Dad doesn't want to bathe, won't eat a lot, sleeps about 18 hours most days and I'm noticing his memory worse. Is he developing Alzheimer's? - AgingCare.com

Dad doesn't want to bathe, won't eat a lot, sleeps about 18 hours most days and I'm noticing his memory worse. Is he developing Alzheimer's?

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Glad I found this place.
I've been caring for my 83 year old father for the past 5 years.
I'm disabled myself and haven't been able to work for the past 3-4 years from life long spinal problems that have gotten bad enough that I can't work anymore.

I will probably be asking a lot of questions when I can't find an answer from searching.
Some of my ongoing problems with dad are....
1. He's always been lax on cleanliness. My mom used to be the one that pushed him to clean up and clean himself on an occasional basis but she passed away in 2002 and since I've been with him I've gotten him to bath twice.
One of his complaints when I argue about it is it's too cold or too hot. The water that is. He can't seem to regulate his temperature anymore.
I don't know how to get him to bath more often.

2. I can't get him too eat enough. I don't know if it's because he seems to have taste loss or something else.
I can make him something to eat that he says he liked a lot afterwards and give it to him again in a moth or two and now he doesn't like it.

3. He sleeps what seems like 18 hours a day and I don't know if this is from depression or maybe since he doesn't seem to eat enough his body doesn't have enough energy to stay awake a more normal amount of time.
Or if he is bored since he can't see much of anything anymore.
I've set up a media system in the house so he can watch all kinds of movies and I even got movies he loved from his youth (old westerns) but he gets bored it seems after a while and with regular tv as well. He never was the type to really listen to music which I think is because of his hearing damage from the war.
He used to like to play with the computer all day till his sight went south on him

I think he's depressed from his age related decline.
I would like to find some kind of activities to occupy his mind but have no idea what.

I'm also wondering if he's developing alzheimers because his memory is horrible at times and satisfactory at other times (for his age) and his attention seems to be that of a small child anymore.

I love him to death and want to help however I can but just don't know what to do sometimes.

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You dad needs as full medical workup. Depression and/or dementia may be part of his problem. I agree that adult day care may be very good for him as he'd get out and socialize with peers. It can be expensive, however.

If he is on Medicaid, he may qualify for some in-home care visits so you may want to check into that. These people may be able to get him to bathe and also help you get a break. However, a diagnosis is very necessary.

I also agree that if he hasn't given you Power Of Attorney for his health and other issues you and he should get this done very soon! Please keep coming back to let us know how he - and you - are doing.
Take care,
Carol
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Sounds like he does have dementia.. Which causes anxiety/depression..contact your local elder care assoc. And try to get him to go to daycare or just visit with others...bring him to his Dr for a diagnosis , there are meds to help him.....BUT most importantly make sure you seek the advice of an Elder care attorney and get all his affairs in order!
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This sounds so much like my father. My father didn't interact with people his entire life. This includes his children, so changes in him just seemed to flow with his character. In his last years, he stopped bathing unless he was made to. He didn't want to eat most things, though he loved sweets. He made a lot of lists, spending much of his time organizing his lists -- mainly things that he had ordered from all the catalogs (a major problem). He would not go to the doctor. The times we were able to get him to go were a major nightmare for me. I still have horrors thinking about those times. Because of his autistic personality, we didn't know for sure that he had dementia until his last week of life. He also had inflammation in his stomach that I am sure contributed to his loss of appetite.

I believe that some of his loss of appetite for food and drink had to do with chronic constipation and loss of mobility that made the bathroom experience very bothersome for him. He took Miralax, which had a strong effect on him, and wore Depends. His life was not pleasant.

I had heard that over-shopping from catalogs, lack of attention to hygiene in a formerly clean person, and loss of appetite are symptoms of dementia. In the case of my father, it was true. I wish he had been more willing to go to the doctor. It would have made life easier. As it was, we did the best we could do.
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He sounds like my husband who does not seem to want to bath anymore and is forgetful and wants to sleep most of the time. It's really hard to tell if he has dementia or not as he seems to be fairly lucid most of the time. But I think some of the meds he takes makes him drowsy too. But it's his behaviors that are getting worse..i.e. personal hygiene and eating habits. He still drives and will go to the store to buy all kinds of sweet stuff that's awful. I always have good, healthy food in the house, but he won't eat it. So what do you do? I just figured he doesn't care and it's hard to make someone care. .He's never been social and has few friends and has no desire to go to the senior center which is a mile away. Thank goodness I did have our wills, power of attorney, etc. done a few years ago and am updating mine soon as I'm not sure he will be able to executor of my will (in case I pass before him). I want to get that changed. Also, when can you invoke Power of Attorney? I have Durable POA...but not sure what has to happen to envoke it?
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My 94 yo Mother was like that. Now, at a NH, she is thriving. She is clean, nourished , dressed, walked and visited. She is having her hair and nails done, and before this she hadn't gotten out of her housecoat in years! Is everything perfect? No, but it is better.
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What are his memory issues? Asking the same question over and over is typical of dementia. (As you will learn, there are several types of dementia. Alzheimer's is the most common, I think.)

On the bathing, do you have a tub or shower? Is there an easy way for him to get in and out? Is there a seat? A hand-held shower can be useful. Consider putting a heater in the bathroom. If he won't bathe, make him put on fresh underwear every day. That can help a lot.

He really does need to see a doctor. If he just has low thyroid or low vitamin B12, he could get back a lot of energy and enjoyment from life. If his medication is making him drowsy or interfering with his appetite, that can be corrected.

But he may just be on the path to dying. That would be sad, but natural and inevitable. He will be lucky to have you with him along the way.
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