the power restored (he claimed it was National Grid's responsibility; it was his) and didn't turn his main water supply off...you can guess the result. The house was nearly demolished by flooding, which he discovered, and then came to my house where he was staying at the time, told me all about the water pouring in through the ceiling, then took off his coat and went to watch t.v.

The only reason the house became livable again, was because he had insurance, and I made the phone calls to get the clearing out done, the plumbing, and the heating.

So now after almost dying outside his home, I think he and the house are nearly even with each other.

He also didn't bother to get his oil delivery stopped during this time...the tank overflowed and sprayed into the street, and ENCON had to come and clean it up.

So...needless to say, I'd like to see him out of there before he finishes the job on the house, and possibly does himself in, in the process.

At this point he's still quite lucid, and has always been a very technically brilliant man. The stroke has made him very obtuse (he always was), and if he couldn't see common sense before, there's no hope of it now. However, he could probably see through any excuses I could make, so I will have to rely on the nursing home staff to help me.

Even after everything we've been through, I still fear his anger and pain.

Alison

 
Old 04-18-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

The house sounds bad. One reason we moved my FIL to a residential home is because his house is too old. We just fixed the pipes. The old wiring is bad for fire hazard so we will fix it too... That is why he could not stay home anymore.
Also home care is too expensive for 24 hour care.
I understand he would miss the house, but the only way out is to make sure the house is Ok for an elderly as well as a long-term caregiver. It is hopeless and stressful... My FIL is 90 and we had done this home care for 5 or 6 years since my late MIL died. The house was so old that my FIL thought there was something coming out of the toilet because the whole block had something. It was just weird.

There were bad caregivers too and it is just not worth it.
But we waited until he forgot this is his house... If you want to do that, it is possible, but you need to fix his house while he is in there. It sounds difficult.
The hard part here is how to convince him. Maybe that is why we waited because we just could not persuade my FIL. We tricked him to move with us to another state. He thought he came to "work with my husband". This is another funny part - my FIL has no more work and he thinks my husband can offer him anything from another field although they are both professors...


You may need to be tricky like what Meg said.


Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 04-18-2011 at 01:36 PM.

 
Old 04-18-2011, 01:32 PM   #8
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Alison, you know in your heart that he can not go home. While reading your post I immediately thought of Vascular Dementia. That is what my Dad had and it sounds so much like him. He had rational thought processes and could follow what was going on for a while. But he also had sever lapses in memory which coincided with delusions. When he was in these periods it was his reality and nothing could shift his thought process. He would have eaten cereal every meal. He had no idea how to take care of the house or himself. Mom was his caregiver for years and with her help, you didn't know he had a problem except for those times when he was "out of it". But it was those times that he just could not be alone. Other times he might be ok or might not so why take a chance. You have been through a traumatic experience with him already and you don't want anything like that to ever happen again... so he just can't go back home.

As for wanting to go home... Meg is right they ALL do. Home to them is peace, safety, comfort, and a place they think all this craziness will go away. It is a condition they want not a place. It is a place they want and not what they need. You are doing right by getting his dementia diagnosed. It will be up to the doctor and the social workers what happens next so they are the ones you need in your corner. You are your Dad's advocate so be loud and persistent in your insistence that he NOT go back home. Become the stubborn wall that says NO!!!

With the huge mortgage on the house and other debt that he has amassed you might want to consider bankruptcy. It's not what you want to do but if he is under water and needing a care facility there may not be much choice. You would have to check with the lawyer to see how that would affect the Medicaid application. Just a thought

Yep, I put up with Mom and Dad wanting to go home for years. I did take Mom back to the house a few times. The first time she walked around and seemed ok that it was there. As soon as she got back to the facility she wanted to go again and forgot the visit. By the second visit she didn't even recognize home when she was there and still wanted to go home. On the third visit she didn't even know to tell me she wanted to go by the house, didn't know we were even in the right town, but still wanted to go home. Dad just wanted to go because he thought it would make Mom happy. I started telling Mom we would go on Saturday... on Wednesday... next week... after Christmas... any day in the future. Of course that day never came but the promise worked. I also told her about repairs that were needed, that Dad needed to stay at the facility for blah blah and she didn't want to leave him, or that it was raining! I became the master of excuses, always with a smile, leaving her with a future promise that I knew would never come. I never took her hope away and then she forgot she needed to go home.

I do wish for you the strength and courage you are going to need. It's hard to go against what Dad wishes for. I do understand. But at this time you have to look at what Dad needs first. Hang with us and we will be here for you.

Love, deb

 
Old 04-18-2011, 02:00 PM   #9
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Oh Alison....I also understand fearing their anger and pain. Let me tell you about my mom..Pheweee!! Talk about a spitfire! She was still lucid when we got her out of her house but I had no choice. It was really a safety issue.
And the time we had to take her car away?!! OMG.. I have no idea how we got through it all.

You will learn to be creative...It will become second nature. You will learn what works best. Sometimes you will just have to use muscle. When my mom had to be moved from her independent living apartment to the assisted living area I took her to breakfast and shopping while my husband and son and his wife moved her lock, stock and barrell to the new apartment. Her GP helped us on that one...He told her he wanted her to do it but we never told her the exact day..so after breakfast and shopping I took her back and her new aprtment had been all set up to look just like the old one. My son had even hung everything on the walls the same and every little knick knack and picture had been placed in the same spot on the same piece of furniture. She was shocked but that was where she lived for over a year before we had to move her to her new apt in the memory locked unit last August. By then we didn't need games. We just moved her. But she ran that place ragged for a few months til she got used to it.

The good news is that now she is as sweet as can be...well, except for the few cuss words she throws at the staff every morning when they are getting her up and ready for breakfast.

Just telling us some of the things that have happened with him and his house proves that he is not able enough to be there. So, yes, use whatever method you need to get him to safety. Use the staff at the nursing home..use the doctors...use the nurses.

We chickened out and had my mom's neurologist tell her she couldn't drive any more.. Good grief you should have been at her house the night we brought her back from that appointment! She screamed, cried, slammed doors...it was truly awful! We knew she would still try to take off in the car after we left so my son disconnected some of the wires and sure enough, the next morning she wanted to know who messed with her car. She was going to leave in the middle of the night with her beloved car!!

So we know that none of this is easy but it is a necessity...and the number one rule around here is no guilt. We didn't give them this disease so we
can't take the blame for doing our best to protect them.

Don't look at everything as though it has to be done tomorrow...First do your research and find a suitable place for him and then handle that huge problem. ..with help from whomever! One step at a time.

Love, Meg

Last edited by meg1230; 04-18-2011 at 02:00 PM.

 
Old 04-18-2011, 02:00 PM   #10
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Alison, I just read your last post... anger and pain, guilt and responsibility... these jumped out at me. Yes, your Dad is going to be angry and upset that his world is changing but you have to know that it is for his benefit. You are not responsible for the disease that had created the situation. Guilt is reserved for something you intentionally did wrong. There is not intent here except to do what is best for your Dad. As we say here often... there is no room for guilt in this disease. You are doing the best you can in the moment. You tried to keep him in the house and as you say.. now he and the house are even. It is time to try something different before you lose them both to each other. If he become overly stressed then there is medication that can help. My Mom did not go quietly into this disease and it's ramifications. She was my difficult case. She ranted and raged irrationally. She had NO clue what was best for her. She just knew that she didn't want to be trapped in the chaos of this disease and could not find a way out so she fought. I learned early that I could not safe her from the disease. All I could do was make her as safe, contented, and well cared for as possible. That lead to a 10 day stay in a geriatric psych unit. Yes, she is medication but not to the point of a non functioning zombi. She is as functional as she can be but content in her new home. So know a good outcome is possible. Just don't keep doing the same thing... letting him go back home to battle with his house And don't forget.... there is no guilt in doing the best you can do for him even if it is not what he wants!!

Love, deb

 
Old 04-18-2011, 02:06 PM   #11
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Deb...looking back , have we really been through all that we have with them?

Surprised we haven't turned to drink!

Alison...one time (one year ago this month) my mom even held off 8 armed guards in the hospital with her purse and an unmbrella! SHe wanted out! I still thank heavens they didn't taze her!! GUess they didn't want to taze someone who looked like their grandma.

Love, Meg

 
Old 04-18-2011, 02:18 PM   #12
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Thanks again, to all of you, just talking to other people who understand what this feels like has brought on more tears, but this time they're tears of relief.

The guilt over my dad's unhappiness is overwhelming, and the perception of causing him any pain about his house or his finances. He always kept a wad of cash in his pocket at all times (when he fell outside his house he literally had 1,500 dollars...in his pocket...in a wet lump), and going through his finances has made me realize he could, and did, give money to anyone. He has a decent pension and money coming in from social security, so somehow in his mind this became, "I have money to burn."

He paid to have a lot of "improvements" made to the house...the quality of the workmanship is shocking, so much so my husband has taken pictures and video tape. Crooked sheet rock, with clearly visible seams, crooked trim, slapped on paint. Flooring tacked down over old flooring, with two inches of old floor sticking out. And he must have paid ten of thousands for all this. At one point he paid $1,000 to some people who approached him in a grocery shop parking lot, and then they dumped bags of cement and cinderblocks in his driveway, left, and he never saw them again. He left it all until the bags were drenched, and turned to stone, and then someone finally cleared them away for him years later.

I've been dreading my entire life the day when the responsibility of the house would fall to me, because despite utterly ruining it (it would have to be gutted to be livable, the downstairs bathroom is literally falling off the house) he is covetous of it, and it is his sanctuary: the place where he keeps all his hoarded stuff!

Sadly, after he nearly ruined the house, he decided to clear many things away. He ended up hiring a "friend of a friend" to help him, and I'm finding check after check written for thousands of dollars. A lot of things were cleared away, but not many of the things that should have been. My mother's jewelry seems to have disappeared at some point along the way.

Despite all this, he has always has a very brilliant analytical mind, and still does occasionally, and in his mind he did things right, and took good care of the place.

And no way I will argue that point with him now, so you're all correct, and I need to find another way around it.

Alison

 
Old 04-18-2011, 08:13 PM   #13
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Alison.. when I read your post I am reminded of so many others, including mind, which are very similar. They lose the ability to function long before we realize that they are at that point. They don't see the value, importance of money. The don't get the abstract concept of numbers any more. As your Dad, Mom blew through an incredible amount of money upgrading the house. She did get quality work, only because she worked in the building supply business and the workmen knew her, but some of the charges were uhh... a little much. She agreed to give a large amount of money to somebody she met at a restaurant for a policy that was useless to her. I did manage to stop that! Like your Dad she carried lots of money and much of it disappeared. I feel lucky that Mom didn't "ruin" the house (though they had the fire truck there twice). Most of the repairs she made have actually been improvements. Now that we are selling the house it is nice not to have to paint! But she did have it painted inside and out twice in a year Yep, I know exactly what you are speaking of.

Mom decided to have my name put on her checking account.. just in case I needed to write a check for her... and a POA for her financial account. It was at my encouragement and took a little work to convince her it was her idea but I have never looked back! When she realized what she had done with the large amount of money and I had saved her that is when she finally gave in. Dad never did anything with the family finances. If he had a $20 bill in his pocket he was happy. So once I got the checkbook and POA from Mom I was good to go. All of their income was set up on direct deposit and all of the regular bills were drafted. I cut up her credit card and the only debit card was in my pocket. Before they went to assisted living mom would go to the bank and get money. They would only let her have $100. I love small towns! Yep, much of it disappeared but it was not large sums of money. Once they ended up in AL I gave Dad a $20 and Mom a wad of smaller bills. That usually satisfied them. In the mean time I was handling the finances!

Yes, they moved out of the house they loved and had lived in for over 50 years. They moved in when I was 2. Dad built most of the original house himself and Mom had it added onto twice. With the upgrades she later made it is the best house in the neighborhood. It was hard to clean it out and get it ready to sale but there was no other option because they were never going home again. It is still on the market and I just hope somebody who will love it as much as we did will move in soon.

As for the guilt over your Dad's unhappiness... what is causing his unhappiness? Is there something you have done? Did you give him this disease? Did you try your best to support him and give him what he wanted? Guilt is based on wrong doing. It is an awareness of having done something wrong and feeling remorse. Please do not confuse wrong doing with inability to change what is. I too struggled with the concept of guilt. I had to learn that there is no guilt in a situation that you do not control. Be sad for him because life is not ending as he would want it but please to not think that you are in any way responsible for what has, is, or will happen. You can't fix it! All you can do is the best you can in the moment to see that he is cared for. You may not be able to give him what he wishes for but you can give him what he needs.

I had to smile when you talked about your Dad thinking he did everything right and took good care of his home. In their mind they are right. In their mind, what they think is their reality just as in our mind what we think is our reality. If your Dad told you the sky was not blue you would argue. If you told your Dad he didn't take good care of his house he would argue with you! We can't change their mind because they are in a world of their own and it is just as real to them as our world is to us. So we have to figure out how to go into their world with them. That is why I always told Mom and Dad what I needed to tell them to make them happy while doing what I needed to do for them. That was rarely the same thing but it's ok because they don't remember and don't get it. If Mom or Dad ever got upset with me for doing something, I just told them how sorry I was and would do better next time That seemed to appease and I would repeat the process. Make everything positive, promise what you must to make him happy and then do what you need to do, and then you can ask for forgiveness if necessary.

Just hang with us. You are in the worst of it! It will get better....

Love, deb

 
Old 04-19-2011, 05:12 AM   #14
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Thank you, Deb, it really does help to know other people have gone through this and come out the other side, or are still dealing with it and managing to maintain their sanity.

Right now he has no diagnosis, and the evidence seems to be all my observations, and those of a few friends. My father's passion in life has been acting, and he's rather good at it. So when he doesn't know an answer, he simply bluffs his way through it. He's been doing it for years now, and many people just fall for his answers.

Luckily, the social worker at the nursing home has observed that when he's presented with more complex, multi-layered questions, he becomes "vague and obtuse" in her own words.

I suppose my worst fear at this point is that I push for a neurological consult, and he's having a day where he's sharp and passes with flying colors.

I really think that would break my will at this point...I keep telling myself to hold onto the courage of my convictions, and push for someone else to see what I'm seeing. As if somehow his stroke was my foot in the door, to get him some help. Now that I've seen close up the incomprehensible mess that is his life, I don't want him to sliding back into that pit.

He, however, desperately wants to, thinks his life was great, thinks he's a certifiable genius, millionaire, and world-traveling actor extraordinaire.

His recovery from the most debilitating side effects of the stroke is compounding the situation, where most of the staff at the nursing home thinks: He can walk, talk, and get to the bathroom, and he regularly tells me off, but I don't see any confusion or disorientation, so why can't he go home?

The social worker does understand my concerns and has been working with me, and hopefully the doctor will take this seriously. I don't want to sound like the daughter who wants to stuff her dad into a nursing home so she can control him. I'm frightened for him, the incomprehensible and dangerous situations he's allowed, giving keys to his house to strangers, and random friends. The way he can bluster and bully his way through most situations, by sometimes knowing precisely what happened and being 100% accurate, so everyone assumes every single time, he's right.

I have nightmares about one of his friends giving him the name of a "friend of a friend" who's a lawyer, to help him out, because his evil daughter is trying to railroad him. He has a few good friends who visit him, and they are open to what I'm saying and have observed some things themselves. Others, however, still hang on his every word, and take him completely seriously. Immediately after he had the stroke, he had some gullible acquaintance scouring his house and grounds for his wallet, which he said fell out of his coat into the snow, and was stolen. This guy was ready to fill out a police report for him...of course my dad's wallet and personal effects were all with him when he collapsed, and the hospital gave them to me for safe keeping.

Here's a good one...after his house was nearly destroyed, the company cleaning it out put a lock box on the door knob out front, where a key was left so they could come and go while they cleaned. My father left this lock box in place for the last two years, with a key in it, and gives the combination to random workers and acquaintances, so they could come and go from his house. He can't remember my son's name, but he can remember the combination to that lock box.

I want this diagnosis so badly, just so we can begin the process of getting this insanity under control, and getting some sleep at night.

 
Old 04-19-2011, 10:33 AM   #15
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Re: Need advice, no diagnosis for dad

Alison... I can so relate to what you just typed!!! I have been there It is frightening and I, like you, spent many sleepless nights worrying. I listened to sisters that said was was not that bad. I listened to Mom who said she was fine! I even listened to the doctor that told me Mom was ok (despite the fact she has a lower MMSE score than she should). Yet my observations told me that I was right and they were wrong!! Yes, you do have to believe in yourself and what you know from your own observations. There is NOBODY that understand as well as you do because you know him and his actions better than anybody else. You are his advocate and have to push forward with what you believe is right for him... no matter who stands in your way. No, you don't want to push Dad in a care facility so you can control him... you want to give him the best care possible and the care he needs

My Mom also thought she was on top of the world. She KNEW there was nothing wrong with her. Her doctor who had treated her for years let her convince him that she was just depressed. That made her happy because a pill was going to fix that. But she never remembered to take that pill and we both know anti depressants don't fix Alzheimer's!! Any time something happened that she didn't remember doing she just told us that Dad did it. He was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia so that was plausible. She was the master of deception, rising to the moment, being obtuse, and giving you an explanation with a conviction that was convincing. On the flip side she was doing things as your Dad is that were just not rational! A few of her friends had noticed that she couldn't remember which cards had been played in the bridge game. She was an expert bridge player so this was troublesome to them but she seemed ok otherwise... to them. But they didn't know much of what was going on in her life beyond the forgotten cards. May of her friends were shocked at her diagnosis and some were not. She did have workman in and out of the house, keys everywhere, and most times the doors were unlocked. And her new doctor told me that she was ok if she would just focus more

Yet I knew in my heart that something was very wrong. Dad ended up in the hospital for a medication overdose that Mom had given him. I knew because I had talked to her and knew she was giving him the pills. But she was forgetting she had done it and was doing it over and over. When she called Dad was in the floor and she was convinced he had a stroke... so call the ambulance instead of me! When I arrived home Mom was telling all her friends Dad had another heart attack even after the doctor diagnosed the overdose. Enough already!! I made her an appointment immediate for cognitive testing at the Memory Assessment Research Service. She went but told me that I was going to be sorry because she was "fine". She marched in convinced that she was going to pass the test with flying colors and I was going to leave with my tail tucked between my legs? What I got was a diagnosis of Moderate to Sever Dementia consistent with Alzheimer's. She was contrite and distraught about the diagnosis for about 2 hours... and then forgot it totally and assured me she was fine They don't know they have something wrong with them... only we know!! But it is up to us to find out what is truly going on so we can do what they need.

So please find a good geriatric neurologist or psychiatrist or memory assessment service that can diagnose your Dad properly. Keep going until you find what you need! I went through two doctors before I finally found MARS and a diagnosis. MARS is a local agency, in connection with our local university psych department, that is doing research in early diagnosis. Mom was so far along, as your Dad is, that it was easy for them to diagnose! You just need somebody that is an expert in the disease. Ask around for recommendations.

It is good that you have social worker on your side. She validates what you know and can help you get what you need. Hang on to her. Don't listen to the naysayers. Be your Dad's advocate to the end! You know he is unsafe at home and you can stop him from going back.

Question... do you have a durable and medical power of attorney for your Dad? You will need this! One the diagnosis is in place these legal documents will give you what you need to take care of his financial and medical needs. If possible get your name on all financial accounts as well.... and your name on all his HIPPA forms at all doctors and medical institutions as well as his insurances, pensions, and social security. The more you are prepared the better off you will be in the long run. This needs to be done before diagnosis if possible.

Just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not another train! I have been where you are now. I remember it well. Dad was in a care facility for 2 years before his death and Mom has been in a care facility for 3 years now. I have their finances set up for direct deposit and drafts. We have all the paperwork to handle anything that comes up. I have lost my Dad now and Mom is in the advanced stages, not knowing what is going on around her, but life is better than it was 4 years ago when I was where you are now So hang in there, find a good diagnostic resource, and get what you need! He may be able to buffalo those that don't know but he will have a difficult time buffaloing a good professional that is attuned to dementia diagnosis.

Love, deb

 
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