My Dad has not been diagnosed yet, but it's becoming obvious that he has some sort of dementia. Any advice?

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Mom died 7 months ago, I'm an only child. Dad had a massive heart attack during a catheterization, he is 86, it was my decision for them to operate......had triple bypass. We left CT where our kids & grandkids live....'very close to where we lived in a rented condo to move in with Daddy (getting rid of most of our 38 years worth of belongings. His doctors said he could no longer live alone. We knew he wanted to stay at home......he even asked me for us to live with him in Florida. So her we are witnessing what our adult kids have been telling us for the past few years. They could not handle being around my parents for more than 4 or 5 days........neither could we, but I guess were blind to Daddy's worsening symptoms. We New Mom had Alzheimer's because she told me & not tell Daddy until after her death. He was blind to her angry outbursts, etc. Maybe that's why we were blind to Daddy's worsening problems. I have fibromyalgia, asthma, both made worse with stress along with other health problems. My husband is unemployed now & looking. We are just at a loss as to handle this. I sort off tried to talk with him about it because he made me promise to tell him if he was showing any signs of dementia. I tried to get him to at least go to the doctor to talk about it & he just got angry. If he has Alzheimer's, he had said he would want the medicine that might help. We try not to set off his anger issues and try to have him do things he enjoys, like golf and playing cards with his friends, but that just makes him over tired and triggers his dementia symptoms. He doesn't sleep well some nights and takes occasional naps. My hubby, Mike, and I are new to handling this situation and our main goal is to make the rest of his life a happy, good life, like he did for Mommy for so many years. He deserves it. But how can we help him?

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All good advice above. I'm going to add a concrete suggestion. You say he's having trouble sleeping? I'd say, gee dad, not getting enough sleep must be hard. I know it makes me nuts when I don't get a full night's sleep. Let's go see (geriatric doc) and see if there is something simple they can prescribe to help with that. Find a geriatric specialist or even a geriatric psychiatrist through a nearby teaching hospital or through a referral from his cardiologist. Also, often patients are often put on antidepressant therapy post open heart surgery. Something to consider if not already.
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You have recieved excellent advice from people who have gone before so I won't repeat. What I would like to stress is that you look beyond your current position and decide what you are going to do after your Dad passes. You have given up practically everything you owned so unless dad is independantly wealthy when he goes to a nursing home and needs Medicaid all his assets will be seized down to the blankets on the beds. What are you going to do then? Apart from the dementia dad has already had a life threatening illness plus he is 85 and recently lost his wife. all very stress inducing events. Your health is also not the best and flares of fibromyalgia are exacerbated by stressful events. Can you deal with a man who is hurling obscenities at you when you can barely lift your head off the pillow. Your own support system is way up in CT. Your husband can not take care of you when you are sick, plus your father who also may become violent.
The number one rule of caregiving is first take care of yourself. Remember the airline rule - the mother first puts the oxygen mask on her self and then the children. There are many kind knowledgeable and experienced people here who are ready to help and encourage you but they do not sugar coat the things they see so you may not always like the comments but look beyond that and take what you need. Remember also there is no stupid question. so if you need an answer please don;t hold back. We also try and find some humor in our daily lives and try to lift each others spirits.
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Oh boy, both of your illnesses are associated with the sympathetic nervous system and aggravated by stress. This situation is the worst possible one for you to be in. I'm so sorry!

It is possible that your dad has post-anesthetic delirium.
http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2012/07/post-op-delirium
Google that and you will be able to tell if that is what is going on or if he truly has full on dementia/Alzheimer's. Fortunately, if so, your dad is still in the earlier stages, but it's going to get worse, much, much worse and you are going to have to have help. Please google "Understanding the Dementia Experience" by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller and read the entire document. It's going to be painful to read, but it will clue you into what you will be faced with. I don't think that it is realistic for you to expect to care for your father at home UNLESS he is well-off and has the financial resources to hire 24x7 caregivers for him, because that is what he's going to need. I mean, really, are you and your husband going to take 12 hour shifts to watch your dad and stay up all night in order to manage him? Also, quit trying to discuss your father's care with him. He has dementia. He is irrational and more importantly, like most dementia patients, he has agnosognosia - the complete inability to recognize anything is wrong with him. Trying to talk to him about his illness is about as productive as trying to explain to the mailbox that it hurt your finger when you slammed it's lid on it. You are going to need both medical and financial POA's for your dad and if you don't have that, you need to get guardianship. If you don't have these documents, you need to get to an eldercare attorney immediately and get these documents drawn up. If your dad doesn't have much money, you are going to need to sell his assets, including his home, his car and all valuables and spend down all proceeds until he can go on Medicaid. Don't think of him giving you gifts as there is a 5 year look back period. You need to move to your own place, realistically.

website: nydailynews/new-york/money-pros-understanding-medicaid-planning-five-year-look-back-rules-article-1.1464721

I also want to recommend that you get some books on eldercare. There are many available on Amazon such as:
"Eldercare for Dummies"
"How to Care for Aging Parents"
"The Eldercare Handbook: Difficult Choices, Compassionate Solutions"

Finally, I believe this book may be of great assistance to you:

"Elder Rage, or Take my Father, Please! How to survive caring for aging parents."

Well, I really feel for you. I'm sure you are in the same situation I was in back in 2011 when my mom had just been diagnosed. I had no idea what all I was going to be faced with. It is horrible and I'm lucky because my parents have the finances to afford in-home care, housekeepers, lawn people and such. If your dad can't afford all that, then you seriously need to think about applying for medicaid NOW and placement in the not-too-distant future. If it is any consolation, in the future, your dad is not going to recognize his own home anyway. My mom has lived in her house since 1975 and has been demanding to be taken "home" for over a year now. She's late stage 6, early stage 7 - she wanted to go to her childhood home. But, of course, that's quite impossible. Now she is losing her ability to speak and is becoming incontinent and soon after that, from what I understand she will lose the ability to walk. So, she is coming to the end of her journey probably within 2 years at most. Meanwhile, my dad is acting like your dad - my dad has post-anesthesia delirium and "elder rage." I never dreamed I'd be faced with a mess like this, but it is what it is.
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Mom died 7 months ago. Dad is still grieving. Give him time. Don't push for any actions right away.

Dad said, in the past, that he would want to know if he shows sign of dementia and that he would take medications. Don't give up on having him evaluated, but just don't push it quite yet.

Is Dad's primary care doctor a geriatrician? If not, finding such a doctor for him would be a good start. Just as children benefit from seeing a pediatrician, elders can benefit from a doctor focused on the issues of again. Caregivers often neglect their own health while taking care of a loved one. That is enough reason to encourage Dad to see the appropriate kind of doctor and to have a general physical.

I am worried about you, and the stress levels involved in caring for your father. The first rule for you to understand is that you absolutely CANNOT be the 24/7/365 primary caregiver without lots of breaks and respite. That is not something to look into when you are on the verge of burnout, it is important to plan for that right from the very start. You need some time alone. You need some time alone with your husband. Dad can't live alone. But you cannot be with him every minute of every day.

One thing to look into is Adult Day Health Programs.

Good luck to you all.
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smartgrandma, you can help by being there, but he needs a doctor to help him with the physical side of aging and dementia (if he has it). One thing you can do right away, if you haven't already, is to do his final directives and will. He will probably want to make you the POA for both finances and healthcare if he should need help in the future. Unless he is deemed incompetent, you won't be able to force him to see a doctor. However, you can encourage him to see one. A good choice would be a geriatric specialist. They are trained in picking out the signs of dementia. See if you can locate a good one in your area and be ready to call when your father gives you an opening.

It sounds like you're doing what you can at the moment. Dealing with elder parents can make us feel that we need to be doing more, but there is only so much they will let us do when it comes to healthcare. With my mother I had to take it a month at a time, and she is still resisting the idea that anything is wrong with her. I don't force it on her. She equates dementia to losing her mind. It is important to her that she not be seen as "crazy," so I just refer to her cognitive decline as memory loss and take care of the technical matters of her life. I think it is the most we can do when they are still living independently.
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