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Dad and Alzheimer’s

Sue52Sue52 Posts: 74Member Talkative
edited February 2018 in Guest blogs

Hi, my name is Sue and my father George has Alzheimer’s. He is in his 7th year so no longer communicates or does anything for himself.  I looked after him for the first 3 years until it became apparent that he needed 24-hour care.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. 

Dad has five children, nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He was married to my mum for 40 years until she died. He worked as a coalman from the age of 16 until the age of 66. He is physically fit even now which makes this cruel disease even harder


There are so many things that happened in the three years that I looked after him that we still laugh about now, though Alzheimer’s has been a devastating disease for all of us, we have used laughter as a way to deal with difficult situations. I would like to share some of these times that, though they are sad, also bring a smile to our faces.

Dad:   Susie I have been thinking, I am nearly 40 it is about time I thought about getting married and having kids.
Me:     Dad, you were married for over 40 years and have five children and you are 84

 

One night I had just got home after being with dad since 8am in the morning, it was now 10.30 at night.  Five minutes later the phone rang, and it was my dad.

Dad:   Hello, is that you?
Me:     Yes dad is everything ok?
Dad:   Yes, I was just wondering when you were coming around I have not had any breakfast yet!!!
Me:     Dad, you have had breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper.
Dad:    Well I was going to say I didn’t want any breakfast because I don’t feel very hungry

 

Another time was a little more serious.

I had gone home for the evening, dad was settled and had quite a good day. I had left him on the chair watching a film with his next-door neighbour who we paid to stay a few hours after I had left just to keep an eye on him. By midnight dad would normally fall asleep and that would be him till eight in the morning when I arrived.

Anyway, I got a call at 4am from the police to say I needed to get back to my dad’s as something serious had happened but they could not tell me over the phone.

Dad had called the police, told them that he had shot my mum by mistake and that she was in the bath.

I got to dad’s place, there was a police car and an ambulance. I explained to them that my mum had been gone a long time and this was just part of the Alzheimer’s. They were not impressed to say the least!  By the time everyone had gone dad was sleeping peacefully in his bed totally unaware of the chaos he had created.

Alzheimer’s is the cruellest disease I have ever come across and it robs people of their memories.

When my dad finally had to go into continuing health care I would get so upset because he would be walking around in tracksuit bottoms and sweatshirts, not his normal trousers and shirts. He would walk around with a crisp wrapper that he had shaped into a gun shooting people.

His consultant explained to me that my dad was in a happy place because he thought he was acting normally.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease. This means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, more symptoms develop. They also become more severe. 

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but there is a lot that can be done to enable someone to live well with the condition. This will involve drug and non-drug care, support and activities.

You can look on the Alzheimer’s website for support on daily living,  help with care and staying independent.

I think that talking about Alzheimer’s can be really helpful to family and carers and so it would be great to hear about your experiences.  Please let me know if this has effected you and if you have any hints and tips on caring for your loved ones who have any forms of dementia or alzheimer's.

Replies

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 1,757 Listener
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  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 3,705Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hello @Sue52 ; Thank you for sharing your story.  I understand and feel for you.  Life has not been easy.   No matter how much there has been laughter and tears. I am glad to have met you and your Father.  

    My one big concern is that I am always worried and get anxious my memory getting older.  I write what I can recall of my experiences.

    I had an addiction history took a drug to combat Dementia called Thiamine.  Because no one tells you that.  How is my memory can and do say about past events and problem is I forgot what I have written yesterday or tonight.

    Forgot people I have met.   Got a diary writing down every thing.  Constant reminders text and from support workers. Talked to the Doctors last year but is that the big worry is it not what long term damage I have done.

    Big shock met a lad from my past could not and do not recall him.  His name all I recall is that he was telling people about me.  Did not know any of this at all.   I got annoyed with him.

    My concern and well being is top priority.  Is there for the future then tests to find out.  Does any body know.  I had a MOT once I was 50 from the Surgery.

    I do have days of what do they call that song the name of the performer.  Old movie forgot plot and who is what.  I might have seen that film so many times and the song played it all the time.

    Also have no idea of time lose that one all the time.  Get up early but some days can to get going and just sit and have no realisation it is getting near to lunch time.  Even sitting all night then it is near to hours of morning.  Can not sleep and like now keep thinking I will write some more.  Not knowning the time. 

    So I hope and pray for your Fathers well being and for your good self.  Take care



  • Sue52Sue52 Posts: 74Member Talkative
    Hi @thespiceman
    I am sorry to hear your news. One thing that I found helped my dad in the early stages was what we called a Memory Board. 
    Basically it was just a white board that I put on the wall. I would put things on it like:
    Had Lunch at 1pm
    Son came today at 2pm and stayed for two hours. 
    Went to the supermarket today
    Just lots of little things that would jog his memory.  When he had good days i would encourage him to put little stickers on things to remind him of why they were there for him. 
    We also brought him a very large clock to go on the wall so he would have a sense of time. 
    It is such a horrible thing thinking you are losing your memory and although I looked after my dad I am certainly not a expert. Have you thought about joining the Alzheimer's Society Website. I am in no way saying that you have Alzheimers or Dementia only tests will tell you that, but I found so many little things on there that helped with my dads memory and a amazing amount of support.
    Best wishes and here if you need to chat
    Sue 

  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 3,705Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hello @Sue52 Thank you for reply.  I am always concerned for my health so it is great for little things like you suggested.

    I have just replied to you on Curry in Hurry sorry I have to say do forget what I wrote.  Any way do diary and like tonight do myself a meal.  Always have to write down what I am doing.

    My concern is not always for myself but others who really in this country have some sort of MOT check up every year.  From the age of 50 onwards.  All then if their is problems then they could be sorted out.

    Unfortunately I fear the NHS costs too high and the budgets.  As with every thing health wise.

    Thank you for kind words and comments  Pleased to meet you
  • Sue52Sue52 Posts: 74Member Talkative
    Hello @thespiceman

    Have not been here in a while, had lots of things going on. My father died, moved home, changed job.... such a whirlwind  :/
    Have lots of recipes that i would love to share with everyone ( me being such a good cook and all that lol)


  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 3,705Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hello @Sue52 Great to hear from you. First may I say how sorry I am about your Dad. 

    How are you?  How can we as a community support you. You are a valued member of our community. We are here to help and advise..

    If you need a listening ear want to talk I am always here anytime.

    Understand how difficult things have been. Losing loved ones is the memories and the time you have.

    Treasured.

    All I can add is please do contribute to any recipes . Add them in Coffee lounge I will be gladly receive or the community be interested.

    All helps and gives the forum a sense of purpose.

    Reading you post lots of things has happened to you. Some times we need to share and care.

    I myself have been made a community champion of the forum. Have lost my Motability car through the debacle of PIP.  Have to cope. Some how but I will plod on. Do a lot of stuff on line and use shops to get anything I need.

    Hopefully know that will be OK and have to use Taxis to get about if I need to.

    Come on here every day and support the community . Gives me a sense of well being. Help the new members and any body else. Give words of wisdom, comfort and guidance.

    That is me but my concern is always others.  Like yourself.

    Please keep in touch you are never alone on here. Always ready given any time, be glad to talk to you.

    Your have friends on here and I will be gladly be one if you wish to.

    Please take care and thank you for sharing about your Dad. Very special bond that you had.

    Always in prayers and thoughts.

    @thespiceman
  • Sue52Sue52 Posts: 74Member Talkative
    Hi @thespiceman

    Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot at times of sadness. It has now been two months and we are just getting on with things and life. This may sound cruel but my dad "died" a long time ago, so his actual passing was a relief to him and to us. We did not want to see him in pain any longer. 
    I am now ready to jump back on the boat that is Scope. 
    Hope you are well and right back at you that I hopefully will be hear to char a lot more often now.
    Have a ab fab sunny day :)
    Take Care 
    Sue


  • thespicemanthespiceman Posts: 3,705Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    Hello @Sue52 ; Thanks for reply and asking about me. Doing OK this weekend.

    Must be the sunny weather.  Amazing is it not. For an Autumn day.

    Yes always here to support, advise, chat and be a friend anytime you want.

    You know where I am.

    Take care

    @thespiceman




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