Caring for a mostly competent stubborn parent with memory impairment.

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Hi all! I've been living with my 65 year old Father for two years since he had a stroke focused on the short-term memory part of his brain. He has lived alone for a very long time and has pretty good memory when it comes to the basics. He can essentially care of himself... but he does have problems he doesn't want to admit, or he doesn't recognize he has. It seems like he is getting worse, but it's hard to tell, and here are some examples of what I mean.
Mixing up words but thinking he said what he meant has been something he's done on a few occasions before his stroke. Now it's happening more often. Either thinking he did a task, or lying that he did it (I've found evidence), admitting to nothing and making excuses about it. Sometimes I wonder if he remembers that he did the same task, but back a few months or more. I have always had a hard time conversing with him when we disagree on something, because he is reluctant to be open-minded and listen to my opinion without ridicule. I know for a fact he doesn't think of it as ridicule. This is partially why my mom said she divorced him.

He is also getting lazier by the day. I ask him what he would want to do, and surely he doesn't want to sit at the computer or watch TV all the time. It took a lot of talking in circles for him to get what I was trying to say without calling him the laziest person I've ever known. I mean, he builds piles of recyclables on the kitchen counter if allowed to. (I showed him where they go many times, and he knows) He insisted he likes to go outside on a sunny day, but he remembers asking us to go for a bike ride a year ago, me and my husband declining. This is the pattern of behavior I've witnessed. Picking things out in the past that are an excuse for his laziness, or our neglect. I've had it and raised my voice a few times when he tries to pull an excuse out of something he completely made-up, most of the time at our expense. I just don't know if it will stick or fade from his memory until next time.

I am now accepting that I am his caregiver and will not be able to afford to hire one. Nobody in his family talks to him and my brother is on active duty for two more years. I am 25 years old and trying to make my career work while playing the roles of maid, financial supervisor and chef. My husband is not interacting with him if he can help it but supports what I do for him. Living with him has its financial benefits for us too, but the house we live in needs major repairs. We have finished about 1/4 of what needs to be done since we moved in, which is a lot. Very frustrating!

SO, any advice, related stories, etc are greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Memory impairment can be a component of dementia. Strokes can cause dementia. Dementia gets worse over time. So it is possible that Dad is experiencing the beginning stage of dementia.

It is also possible that he is behaving as he has always behaved (and in a way that drove your mother away) and you see it as an adult up close and personal.

My advice is to have Dad get a thorough physical exam. Send the doctor a note beforehand explaining your concerns.

If this situation is advantageous to you financially and your husband is supportive, I suggest that you and your husband both join a caregivers' support group. I suggest that you also read up on memory impairment and dementia so you have a better idea of what to expect.
How do I find a locale Care Group in my Area?
I would start your local Area Agency on Aging or the Alzheimer's Association.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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