My 78 year old father was diagnosed with dimentia about 5 years ago. Finding that there are good days and bad days with this disease. Last night my father was speaking with my sister in CA (we live in MI) and she was talking about her boyfriend of 25 years and my father emphatically believed that he was simply her landlord and not her boyfriend and even had trouble remembering his name. My father lives alone in a house about 40 minutes away from me.
My father has always been a rational and logical person. Watching this deterioration is heart-breaking. Anyways brought this issue up and asked him what he expected me to do with this information since he is always in denial about things like this. He told me that he knows he is having a "little" trouble and instructed me not to do anything and that he will let me know when it is time for me to step in and help. I told him that I am worried that he may be out driving one day and forget what yield means or what a red light means and that he may injure himself or someone else. That didn't seem to phase him.
Guess I am looking for advice. Don't want to forcibly put him in any home. We've toured Assisted Living facilities, and as nice as they are nowadays, in his mind they are just dressed up final resting place before death. I won't force him into any place like that unless the care he would require is beyond my ability.
He might be eligible for a home attendant or home health aide who could assist him with basic everyday needs. His doctor could help with writing a medical letter of support that would be needed. There are other supports and services he could be eligible for as well. Also there is specific assistive technology that might be of help. The dementia itself might make him not realize he needs help at this point. However there are pragmatic ways to provide the help he needs and keep his best interest in mind.
Also ask his treating physician more about what his long term prognosis is so you can plan out how to assist him in the future as well. Also there are support groups that can be of help and books that help with concerns about assisting a person with dementia and coping skills.
I would sugegst that he stop driving as soon as possible. Yes, i am a young girl, but i do understand what dementia is. I lived with my grandad for just over 5 or so years after he was diagnosed, before we had to put him in a nursing home.
He used to drive me to school when i was was in primary every day, but after a while had to stop, because he would have small crashes and he would speed. My mum and grandma said one day that enough was enough and that we weren't taking any chances. Although it took alot of heart to force him to give up his license, seeing he was reluctant and didnt believe he was sick, it was for the best. He would start to cry, and it made you feel so bad, but when you think about, you are doing it for his safety.
You will know when the time comes that you will have to make that huge step.
I would also suggest those support groups mentioned in the previous post. My grandad attented those, and i believe it is a good chance for them to get out of the house for a while.
Although this all does depend on what stage he is at with this dementia, once he starts to get bad, please don't hesitate to do whatever you have to to provide for him, etc.
P.S I also do not believe he should be livign alone is he is in that state, depending if he is in danger of himself or not....
I wish you luck.
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