Avatar universal


Hello! My Dad is 79 and is starting to show signs of Alzheimer's. Examples include: cellphone in the microwave, forgetting names/ events, driving over curbs in the parking lot, constantly losing keys, phone, tools, etc.., dates (even today's). I can't even remember all the issues, he lives 20 minutes away. So these are just things I noticed when visiting. This all started within the last 8 months or so. My question is how can I best prepare for what I know is coming? Especially since I don't/ can't live there. Thanks!
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Avatar universal
Take him to the doctor.

It may be something medical that can be resolved - like thyroid, vitamins or diet. The doctor will have to be asked about the driving license.

If not, he will need 24 hour care. Make sure his legal papers are all in order (medical power of attorney, will, power of attorney). If you are an only child, it falls on you, if you have siblings and you don't all agree exactly, then it gets messy.

You have to decide if you are going to do in-home care, or going to put him in a home. Both entail a lot of work as you have to do research.  There are pros and cons to both, and you have to weigh what works in your case and who else is in the home.

Some things to consider about home care: make sure you have good care givers, cover 24 hours, you have to convert the home to make it *child proof*, you may need special equipment like beds, O2 etc., holidays we found to be an issue as caregivers wanted off too, keeping to a rigid schedule as it helps the person harder at home, all doc appts have to be arranged with transport or extra help, people often want to stay home as they feel more comfortable there and less of a transition.

If you decide on a home: make sure you visit at different times and see how clean it is, see how the patients are dressed and how the hair is done and how the place smells. Schedule easy for person helps them improve, docs can visit at home but you have limited choice of doc unless you take them out, all equipment and therapy can be done there.

Sadly, if he has it, dementia is a progressive disease and he may linger or go fast. You have to be up on the laws (it is all a legal, medical mosh) so that you make the right decisions at the right time.

The Alz society can help you as well to get you started.
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Avatar universal
Thanks for all the good info! Taking him to a Doctor is going to be WWIII! Also trying to stop him from driving. Of course he doesn't think it's a big deal "just part of getting old".

Luckily he has 5 brothers and sisters that are married and live in the same community.

I did just join the Alz Society. I know that Alzheimer's is a form of Dementia and he could get worse fast! That's why I'm trying to get my ducks in a row now!

Thanks again!  JD1963
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Avatar universal
We had the same issue with driving. In the end, he decided to drive, said he took one wrong right turn, he ended up really far away from home (and several left turns!) and he could not tell the police where he lived, how to contact us and removed his hearing aid (nice!) so by the time the police tracked us down it was 8 hours later and hey, they filled out a form and had his license revoked shortly after...we are so lucky he did not harm himself or anyone else.

It was bad, and he was paranoid and felt the doctor did it (part of the form had to be completed by a doctor IF he wanted to contest it but we finally convinced him it was time) so it all depends on personality and progression. My MIL was so sweet, no so my FIL.

There can be so many simple reasons like oxygen and vitamins - that really staying up on his health with even some simple stuff can help.

For my FIL, it was not until he was in a home, oddly, that he started to do much much better as he was not as dehydrated (we could not get him to drink at home!), had exercise, ate more and more often, and had more doctor supervision with a specialist so he got on other meds that helped him - simple things like thyroid. He did better in a regimented environment, eating and sleeping on time (sundowning is horrid!). He had lost so much weight and finally was gaining and looking better, and being a bit more cognizant.

At home he did well weekdays, but on weekends he did not adjust to the change on weekends, and often called 9-1-1 on the caregivers for random things like food, bathing, waking him up. So much so that the police were going to charge him a large amount per visit so we had no choice after a while to find him a good place. Also all his caregivers quit. His paranoia kept us from taking him into our home (he thought we were stealing money from a closed bank account) and I am disabled. I spent a lot of time with him in the home though.
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Avatar universal

I sounds like he has "progressed" farther than my Dad. I feel it is only a matter of time though.

There is someone to watch him at home, but he loves to go places. He hasn't been lost yet, he just forgets things like his seatbelt, turn signal, parking lot parking markers (you know those cement thingees), etc.. I really think it would take the DOT to keep him off the road!

Thanks again - Have a Great Day!  JD1963

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Avatar universal
My FIL passed along last year. He ended up getting lung cancer so it was not the dementia (which is also a terminal disease) that took him first.

Even from what you are describing, it sounds like his driving, sadly, is a hazard to others or himself and he could hit someone and cause damage to a car or person. We had the same issue with my FIL and thankfully his event to remove his license did not involve damage to another.

It is just not easy to have the conversation when the person is rational, it is even worse when the person cannot process things ... correctly for lack of better term.
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