Re: my dad's grief over losing a spouse, or beginning dementia?

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Joined:
2003/4/26
From: Dallas
Posts: 262
Hi, Rona:

I just wanted to take the time to respond. I think Eel was very affirming of you. That is what I want to communicate to you as well.

But first, I guess I want to share some information with you that I hope will be of help. There's no way that anyone can make a diagnosis of your Dad's condition without seeing him: Indeed, even with great specialists, the nature of a dementia is not 100% certain (Barb - my better half can correct me if she wants, and she would be right). Nonetheless, as you have described things, it's worth suspecting that a memory disorder might be affecting your Dad: The wide behavior swings, the aggressive stance, the suspicions. Often, one spouse is the normal one, and prevents the other spouses erratic behavior from being so obvious. When the more balanced spouse dies, the remaining one's mental illness is much more obvious and much worse. This doesn't even take into consideration the impact of bereavement on a spouse, a factor that has the potential to absolutely drive a surviving spouse into significant neurological and cardiovascular changes. So, your concerns on that count are completely justified. In your visits to your Dad, it's probably worth being aware of your presence and safety.

As to your experience of grief while trying to care for your Dad, I cannot imagine the isolation, self-doubt, sorrow and judgement that I imagine you feel. On one hand, due to the care you are fostering on your father, as well as your day to day life, there has been no time to do self-care. So, it seems to me that the first order of business is for you to be kind to yourself, gentle, and invite yourself to be mindful about the realities of the situation: There's not a lot of support at the moment; You haven't had time to grieve your Mom's loss; for whatever reason, quite possibly serious illness, you cannot have a meaningful relationship with him.

Second, I would encourage you to arrange some kind of evaluation for your Dad (With a qualified specialist, quite possibly a teaching hospital like UT Southwestern). If he is unwilling to allow you to do this process - and, as I suspect, his home conditions are not conducive, then for his safety - you may have to call Adult Protective Services. Given what I imagine is his mental state, he won't be able to appreciate your motives anyway. And, perhaps, with some help, he'll come to a better place to appreciate what you've attempted to do for him, and your Mom.

Those are my guesses any way.

Lot's of prayers and good wishes.

Mike and Barb
Founders, ElderHope, LLC


Posted on 2012/6/9 1:54




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