How can I approach the subject of dementia without Dad getting upset?

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Back history: My father is 65 years old. I know that isn't elderly by any means, but he has several health problems. He has macular degeneration, COPD, epilepsy, and a year ago he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, from which he is recovering, but has a stent in his throat.
I am his primary caretaker and POA. I take him to almost all of his appointments, as his macular degeneration took away the ability to drive years ago.

What's going on:
I think my father, while still young, my be suffering from dementia? I know it can be brought on by stress and he is under tons of stress.
Symptoms:
1. My father will forget things he needs to do. While I am both my parents primary caretaker, I do not live with them. He makes sure Mom has her meds and he has his meds in the morning. Ill come over and find it wasn't done.
2. He forgets things ALOT... Ill be talking to him and he wont remember what happened 20 minutes ago, or an hour ago, or yesterday...
3. He calls people by the wrong name. He refers to me as my daughter or my mother, he called my youngest son his nephews name (who is older then me) , he calls my mom "Mom" which he has never done before. He calls my brother my husbands, or sons name. He calls my husband my son's or brother's name...
The help I need:
My Dad is very sensitive. He gets upset for little reason. I am afraid if I approach the topic with him he will get upset at me. As well, I think if we are at one of his DR. appointments and I bring it up he will be upset. How do I do this? Any help?

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He *is* going to be upset. Accept that it will be, and prepare yourself for that time. It will help you in the long haul to let go of the worry about him being upset AT YOU.

Realize that his upset is not something you need to feel responsible for. You are not at fault here, a disease is. Even if he targets you first, remember his anger is at other things, not you. You may be the place his emotions get dumped, but it's not about you or something you did.

Start getting mentally ready for it by visualizing how you will stay calm, how you will not get pulled into the dismay. Visualize how you are going to protect yourself (on the inside) so you can get through it. Dad will need to lean on you for support in some fashion. Maybe learn some deep breathing exercises. Stress control will come in handy often, I promise.

As dementia progresses, you are potentially going to see him be upset a lot. That's what dementias do. They take away your emotional regulation. They take away your ability to be an adult who can keep it together under stress.

Everybody has their thing that brings them comfort. For me, it's information. Knowledge is power, so I will go do research until I feel better. I also use my anxiety control exercise I learned in a fear of flying course because it works like a dream. I also use a visulatization meditation of me inside a plastic bubble (like Bubble Boy), and mom is outside of it, having a tantrum, but I can't hear it and it's hard to see because the plastic is so thick. She's very out of focus and faint. I am safe inside the bubble. I can see everything inside the bubble very clearly, and will turn away from mom to face a window with a sunny, grassy space. The birds are chirping and it's beautiful. That's my anxiety meditation.
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Well, I talked to my Dad's doctor today. What I did, was I actually called my father's doctor, spoke to the nurse, who then transferred me to his doctor. She understood, and discussed my concerns about my father with me. She then set up an appointment for my father so she can talk to him about the concerns I have. She of course wants me to be present, so we can talk to him together. Hopefully, with my insight into his daily life, and her insight to his health, we can help him understand and not be upset with me.
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If I knew of a way to avoid upsetting people when giving bad news, or having to make tough decisions, I'd bottle it and sell it. And I'd be a zillionaire. If it turns out that your father does have some form of dementia/cognitive decline, then this never gets better. Your relationship with your father will change a lot, and I'm sorry, but you'll need to be the one who adjusts and adapts. No one is ever really prepared for this. Good luck with your family, and post again with how things are going.
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I don't think my father's eyesight is why he is confusing people's identities. He is not completely blind. He has macular degeneration. He has perphial vision. He calls my youngest son, 10 years old "Otter". "Otter" is the nick name of my cousin who is in his 50s...
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You say your father is blind, could that be why he's confusing people's identities? You could ask his doctor if the medications he's taking could have an adverse reaction on his short-term memory.
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I don't want to diagnose my Dad, I am not a doctor, nor do I want to be. I am extremely close with my father and he is a very proud man. If a approach him with this, he will see it as I am saying he is not the man he is. Not the tall, proud, secure, intelligent, and wonderful person that I grew up with. In his mind, I will be saying he is old and weak. He will get very defensive.

I am thinking, since I am his power of attorney, I will talk to his doctor my self. She is a very good doctor and doesn't try to hide things from me, as she knows I am his lifeline to everything, and his power of attorney. I know more about my parents medical history then they do, I think. Since my father is blind, I fill out 90% of all paperwork. The doctor trusts me. I am trusting that she will know what to do from there.
Thank you for your suggestions.
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He needs to be evaluated by a geriatric physician who can determine if it's dementia, what kind of dementia it is, or if it's something else entirely. He should be given his diagnosis by the doctor, not you. The doctor can lay the foundation for the 250 other conversations that will need to happen.

If this is one of the many dementias, there will be a great deal to plan for, and you should not expect to do it all yourself. Please check back in.
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Thank you. There home, while not horrible, it is not extremely clean either, and I usually clean it. Dad does do the dishes, but I am afraid that is all they generally do. Mom has never been much of a housekeeper, and Dad has always been a hoarder. Now don't think it is disgusting, because I go over there everyday and I make sure the garbage is taken out, dishes are put away, and it is vacuumed, and doggy taken care of. But it could y use some help.
However, those are good tips and I appreciate it. thanks
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Don't use the "D" word, try talking about memory loss, without defining it. Provide a detailed list of examples to the doctor ahead of time by fax or mail, or sneak a list to the front desk to give to the doctor before he sees dad. With all his health problems it would seem like an easy transition to talk about stress, depression and some of the symptoms related to that (hint, hint). Another way might be to try and be humorous, like you say to doc, we all should wear big name tags because with his eyesight he can't tell anyone apart because he's calling everyone by someone else's name. Obviously I'm not a comedy writer, but you could come up with something..Think ahead about what outcome you want. Is it home health help to watch the meds, transportation assistance, adult day care, some meds for dementia? What shape is their home in? Are you found all the cleaning, shopping, laundry, etc? Take advantage of the next doctor appointment to broach what they "may" need "at some time in the future". Don't think that you're going to be able to do it all yourself foen the line.
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One more thing to add. I have spoke to Mom about this. She agrees that my father may be suffering from something, but she isn't sure what to do either.
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