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Old 06-28-2012, 11:46 AM
 
224 posts, read 725,087 times
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I'm trying to figure out if my dad has dementia or another mental illness. He is 74 and worked around toxic and radioactive chemicals so many others from that facility have a host of medical problems but mostly lung cancer and Parkinsons. Dad is getting really forgetful on somethings, but then other things you can tell him and he remembers it better than anyone. See its confusing because dad has also seemed for years to have Attention Deficit Disorder and possibly even Aspergers as he doesn't seem to listen if he is not interested or if the tv is on and the next time you discuss something with him he will sometimes have no clue what you are talking about. He also has Aspergers tendencies where he acts inappropriately and has the same quirkiness as Aspies plus has issues with refusing to eat but just a small selection of foods, gets nauseated if cold air blows on him in winter and doesn't like lotion on his skin because he can't stand the sensation of it.

Lately he is telling family stories that did not happen to him. For instance he was away at work when my mom and I were at home during a tornado when I was a small child yet he now tells of this story to others as if he was there with us and he wasn't. Not that it matters, but why is he speaking like this. Yet other things that happened when I was an older child and he was there he has no memory of if I ask him hey do you remember this when I ask him about a strange thing we all observed years ago. Another thing is his mother had this series of weird things she would do like repeatedly stroke the back of her hair in a certain pattern, swing her foot like wild when it was crossed over her other leg and repeatedly yawn in a very loud way as if to get attention about every 5 minutes. Since she died my dad has taken on all of these same behaviors. Its as if she possessed him though I don't really believe that. Its just like he has become her in just the past few years since she died. She also used to stand on the porch and screech the exact same words every time I went with dad to visit her and now dad has taken to doing the same thing when I go to visit him now that he is elderly. He even screeches in the same way and sounds like an old woman. I kinda thought that was Aspergers as they will often find someone they think is a good role model and will emulate their every word and action. Since my father had no father in his life his mother was his only role model. The rubbing of his back of his hair like she did, the leg swaying and yawning which seems to have to be done in a specific order after specific events and within a specific amount of time I've thought is either OCD or Tourette's. He has always worn the same sweatpants and t-shirt whenever he is sitting at home every single day and will sometimes go weeks without washing it and refuses to buy more than one pair of sweatpants and for over 30 years he has refused to wear but one color which suggests Aspergers but its gotten worse till he now has pee stains on the front of these light colored sweatpants which is embarrassing because he greets the neighbors this way and they all see the stains. His one pair of jeans he wears outdoors is stained like this too. So its obvious he has a whole lot of problems going on of some kind and his younger wife is not doing anything about it so I am the only other family member he has since I am the only child. I don't know what to do for him and also its miserable to visit with him because he demands constant visits but then drives me crazy hearing him yawn 48 times in 2 hours and repeatively stroking the back of his hair like my deceased grandmother so it gives me the creepers in a way.
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Old 06-28-2012, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,233 posts, read 18,815,911 times
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I would suggest strongly that he has a battery of tests with a neurocognitive psychologist. They will be able to determine if he has started to develop dementia or other brain damage. This is also valuable as there may be a way to change the decline. It may also be helpful for your father and his wife to hear something from an outside objective person. Usually the psychologists will recommend blood work and possibly other tests to help determine the cause of the decline.

If there aren't any specialists nearby I would at least contact his doctor. Although, due to HIPA (?) laws the doctor can't tell you things about your dad, they can listen to your concerns. That would be very helpful during his next visit. I would try to set up an appointment where you , and his wife, go along with your dad. That way you can correct any misinformation that he tells the doctor.

Even if he has Aspergers his new wife should not be allowing him to be embarrased in front of the neighbors with pee stained pants. Even if he puts up a fuss his pants need to be washed and changed to a new pair on a regular basis. Perhaps you can help with this as well. If the pee stained pants are something new it may be related to other health problems.

Also, constant yawning can indicate illness or the need of a medication change.

Good luck with this difficult situation.
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Old 06-30-2012, 03:07 PM
 
13,049 posts, read 16,087,687 times
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I don't know...I'm thinking if he's still managing well enough on his own...let him be...so what if he can't remember straight....I forget things already and he's got 20 years on me..(sometimes I yawn a lot too)...why care if he likes wearing the same clothes...lots of young people do too.......can't you just enjoy his company the way he is?...I mean if you find it that "miserable" to visit him...why do you??...Why don't you just let him and his wife be?
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:01 PM
 
224 posts, read 725,087 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purehuman View Post
I don't know...I'm thinking if he's still managing well enough on his own...let him be...so what if he can't remember straight....I forget things already and he's got 20 years on me..(sometimes I yawn a lot too)...why care if he likes wearing the same clothes...lots of young people do too.......can't you just enjoy his company the way he is?...I mean if you find it that "miserable" to visit him...why do you??...Why don't you just let him and his wife be?
Because he cried and begged me to move 2000 miles back home to be near him and begs me to see him several times a week is why I visit him. I am his only child, he has never had any friends, has no family other than a half-sister and an autistic half-brother in another town who don't call him but once every six months. His wife doesn't take care of him and they fight and she is mean and mentally ill schizophrenic. She is always either at work or shopping so she is never home with him. I don't think you understand the yawning thing he yawns kinda how a lion roars for about 30 seconds each time as if to make a big to-do about it every time. After 40 times of hearing this its irritating. I don't know if you have ever been around people with Tourette's but they will make the same sound over and over again which drives people insane. With the dementia I worry about him because he goes out driving alone and he doesn't understand some right from wrong things anymore. Sometimes he gets spacey. His wife told me twice he had driven in the wrong lane when she was riding with him.
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Old 06-30-2012, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Next stop Antarctica
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You really need to seek medical advise on his condition. You will not be able to cope with all this alone, people with dementia often wander off and get lost. He needs help.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:03 PM
 
Location: WA
606 posts, read 577,721 times
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Suggestion: List on the symptons, one by one, clearly and show the list to your Dad's physican. Tell the physican
you are concerned about your Dad and hand him the list. The physican can do tests to determine if there is a problem. From the physician's diagnosis, you might also contact the mental health community. They are very helpful; if you
Dad does have dementia, they might suggest a support group for you.

His wife, may be in denial about the man she married and/or doesn't know how to cope with your Dad's illness. Make suggestions, KINDLY. It's difficult to accept someone you love, the changes/illness in a loved one.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:13 PM
 
4,948 posts, read 16,888,751 times
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someone needs to have him evaluated by a doctor for health promblems if any.
I also hope he has a health care proxy which he will need if he is not able to make health
decisions. If he is married I would try to work at first with the wife and see what you can get done.
You both need to get all this taken care of now,
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Old 07-02-2012, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Upstate NY!
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My dad has Parkinson's dementia. He's 86. While the long term memory seems quite good. The short term can be fuzzy...but nothing like unreal stories of things that have not happened. It does sound different from your experience.

He does seem to hallucinate when hospitalized, but I suspect that is more from not sleeping than anything else. He refuses to get sleep in a hospital, my guess being that he fears he will never wake up.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,423 posts, read 22,649,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfkIII View Post
My dad has Parkinson's dementia. He's 86. While the long term memory seems quite good. The short term can be fuzzy...but nothing like unreal stories of things that have not happened. It does sound different from your experience.

He does seem to hallucinate when hospitalized, but I suspect that is more from not sleeping than anything else. He refuses to get sleep in a hospital, my guess being that he fears he will never wake up.
You should have your dad checked for a disease called Lewy Body Disease. Many people have it and it is misdiagonsed. It is a combination of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. A truly awful disease. My dad is in stage 4 and it is heartbreaking.

To the OP unfortunately it is time for you to become the parent in this situation. It was similar for me, stepping in and having to make the hard decisions because non one else wanted to. Your dad needs to see a doctor and get diagnosed. The sooner the better so you can start him on a course of steps. It may be time for him to move into an assisted living facility.
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Old 07-05-2012, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
18,233 posts, read 18,815,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wembley View Post
Because he cried and begged me to move 2000 miles back home to be near him and begs me to see him several times a week is why I visit him. I am his only child, he has never had any friends, has no family other than a half-sister and an autistic half-brother in another town who don't call him but once every six months. His wife doesn't take care of him and they fight and she is mean and mentally ill schizophrenic. She is always either at work or shopping so she is never home with him. I don't think you understand the yawning thing he yawns kinda how a lion roars for about 30 seconds each time as if to make a big to-do about it every time. After 40 times of hearing this its irritating. I don't know if you have ever been around people with Tourette's but they will make the same sound over and over again which drives people insane. With the dementia I worry about him because he goes out driving alone and he doesn't understand some right from wrong things anymore. Sometimes he gets spacey. His wife told me twice he had driven in the wrong lane when she was riding with him.
Please get medical help. When driving gets this bad your dad could be a real danger on the road. In my town few years ago an elderly driver going the wrong way on the freeway hit a car head-on killing an entire family. Somehow he was only slightly injured. He went to jail for vehicular manslaughter. I believe that his sentence was for 10 years. The family of the elderly driver (I think he was 83) said that they knew that he had some trouble driving but since "he refused to stop driving" they didn't want to get him upset or make a big deal about it. I'm sure that the dead Mom, Dad and three children (and all of their extended family and friends) would have greatly wished that his family had done more checking on their dad's driving ability and had "made a big deal about it".

There are private agencies that assess elderly drivers if you don't want to report him to the DMV to have a driver's test.

Last edited by germaine2626; 07-05-2012 at 03:03 PM..
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