My dad has been diagnosed with Dementia for a number of years. He and mom moved to a retirement home. They have an apartment. However, dad also has a heart valve issue and refused a heart cath. That was a number of years ago when he was much more alert. Since then, his health has declined. He is currently in CHF and is getting worse. He is now in the health center because he won't eat properly (low salt, low fat diet). Basically, there is nothing left to treat his heart. It is greatly weakened and he is not a good candidate for a defibrillator.
I live quite a ways away...10 hr drive. I call all the time and I spent a HUGE amount of time up there helping them downsize and get rid of things in between driving them to the dr.
I went up to see dad a few months ago. He was not doing well and I really wanted to "say goodbye" just in case. He has always known me. Always. On the phone. In person. But when I walked in, he called me by his aunt's name. It was all I could do to keep from crying. I visited him a number of times while there. I really don't think that he knew who I was during any of these visits.
Now, I worked in a nursing home for a number of years. In fact, I worked on the very floor that my dad is living on. I know what these diseases are like. I cared for and loved many people who had alzheimer's and dementia. I am so completely not unfamiliar with how it goes.
But I am my daddy's girl. I adore my dad. And I cannot conceive that he could forget me. At the end of May was when I visited him. And not long after was Father's Day. On FB, people talked about their living dads or their now deceased dads. I call my parents all the time, but I felt I couldn't call Dad. And to top things off, my dh is flying out of state for a birthday party for his father. I am so incredibly upset!! My dad's 81st birthday was this week and I can't call. It is so hard not being able to call and talk to him. Technically, I could call. But he doesn't really talk a whole lot. And I doubt he would know who I was. I am so angry and hurt that other people get to talk to their parents and I cannot. I miss my daddy!!
The following user gives a hug of support to crazgrl: bubblegirl (07-01-2012)
I am so sorry that your Dad does not know you anymore. It is hard indeed.
But I am sure you can still talk to Dad who thinks of you as a nice lady.
My FIL forgot his elder son whom he has not seen for 40 years. So naturally he forgot him even though they used to talk on the phone. Now he does not talk well on the phone. My FIL even told him he was flattered that he had 2 sons (he said how could he have 2 sons???)
About my husband, he forgot his childhood already. I personally think he only thinks of us as "colleagues" as he always wants to work. Now he knows my husband's name but not in an obvious way. The person with dementia always forgets the family at some point but it is not like 100% if you still see him a lot.
My FIL has Alzheimers but maybe different dementia has different outcome.
Craz... I understand your distress. I have and am in your shoes. My Dad was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia in 97 and he passed away in 2010. I am a Daddy's girls and it is difficult to watch this disease take them away. It is the long good bye. I too worked in a care facility and understand the difference between it being your Dad an somebody else's Dad. You do need to go see your Dad as often as possible. If hubby is flying to Dad's birthday party then you need to as well. He may not call you by name but he will know you are somebody that cares about him. Remember that he has not forgotten you.. he just doesn't recognize you as your are today. In his memory I am sure there is a little girl he loves. I am still dealing with my Mom who has advance Alzheimer's. She has been unable to speak coherently for the last 3 years. She lost her ability to walk the first of June as a side effect of a UTI. I have heard my name once in 6 months. It was calling me not acknowledging my presence. Yes it is all difficult to deal with. I do believe seeing him would help... so go spend time with your Dad while you can.
The same thing happened in our family. Mum (who passed away in April) didn't know who I was at all in January when we traveled to the home from interstate for her 90th birthday. She did smile at me, & she told me that she had no idea who I was but she liked me anyway & thought that I was nice- which was lucky for me I suppose, but I did feel a bit hurt even though I understood the situation. We still enjoyed each others company on that day & on subsequent visits, but it was just very different.
I think that you both will benefit from seeing each other even though things are changing all the time. It's tough though, isn't it.
Hi there craz, wow, do I know from where you are coming from.. I am so sorry that your dad is declining, when my mom use to do the same thing, call me by my aunts names or my sisters name I took solise in the fact that she knew I belonged she was just confused as to how. So your dad knows that you are someone important to him but at that time he could not figure out how so he use a title that he felt right with. There are many on here who would give anything to hear their loved ones associate them with anyone, think of this as a small blessing that dad still knows you and feels connected to you even though he may get your name wrong.
Lots of hugs coming your way
A couple of comments.... We need to be grateful for the time we have with our loved ones even if they can not call our name. Just because they can not call our name doesn't mean they don't know us. The brains ability to use nouns (especially proper nouns) diminishes early in the speech loss. Our name is a proper noun. They may know us but not be able to form the speech needed to say our name. Therefore the look of recognition. Mom does not call my name. She also doesn't know to what a chair is called either. They may also lose the current time and place because new memories are not developed and current memories are lost first. There have been days with Mom, that she talked about me as if I was not present. The memory of me was there but she didn't recognize the older face she saw in front of her. In her mind I was a teenager, toddle, or baby. To prove this point, there were days she didn't recognize my face but when I walked behind her and said something she called my name. She recognized my voice (which has not changed as much as my face). So know that your loved one has probably not forgotten you, the abilities they need to let you know they remember are not working. That is why you see those flickers of recognition when the words do not come to them to explain what they want to say.
Recently my daughter went to see Mom. When we arrived I went to Mom who just smiled at me and my daughter stopped to talk to somebody else. It took a few minutes but Mom's eyes eventually locked on my daughter. She just looked for a while and then took her finger and motioned for my daughter. It was subtle and could have been missed. Mom never said anything because she doesn't speak much and rarely so you can understand. But that little motion and the smile that followed let me know that she knew her granddaughter. And the fact Mom didn't want to let go of my daughter's hand once they connected was priceless.
So don't expect our loved ones to say hello and call us by name. That takes brain process from visual processing of our current image, through the memory cycles to connect the face they see now with the loved one they know from the past, through speech processing to know what to call us. We think it is so very simple to just see a face and call a name... but for the loved one with dementia this is a long arduous process. For that reason I am happy with a smile
When my FIL first started forgetting his elder son in 2007, he called him his cousin. His son was sick at that time and he was upset telling my husband the "cousin" had something going on and he was upset (The son got sick seriously and got well also - my FIL did give him some money too for that op.)
My husband and I were confused. Who was this? Who was sick? Well the grandson emailed us about what was wrong. Now I realized my FIL said his elder son was the cousin who just died a few years ago (after 2008). The funny part is my FIL went back to his cousin whom he didn't really contact anymore (the cousin was old too.)
The thing that is comforting is that at least my FIL knows he was his family and that he was important enough to him.
Back in 2009 or so, my FIL did ask me if my husband was his son and he asked me how he should behave. He said his younger son is his best friend in terms of "work".
Now in 2010 when he moved to the NH, he said his 2 sons are his extensions and should all go there to work with him. His memory of his elder son was on and off. Yet he knows his kids' voice.
My husband still goes with my FIL calling his name. My husbad keeps telling me oh his Dad called his name. I know my FIL forgot his younger son's childhood. He probably has no clues how the Moms gave birth to his kids.
What I feel is that my FIL probably still has some blurring memory of his kids and family. He just lost contact with the details. In reality he forgot us all, but he still thinks we are the familiar ones. Familiar and family...