Father Has Dementia. Father has stroke related dementia. I didn’t know that strokes could cause dementia. I’ve always related the symptoms to stroke as half paralysis but not dementia. I didn’t know it at the time but stroke can cause dementia. Cognitive decline related to stroke is usually called vascular dementia or vascular cognitive impairment to distinguish it from other types of dementia
It is hard to lose Father to dementia. Losing anyone you love is never easy. Losing someone you love slowly is never easy. Father has his good days. Some days its like having Father back again. Some days we get to see Father’s Old Self.
This lens is for my Father. Father’s Day is approaching, however, I don’t think gifts hold any more meaning to Father. In a way, this lens is sort of a gift to Father, a tribute to my father.
About Father – Before The Dementia
In his younger days, father had to look after 5 kids aged from 10 to 18 and a wife stricken with cancer who later moved on
Mother died when she was 46. I was 10. Father became a mother and father to the 5 of us. I was the youngest. The eldest was 18. Father was a policeman and the eldest son in his family. He was strict, strong and many were afraid of him. He was also a neat man.
Mother had cancer. She lived for a year from diagnosis till the time she left us. At the time, we were rather poor. There were no good hospitals where we lived. Father had to travel for 6 hours to get to a hospital. Sometimes he had to travel up and down, looking after us as well as mom.
When mom died, Father became both a mother and father to us all. He never remarried. He looked after the five of us single handedly and worked through till his retirement while making sure we had shelter and education.
IT IS OUR TURN TO LOOK AFTER YOU NOW FATHER.
When Father Started Having Dementia, These Were His Symptoms – Dementia turned my father from a strong personality to a meek and docile one
We didn’t know whether father was having Dementia or Alzheimer’s Decease. Here is a good read about The Difference Between Dementia And Alzeimer’s. In short, it is mentioned in the article that “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia and that is the main difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s”.
These are some of the signs and symptoms of dementia that father had.
- He started to become forgetful. Sometimes he would leave the tap running and not know it.
- His personal hygiene became lost. Father was an extremely neat and tidy person but dementia took that away from him.
- He refused to take a bath. I don’t know why. I would ask him and sometimes he said the water is too cold. Sometimes he said he was afraid of falling. Whatever it is, he refused to take a bath. It took hours, sometimes days to persuade him. Sometimes he would get angry.
- He started having repetitive behaviour. Sometimes he would take rolls and rolls of tissue and roll them up into a ball over and over again.
- His personality changed. From a strong, proud man, he now became a meek, docile person.
- He started having incontinence. He couldn’t make it to the toilet on time. Sometimes, he did make it to the toilet but he didn’t know what to do next. He would look at me and ask for direction on what to do next.
- Sometimes he could not recognize us.
- He started to have delusions and hallucinations. Sometimes he talked to someone who was not there. Some days he talked about war other things. Those things were very real to him. At those times, we have learned that the best way is to agree with him. Just smile and nod our heads and listen.
- Time started to have no meaning for him
- I think due to some of the medication he was taking, he would have what we call “awakenings” where he would be just like his old self, alert and exactly like the way he used to be. On those days, he would not be able to sleep for 24 hours or more. He would be most agitated and excited. He would read the papers from cover to cover and call any one of us up in the early hours of the morning or night. After these episodes, he would sleep for 2 to 3 days as if his brain was exhausted after all the activity.
Losing Someone To Dementia Is Like Losing Them Slowly, Painfully, Slowly and Surely
It is hard to make the transition from being a child to becoming a parent to your parents
I will not forget the first time I had to help father take a bath. I felt very sorry for him. Sorry that he had to lose his dignity like that.
My Father has been through a lot. He has had another stroke. He had to feed from feeding tubes. He had a colostomy surgery and is now on wheelchair. He needs help to get up and about.
Strangely the second stroke, though disabling him, seemed to have improved his dementia a little bit. These days he is more alert and can recognize us most of the time. That is the most important thing to us. This ability to recognize the ones you love. When he sees us, he usually has a big smile when he is alert. We touch him a lot.
Touch is important in human communication. It is important to look him in the eye and stroke his hand when talking to him otherwise, he does not realize that we are talking to him especially if we are sitting beside him and not in front of him. We must look at him directly in the eye and touch him. When he has delusions, we just listen and smile and sometimes agree before we divert his attention away.