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Aging parents

(21 Posts)
WynkenBlynkenandNod Thu 28-Feb-13 08:58:39

It strikes a chord with me. We're off soon back to memory clinic for the CT scan results to find out which type of Dememtia she has. The 'Mumness' of Mum is usually absent though (like that phase) as her personality changed subtly which was the first signs before the memory issues.

A Memory Advisor came yesterday who will see both us every three months as things progress (mum didn't notice that slipped in). She's clearly going to be more support to me than me, really glad she came as have covered all the practical things but do need emotional support as well. My brother lives abroad, gets it in theory but doesn't, she's estranged from her sister and that side of the family, has no friends so it is just me. Thankfully I have a fantastic DH and the best friends in the World but it still gets a bit lonely dealing with it.

janinlondon Thu 28-Feb-13 08:47:30

My dad is 77 and we noticed about 2 years ago that he was starting to ask things more than once, repeat things, forget stuff, become confused. My DH kept saying that we (Mum, me, my sister) were being mean and that there was nothing wrong except old age, but Mum (who is no slouch on this stuff) marched Dad off for testing and he is now on excellent medication that has not only arrested the decline, but in the short term at least improved things. As Dad says "I no longer say really stupid stuff". I think the "Oh its just old age" thing is outdated now. There have been great medical advances. Though I should point out that this was in Australia, where medicine is pretty much privatised.

ladymariner Thu 28-Feb-13 08:30:11

My dh went to see mum and dad yesterday and as it was such a lovely day he and dad went for a walk down to the pond, Dad has one of those walking frames with a seat attached so it's ideal. They were out ages and had a super time.
Last night dh and I were chatting and he got quite choked up. He said that there are people who have all their faculties who are incapable of giving ( another thread altogether!!) and then there's my Dad who, although isn't as capable as he use to be, has so much to give and we should be there to accept it and listen to him and enjoy him while we can. Dad knows an incredible amount about nature and wildlife, and was telling dh all about the different birds and plants round the pond, and dh was listening to him and letting him talk and they were so companionable together.
Just wanted to share that, really I suppose to remind myself that in among all the bad there is still good. Xxx

It is really hard seeing beloved parents change as they age, isn't it. When Dad died a few years ago at 94, it was sad - but actually we had already lost him about ten years before that. He didn't have alzheimers - but communication became increasingly difficult because of his deafness. Over time he lost the ability to converse and for years resorted to shouting a word or two to communicate - so sad because he had a lovely warm speaking voice and as a child I would curl up on his lap for hours while he read stories to me.

Recently we thought we had 'lost' mum. She is 96 and prone to hallucinations when she has urine infections (which is a lot of the time!) This time the hallucinations persisted for over a week and we thought we would never get the 'real' mum back - but hey presto, once the antibiotics kicked in she was back to 'normal'. I think when mum eventually dies it will hit me harder than when dad died because the 'mumness' of mum is still very much in evidence (except when she has an infection).

I am in the same situation, but it is my mum who has alzheimers and my dad now does the caring. We, too, were told that she did not have alzheimers, but she was then being seen by a consultant for a while and a few years down the line he admitted that it had been it all along!!

For me, I think it was worse when mum would slip in and out of lucidness, as when she was the "old" mum she would realise what was happening to her and it was heartbreaking to see her so upset at what was happening to her.
The heartaches are now different as she does not recognise her children/Grandchildren (I am currently living abroad, so have no chance of her recognising me when I return to the UK, or ever again - but on the phone I could be a salesperson for all she is aware!) Although this is soooooo hard for us all, I found it harder seeing her so upset, now she is just merrily in her own little world IYSWIM.
Yes, I feel as if I am going through a grieving for the mum I had and I have no more. I just try to remember her as the loving, caring, so capable mum, the best mum in the world to me!!
Sometimes I think it would be better for her and definitely better for my dad if she was not alive anymore, but then I am wracked with guilt whenever I feel that way. I do think I will grieve less than I would have done in different circumstances, like Busy said.

bodencatalogue Sun 24-Feb-13 23:13:12

I lost my Dad last year, the year before that was pretty much what you are describing.

I am so sorry, all I can say is try and stay strong and really try and enjoy and treasure the moments you have with him now even though he might not be who he was. You will always remember the good times whatever happens.

ladymariner Sun 24-Feb-13 22:53:31

I know what you mean about trying to pretend it's not happening, Jemster I used to make excuses for him all the time.....it's his age, he's tired, he's had a busy day, there are a lot of people about, etc etc. Anything to avoid having to face up to what was really happening. I totally understand where you're coming from there.

Jemster Sat 23-Feb-13 22:35:54

Ladymariner your post has made me cry so much as this is happening to my dad too who I adore. I've tried to pretend for ages its not happening but my mum and sister have talked to me about him and I know now its real. I try to be normal around him but you can just see things aren't the same and its very upsetting. I know exactly how you feel and what you're going through.

ladymariner Sat 23-Feb-13 11:04:58

He has been to the GP and they ruled out Alzheimer's, although that was a little while ago, he may have developed it since.
A lot of it is down to age, he is 89 in June, but the main reason (we think, and have been warned by his consultant) is that he is on very strong drugs to contain his prostate cancer as he has had it for 13 years and so become immune to the earlier medication, and these drugs can cause hallucinations. He sees things that aren't there, he talks to people from years ago, and his personality can change.
It's all so sad, he needs the drugs or he will succumb to the cancer, but the drugs are also seriously diminishing his quality of life. There's nothing really we can do, we have to accept it and make the most of the good days, rather than dwell on the bad days, but last night I just felt so low.
This is the first time I've used mumsnet as a support, and I just want to thank you all again, it really means a lot to know people understand how I feel about it. I'm going to see mum and dad later, and its the not knowing which Dad is going to be there that hurts.....does that make any sense?

Portia4 Sat 23-Feb-13 08:32:06

Tanya reading your post brought a tear to my eye as you have described my darling Dad to a T! The man we knew is gone and a stranger has replaced him. He is still gentle and affectionate but removed from our world. This has happened in the last 18 months, and he has gone from from running a large company to depending on my mum.
I have no advice for you, but do enjoy his more rational moments as they slowly disappear without you realising.
Sorry my post isn't more uplifting but we both are indeed lucky to have had such fabulous fathers.

Fairy130389 Sat 23-Feb-13 08:28:08

I am a social worker with older people and I see this all the time.
I agree with Waffly that if he hasn't already, he needs to see his GP and get a diagnosis. There is not miracle cure sadly but there is medication that will stave off the symptoms for a while.

I'm so sorry that you are going through this. It is a really really sad situation and really hard because you are grieving, but the person you are grieving for is still there, which makes it even harder to deal with.

Giving a virtual hand and wine x

Titchyboomboom Sat 23-Feb-13 08:03:00

I'm going through the same thing with my grandad. The worst part is watching him trying to accept that he can't do a lot now. Sorry... Dd shouting me!... Back to post properly later

WafflyVersatile Sat 23-Feb-13 00:49:51

Has he been to the GP about this and had any sort of diagnosis? Parents get old but alzheimers and dementia are specific conditions and if diagnosed there is stuff that can be done to help slow their progress and effects. The earlier the better.

My dad is nearly 80 and recently he stopped carrying my suitcase for me when picking me up when I visit. I was beginning to think he was invincible but he's not and not trying to kid anyone thankfully.

ladymariner Fri 22-Feb-13 23:55:41

Thank you so much everyone, I didn't know if anyone would respond and I'm so glad you have.

Yes, my mum is still around and she has all her faculties. She feels like I do, I think, but she doesn't say it, she's of the generation and mindset where you just get on with it, she's amazing really, and so I do try to, but tonight it really hit me and I just wondered if anyone would understand.

Busybusybust Fri 22-Feb-13 23:16:58

Actually, just reading back what I had written has made me cry. Losing much loved parents is always horrible - but losing them to Altzheimers/dementia is just hideous.

RivalSibling Fri 22-Feb-13 23:15:55

He still loves you. He is still there. But you right that you are grieving. It's ok to feel sad.

Is your mum still around?

Busybusybust Fri 22-Feb-13 23:11:02

Oh my goodness me. This totally resonates with me. My daddy was just the same. I adored him. He made me a Dolls' house, I played plumbers' mate to his plumber, - he was just the greatest guy. Then he got Alzheimer's. I had to watch as t his lovely, capable, 'can do' man lost all his capabilities. He became quite difficult (not with me or my mother) with his carers. They would describe someone I didn't know.

(Must admit that sis and I were amused when he registered his protest at carers coming into his home by answering the door naked!). The worst thing was when he had the odd bit of realism - he remembered what he had been.......... Heartbreaking. I found myself trying to explain to hospital staff what he used be like -they really aren't interested.

When he died I found that I mourned him less than I expected - he lovely daddy
I knew had already died.

OP try and spend as much time as you can with him. He won't be here for ever. I miss my dad every day. OK every other day.

DumSpiroSpero Fri 22-Feb-13 22:58:29

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I don't really have any advice, but am also a daddy's girl and although mine is not suffering any confusion, I worry about him a lot.

He's in his mid 70's and for various reasons really doesn't have a 'life' iykwim? A combination of issues with my mum & ill health mean he doesn't sleep well & only really leaves the house to go and get the paper. He has more or less said he feels like he's just waiting to die and it's so sad as he's an amazing bloke and deserves so much better.

I hope someone comes along with something more useful for you, but in the meantime, have an unmumsnetty ((hug)).

DumSpiroSpero Fri 22-Feb-13 22:57:36

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I don't really have any advice, but am also a daddy's girl and although mine is not suffering any confusion, I worry about him a lot.

He's in his mid 70's and for various reasons really doesn't have a 'life' iykwim? A combination of issues with my mum & ill health mean he doesn't sleep well & only really leaves the house to go and the paper. He has more or less says he feels like he's just waiting to sure and it's so sad as he's an amazing bloke and deserves so much better.

I hope someone comes along with something more useful for you, but in the meantime, have an unmumsnetty ((hug)).

tanyatanya Fri 22-Feb-13 22:53:36

I Don't have any experience of this yet, but didn't want to read and run. Hope someone with some words of wisdom comes along shortly and can help...

ladymariner Fri 22-Feb-13 22:18:54

Dont know if this is the right place to post this, and not really after any advice, but just feeling so sad and wondered if anybody else could relate to how I'm feeling.....

I've always been a daddy's girl, in my eyes my dad was invincible, he could mend anything, fix anything, he was always a big, strong man with a wicked sense of humour, the kindest heart in the world and he was always, always there for me, even when I was a vile, rebellious teenager who said and did horrible things, he never turned his back on me and he's always just been there.

And now he's very old and getting confused, a lot of the time he doesn't know what's going on, he says things that 'my Dad' would never say in a million years and then hasn't got a clue he's said them. He is unable to do anything round the house now, this in a man who taught dh everything he knows about DIY and handiwork. It absolutely breaks my heart to see him like this.

My Dad is still there a lot of the time, he says things that crack us all up laughing ("Grandad-isms" is what ds calls them), he tries really hard to still do things and be helpful, he gives me hugs that make me feel as if everything is
going to be alright.....but I know that really they're not and its so very hard to come to terms with.

I try to be strong and positive because I know my Dad as I know him has gone and I've got to get used to him as he is now, but it's so very hard. It almost feels like I'm grieving for the loss of my Dad. I'm in tears now writing this but it feels such a relief to get it out in the open as it were. My love for my dad is as strong as ever, but I don't always recognise him now. I feel as if I'm going a bit mad, but it so difficult to explain. I just wondered if anyone else had similar experiences and could give me a virtual hand to hold......

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