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Finding it difficult coping with dad.

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Just need a tiny rant.

My dad was widowed 16 years ago and has never really got over it despite councelling. My mum who was a controlling woman I think kept the terminals side of her cancer from him and this has eaten away at him. He seems angry that I knew and despite trying to prepare him he was in denial.

He lives in East Midlands alone - good neighbours and my mums sister and husband see him regularly. He manages fairly well - house isnt as clean as could be, cooks basic meals and still drives. He comes down about every 6 weeks to see us.

He has mild vascular dementia, and is on blood pressure and antidepressants. Despite all this he has always been very manipulative and difficult. I took power of atorney after last stroke with great difficulty - he doesnt trust me or my husband at all (I'm an only child) and got very nasty when I advised him not to drive after last mini stroke till he;d seen his consultant.

Having observed him with others - i can see that all his venom and bile is directed at me - other people deny seeing the signs and my aunt doesnt seen to see the signs which are all there.

The conversation with him last night has played on my mind all day - hes bitter racist and nasty and I have to say its a chore now rather than a joy seeing him. People comment that I dont go up often and I selfishly say I cant cope with it.

 

I mourn the man I idolised as a little girl.

I go on talking point a dementia chat room which offers support etc.

I know lots of you have parents and in laws with this disease. My husband is supportive and says we;ll deal with things as they happen. I know I should just get on with things - but like a cow I ruminate over things. :shock:

I promised my mum I'd look after him but am finding it hard.

Thanks for listening.

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Thanks Daphane - and hugs back - dont really want advice - prob just someone to say - been there etc. I have patients much worse off caring for loved ones in various stages but you can only support them cant say yes I have a bit of insight into what you are going thro.

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No advice i'm afraid just wanted to say I feel for you.

 

You are his closest relative and as such you are the only person he can really take out his anger on, sadly if the other relatives acknowledge there is a problem they might have to get involved so they won't want to see it. Do what you can for him but keep sufficient distance to maintain your sanity. You can't change him or what he says all you can do is change your response to it and it's very difficult to do that. Your husband sounds very sensible :)

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I think it is very hard being an only child (I am one too). Even though you will have seen how parents can be particularly hard on their nearest relatives it is so hard when it happens to you. You are doing the best you can in a difficult situation. I know you do not want advice as such but with regards his driving has he had a "stroke drivers assessment " to check if he is still ok to drive. Also he should have told the DVLA and his insurance company of his dementia and stroke (I used to be involved with this in my work). I occasionally found that people had forgotten to renew their driving license and were driving without one :shock: However I reckon in your position he would not take it kindly if you mentioned any of this to him.

You know you are doing the best and that his illness has probably altered the dad you knew. It is great that your OH is supportive and I am sure this will be vital for your wellbeing in the future. Sending hugs.

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I am an only child too and have this to look forward too, I have never been particularly close to my parents, they cut all contact with my grandad when I was about 18. He is now 92 and I live closer to him than I do them and see him once a month, he is getting a little confused and is very deaf so it is hard to really make a conection with him which we both find frustrating. I feel that I will be reluctant to help out when my parents become infirm because they cast my grandad adrift, he lives with one of his other sons fortunately and my aunty (wife of other son) also sees him regularly.

 

Families are so hard to deal with, I feel for you, feel free to rant whenever you feel the need. (((hugs)))

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Just acknowledging how difficult your situation is.

 

I too am an only child and found my totally lovely Dad's final illness very hard to deal with. My only advice...just love him a bit every day...that's all you can do...and what you will remember when he's gone... sending hugs (and forebearance through the airwaves if possible) xx

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Can't offer any 'been there' words of advice, just wanted to add my support as this must be so hard on you. I agree with everything that has been said so far and in particular with what Patricia has added about other relatives.

 

You may find it hard to not dwell on what he says to you, it is natural but you are there for him. I am not sure everyone would be able to do what you are doing in such circumstances, me included.

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You have my every sympathy. My Dad had dementia associated with Parkinsons and it fell on me to look out for him after my Mum died (my sister lived over 4 hours away and I was only an hour). We moved Dad to be near us and I can honestly say it was a nightmare.

 

I don't know if this is true in all dementia but my Dad's seemed to enhance his character flaws. He had always been pretty self centred (moving from a mother who worshipped him to my Mum who looked after his every need) but this just became exaggerated with the dementia. I would go and see him every lunchtime as his bungalow was near my office but this wasn't enough. He would phone 3 or 4 times a night and it got to the stage where I dreaded the phone ringing. He accused me of trying to poison him when his medication changed and the tablets were a different colour - I know this was due to the Parkinsons though as one of the side effects is paranoia.

 

The only advice I can give is try not to take it personally. I know that my Dad loved me and that he didn't actually mean any of the things he was saying - it was just his illness talking. It is really really hard but try to take it on the chin if you can as I am sure you have flashes of the Dad you used to know.

 

As to the driving my Dad had a letter from the DVLA cancelling his licence after being told by the doctor that he should not be driving. This is something that I could never never have tackled with him as he would not have accepted that he shouldn't drive. He was absolutely horrified and was all set to appeal to the DVLA (he had Parkinson's, dementia and a replacement knee that was unsuccessful so there was no hope). Until the day he died he always thought that he was treated unfairly by the DVLA so I can easily see how your Dad flared up when you broached the subject. This is something that the Doctor should pick up on - don't know if you are able to speak to the GP?. It is much better not coming from you.

 

My Dad only lived for a year after my Mum died - he was only 73. I was absolutely devastated when my Mum died as it was very sudden and she was as bright as she had always been. My feeling when my Dad died was largely one of relief as his life was horrible and he was a shadow of what he had been. I think I had been grieving for him while watching his decline.

 

Please don't feel guilty not coping and not wanting to see him. If he is managing and being well cared for you don't need to make yourself ill as well. It is so mentally exhausting dealing with someone with dementia.

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Just wanted to offer some support, I've been there with my Dad who like an earlier poster's parent, had dementia with Parkinson's. It's awful, just awful, and believe me, no matter how much you do, you will never feel it is enough, there is always that thought that you could/should do more. My Mum is now on her own and struggles to cope, Dad died two years ago and she still mourns him terribly. I think your husband is right, you need to cross each bridge as you come to it, it really isn't something you can plan for.

I think it's also important to remember that NONE of it is your fault (that might seem a strange thing to say, but there will be times when you will blame yourself needlessly). In all of this, don't forget it's vital to take care of yourself too!!!

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It must be really really hard :( My Dad also has Parkinson's, has for thirty years, and thankfully although he has lost some capacity,it's in a very benign way. It's hard enough that my Dad isn't completely there any more, without the kind of agression and spite that you describe :( Try not to feel guilty about not seeing him - you sound like you're doing a brilliant job.

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