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My father-in law (87) seems to be overwhelmed easily these days, seems unable to focus on simple tasks and is more frequently absentminded and forgetful. However he can still follow and participate in fairly complex discussions about politics and economics. He is nearly completely deaf but can lip read. He is unsteady on his feet and small tasks like making toast seem almost too much for him. All of the children have been taking turns being at the house since his wife died a month ago. He wants to continue to live independently and drive but we don't know what to make of this foggy behavior. I must also mention that I noticed it last winter, well before his wife became ill. We really are at a loss as to how to begin to evaluate the situation.

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I would line up a doctor's visit. There could be many reversible causes for his symptons you have discussed. Depression, medication interactions with each other, dehydration, Vitamin B-12 deficiency, thryoid issues, urinary tract infection and many others. Work on getting him into his doctor to learn more. Wishing you strength, courage and happiness.
Deanna
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I doubt that you can evaluate it, but it sounds like a professional evaluation is in order. Can you call his doctor, explain your concern, and ask for a referral for a geriatric evaluation? His doctor may not be able to talk to you about your FIL unless FIL has authorized it, but he can listen andgive you general advise.

One thing that can cause a wide variety of cognitive and emotional symptoms is a UTI, but considering how long ago you noticed this that seems unlikely to me. (I am not a health care professional, so take that for what it is worth.)

It may be that FIL can continue to live independently, perhaps with some help such as delivered meals, a homemaker service, a visiting nurse. But driving seems more questionable. You'll all feel better and can begin planning for the future once you have a clearer picture of what is going on. FIL is lucky to have caring relatives to advocate for him.
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I hope you will contact his doctor, but do you think he could just be depressed and in shock after the death of his wife? My mom displayed many of the behaviors you are mentioning after my father died. They had been married for 63 years, and she had to reach a point where she realized she had to create a life for herself. I know you had noticed some of these behaviors prior to his wife's death. Hearing loss might have caused some of the behaviors, too. I hope things get better soon. Rebecca
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I have a friend that gets really low on vitamin B and vitamin D that causes her to be dizzy, lightheaded, forgetful, unable to concentrate etc. I don't know if your father-in-law has ever been checked for that.
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