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Old 07-14-2012, 12:54 PM   #1
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Please... I need help and advice

I live with my father who is 65, soon to be 66. His mother had dementia though I'm not sure what type. I know this post might be a little long, but I really need some help and advice.



I am really concerned because he is starting to act differently. He had a stroke about 1.5 years ago and he has recovered quite well.



However, I'm starting to notice changes in his personality, memory and behavior. He used to be extremely organized and punctual, and he knew where everything was. Now he refers to things that no longer exist. He keeps saying he's going to a grocery store (that was in our old state) which no longer exists when he means Walmart or something else. He never knows where anything is anymore. He walks into rooms and forgets why he is there. He keeps referring to things in the past that no longer exist. He cannot remember appointments or to take his medication. He keeps substituting incorrect words (I don't know how to explain that) for correct words.



His personality has changed. He lashes out sometimes and says he doesn't know he's doing it and he makes snide comments. This is a complete 180 from the way he used to be.



I'm having a tough time watching him deteriorate. He goes to the dr and says "Oh I just have a lot on my mind. That's why I forget." But it's progressed from more than a little forgetfulness. I send him to the store with a list and he comes home with tons of stuff that wasn't on the list and often comes home with nothing on the list.



My mom is in another state and I have my own health problems and I just do not have the ability to take care of him. I keep trying to get him to be honest with the dr. When I talked to my mom today, he was laughing when I told her about his problems. I don't know if he's afraid or what. But I keep telling him that it's best to get treatment early if he has it.



My mom and I saw the checklist on this site so she's going to fill one out and I'll fill the other out and we'll take it to his neurologist. Is that the right dr to see?



I'm just really worried. Does this sound like something that needs to be checked out? Sorry for the long post. I hope someone manages to get this far.

 
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Old 07-14-2012, 01:49 PM   #2
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

Yes a neurologist will be good. The doctor needs to find out what is wrong with him.
Looks like Dad may have dementia but there are many other kinds of health issues that may cause temporary dementia. Hope you will get the answer soon.

Sorry that your Mom and you have to worry about him. Also at this time, make sure Mom or you are the POA before it is too late. Now he may still be able to sign POA or some health directive so family will know what to do if he is incompetent.

Hugs,
Nina

 
Old 07-14-2012, 02:36 PM   #3
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

That is exactly what you need to do. You need to make a list of all the unusual behavior and examples of the things he does. You need to make sure the neurologist pays attention to this list of behaviors. It is obvious that there is something cognitively going on with your Dad and your best first step is to have his checked out by someone (neurologist) that can diagnose his problems.

Many of the examples you have given here do sound like they are consistent with cognitive decline/ dementia. Stress related forgetfulness is a bit different from cognitive decline. If he forgets where his keys are but can go back, follow his footsteps, and then find his keys that is usually stress related. If he can not do this or forgets he has keys, or what they are for... then there is a cognition problem. If he forgets why he is in a room, goes out and then remember it is stress. If he has no idea why he went there and can not recall it later then there is a cognition problem. The inability to follow instruction, poor judgement, languages difficulties, disorientation to time and place, personality and mood changes, and inability to determine that he has a problem... are all signs of cognitive decline.

Be sure to go to the neurologist with him. Telling him what to do is useless. If he remembers your instructions he will gloss over them because he may not understand there is a problem. In his world he is fine You are the one that can tell the doctor what you see when he can't. So go forward with your plan because it is a good one!!!

Love, deb

 
Old 07-14-2012, 06:51 PM   #4
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

he should be checked out

 
Old 07-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

Thank you all for your replies. My mom has decided (we have been trying to get him to go to the neurologist for his check-up for months!) that she is going to personally call the dr on Monday and speak to the nurse about the symptoms she's noticed. That way the dr will have input from my mom whose in another state and from me, who lives at home with him.

I don't really know what is wrong with him whether it is some residual symptoms from the stroke (but he wasn't this bad 1.5 yrs ago) or if this is something new. The changes are really startling to me.

 
Old 07-14-2012, 08:59 PM   #6
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

It could be anything waters. It could be related to the last stroke, it could be a form of dementia, or it could be from new vascular problems in the brain. The best thing you can do for all of you is get Dad back to the doctor. Once you know what is going on you will be able to figure out what to do next Hang in there...

Love, deb

PS... you may have to get your Dad to allow the doctor to talk to you and your Mom because of the HIPPA rules. In some cases your Dad can even do this over the phone. The doctor's office can tell you how to do this.

 
Old 07-14-2012, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
It could be anything waters. It could be related to the last stroke, it could be a form of dementia, or it could be from new vascular problems in the brain. The best thing you can do for all of you is get Dad back to the doctor. Once you know what is going on you will be able to figure out what to do next Hang in there...

Love, deb

PS... you may have to get your Dad to allow the doctor to talk to you and your Mom because of the HIPPA rules. In some cases your Dad can even do this over the phone. The doctor's office can tell you how to do this.
Thank you. Since his stroke I've been filling out all his patient paperwork and he just glances over it and signs. I'm pretty sure I listed my mom and I as people the dr can talk to and disclose information to. But I will double check tomorrow.

 
Old 07-15-2012, 01:54 PM   #8
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

Hi Waters - Just catching up on this thread. Please do check about durable POA. You'll definitely want that paperwork in place. Also, does he have a will, a living will, any health directives?

I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It is SO difficult when we start to see changes......begin to wonder what's wrong.......ugh......I remember that stage all too well From my own experience, it took a very good Neurologist who listened to us and truly took an interest in my stepdad and finding the proper diagnosis. My stepdad was eventually diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia, which behaves differently from Alzheimer's.

My stepdad's internist that he had seen for years prior to becoming ill did not take the family's concerns seriously. That was very frustrating for us, even though he was a great doctor, it took a Neurologist really examining, and testing, testing, to give the proper diagnosis. Then there's the very hard part of living with the diagnosis.......but one step at a time.

Wishing you all the best. Keep us posted. There are many great knowledgeable and caring people on this board

 
Old 07-15-2012, 03:54 PM   #9
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

Uh, I don't really know about any wills if he has any. My mom said not to push too much with him, because she thinks he IS worried or just doesn't want to even find out. Our internist (we see the same one) didn't know what to make of it. He kept telling her nothing was wrong. But things have progressed from that time. He does have a neurologist and geriatric psychiatrist. Just this waiting to find out is killing me.

If he does have it, we'll have to work getting a POA. What is a durable POA though, is that specific type?

Last edited by hb-mod; 07-15-2012 at 06:49 PM.

 
Old 07-15-2012, 05:11 PM   #10
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Re: Please... I need help and advice

Yes, it is a specific type. You need to talk with a family or elder practice attorney to find out specifics for your state. They do vary from state to state.

 
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:40 PM   #11
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Re: Please... I need help and advice

Water, waiting may not be a good choice. If there is a diagnosis of advance dementia then he is not mentally competent to sign legal documents. It is one of those things that needs to be done BEFORE it is needed. It will be up to the lawyer to determine if your father is capable of signing these documents.

He may be worried and doesn't want to find out or he may have no idea that something truly bad is wrong. Either way it is important to find out if it is something that can be fixed. Most general physicians do not get the behavioral issues associated with dementia. The BP and blood work is fine so all is good... NOT! I do hope you will get him/her to understand and help from the neurologist and geriatric psychiatrist. Good luck... hang in there... and keep us updated on your progress

Love, deb

 
Old 07-16-2012, 06:15 AM   #12
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Re: Please.. I need help and advice

Anyone can have a will and POA any time. The age of 60s is about right. Not too early to have POA or a will or health directive.
Does not matter if Dad has dementia or not. It is always a good idea to get POA. Durable POA is usually like a state POA for properties as well health directive. Ask an attorney and he/she will tell you all about it.
If you don't have POA, working on the paperwork will be harder because no one has the power to take care of Dad's paperwork.

Regards,
Nina

 
Old 07-16-2012, 06:38 AM   #13
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Re: Please... I need help and advice

Nina, dementia is a huge factor in whether a person can complete a POA. The person signing the POA has to be mentally competent to sign the paper and understand what they are signing. In the early stages of dementia it may be possible and is at the digression of the lawyer. Later it is inappropriate. Legal papers signed with a dementia diagnosis in place may be grounds to contested the document in court.

This paperwork is appropriate at any time... and the sooner the better. Do not wait until it is necessary. I have a call in to my lawyer right now for a durable POA for my 30 year old daughter you never know...

Love, deb

 
Old 07-16-2012, 07:18 AM   #14
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Re: Please... I need help and advice

It is never too early to have a will or healthcare directive or PAO once one reaches the age of majority. My first husband died as a the result of a motor vehicle accident at the age of 27. Thank goodness he had a will - or his parents would have run roughshod over me. The only reason we had them at the time was because he was involved in a lawsuit when we married and his attorney insisted we both do them and drew them up for us.

 
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