Is it dementia or Dad just being "dad"? -

Is it dementia or Dad just being "dad"?


Hi all, I am the one who posted a week and a half or so about some water damage that we had. We got a lot of rain in a short period of time, which filled our patio and overflowed into my father's patio. Then the sump pump broke. Yeah, that's me. :)

So everything seems to be getting back to normal. Mom and i found out that Dad actually saw the water level in the patio getting up to the point where it was time to take steps that might have prevented the flooding. When he saw it, he didn't say anything to us.

Dad has always been the "strong, silent type" and not always great about speaking up when it's time. Men are also generally not great communicators - no offense to my male friends on here. Mom probably asked him about it but I can't remember or didn't hear his answer. Mom and i are not making a big deal about this (Mom is also very protective of Dad). but I wonder if this is a "wake up call." Dad did have a recent doctor visit where he said "they gave me one of those Alzheimer's test and i passed with flying colors." ( I assumes that that is where they give you the three words and ask you to remember then, and then ask several more questions, then go back and ask you the three words.) He is declining (he is 83) but sometimes it's hard to tell how much and how because Mom over anticipates (enables?) in the way she takes care of him.

Do I tell him or not? I can guarantee you if I tell him that this water damage was his fault (no i would not word it like that) because he didn't speak up, he will feel very bad and be very hard on himself. We also racked up some bills due to the clean up. I don't think telling him will necessarily help anything, BUT if this is a wake up call, I need to start being a little more involved in his care, as well as including my brother and sister. Thoughts?

also I'm going to write a different post which won't be a question - it'll be titled suggestion - self care. Please read. thanks!

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Oops -- used ABSOLUTELY NOT when it should have been ABSOLUTELY. I think it's self-explanatory where that should be. Sorry, folks.
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I'd like to expound on Ronnie's post. Re diagnosing dementia. There's "dementia" and then there's "dementia". There are all sorts of degrees. A doctor noted in her chart that she has "mild dementia". Does that mean she's incompetent? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Does it mean she can be trusted to make up her own pillbox? ABSOLUTELY NOT! But can I have a meaningful conversation with her about legal matters? About what a POA is; what a HCPOA is? Does it mean she doesn't know enough to answer my questions intelligently and give her consent for me to handle her affairs? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!

As mom's doctor described it when I asked him if he'd be willing to fill out a form that she was competent to re-execute a POA right now, "Oh, I'd be happy to. She 'gets it' -- I can have good conversations with your mom. Well....she might wish me Happy Easter when I leave...she may forget what we talked about thirty minutes or less later...but AT THE TIME? She fully 'gets it'.

Something for all of us to keep in mind, if you ask me.
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No one should have a problem speaking frankly to their parents, unless something has gone badly wrong in the past., if that is so, the it's time to get back to normal. Do not assume what he saw without asking him whether he did.

No one is capable of diagnosing dementia in the absence of clinical symptoms and signs. No one!

Beware of well-intentioned amateurs however much experience they might have had with demented patients.

Ask a doctor!
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I think Angie's List expanded so fast, and perhaps without any controls, but then how does one really run a referral service and check on the contractors? One doesn't, and therein lies the vulnerability. I don't participate in her massive operation, especially after they cookied me and sent me unsolicited e-mail requests to join.

So I don't know if they do any background checking at all, either of the contractors or the recommenders. Yet others pay to get these names.

DIY is now soliciting for the next season of Run My Renovation, with John DeSilvia. (If you haven't seen his shows, they're worth it - nice eye candy for tired caregivers!). (Yes, shame on me - I'm an old woman and shouldn't think like that.)

I'm PM'ing a link to you in case you want to apply. Odds are low, but you might get some help.
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Omg i agree with angies list too. We paid for new bathroom and we ended up with black mold. They ate on angies and i have to pay to imform
Others about their bad work.
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Positivity goes a long way!! Distraction is key!!
I too think you were right in figuring dementia
Was the culprit therefore it will make him feel horrible!! I too have been flooded and my mother
Has parkinsons and dementia. We cooked the other night and i only had one burner on but
Noticed oven was turned on along with another
Burner. They want to help and i think its best to
Let them think they are. Remember they are
Stuck in thier bodies and cant control things
Anymore. Good luck and be happy and they
Will follow!!
Helpful Answer (1)

Speaking from someone who's the daughter of a lifelong DIYer, self taught carpenter as well as jack of all trades, and who began building a workshop in his 80's, I'm seeing that your father recognized the water threat but didn't know what to do about it. I've seen this myself - something needs to be done but the mind doesn't process the issue in the same analytical way to begin thinking of solutions.

Sometimes I experience that myself when I'm stressed. I can recognize a problem, know that solutions are within reach but am not able to conceptualize or act on them until I can achieve a clearer and different frame of mind.

What you can do is assess vulnerable areas of the house, find some good DIY forums, speak with friends to get recommendations for contractors so you're prepared in the event of a future house security issue.

Be proactive, as the business people like to say in their collection of buzzwords. Talk to your homeowner's insurance carrier to find out what companies they use for repairs and consider using them if the problem isn't covered by HO insurance. Some contractors do a lot of insurance covered work, but also have side or collateral expertise in related areas.

One caution I would offer - Angie's List has done a lot of advertising and sounds like a good idea. But I do know from a DIY forum of someone who had a problem with an approved Angie's list contractor.

I also used a plumbing contractor years ago who did the work but had unprofessional and not exactly top notch plumbers. Never again would I use them. I saw their truck the other day with Angie's List emblazoned on it. Maybe they've improved their service, but I would never use them again.

I found my current plumber, and with the exception of 2 other times have used them for over 30 years, by asking the building and inspection department of my city if they had lists of approved contractors that have satisfactorily done business with the city.

States also have licensing departments for various contractors. After doing an assessment of your house for potential issues, research contractors in those areas then check to ensure that they're licensed and don't have complaints against them.
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What purpose would be served by telling your dad "It was your fault." It was the water's fault. I don't know why you'd want to do that. Does it help anything? My answer would be "No, it doesn't." He may well HAVE some degree of dementia. But that doesn't mean he's necessarily off the plot. Keep an eye on him...if you're not already at least somewhat involved in their finances, I urge you to do so...I'd also urge you to keep track of both of their medications. Don't assume they're taking them correctly. Or, if they use pill boxes, that they're filling them UP correctly. Dementia is most often a gradual process. It's not a light switch that switches off...or, at least, it'd be better described as a dimmer switch. ;) Keep on eye on both of them. Begin gently pointing out when they're getting forgetful. But this particular instance? My personally? I'd just let it go. It speaks for itself.
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Well, you are on alert now. That's good.

Failing those simple memory tests means something. But I don't think that passing them necessarily does. My mother could pass that but had no idea how to take her pills. My husband regularly got 28/30 but might not be able to figure out how to get into bed the next day.

I would not confront Dad about this incident. What's the point? But I would start a notebook to record these types of things. That will be more valuable to a specialist than a simple memory test.
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Great responses from everyone. Dementia can be different for everyone...depending the type of dementia and the persons personality and habits.My mother presented just as my dad did, short term memory loss followed by confusion and it progressed from there.The neurologist who diagnosed my mother said it was dementia of the Alzheimer's type. I think it may be helpful in how well you know your parent, their personality and their habits such as paying bills, what their routine is. If you suspect something is wrong, there most likely is something wrong. My mom's dr had done several mini memory tests at mom's request, I was with her during the last one. She scored 23/30. The dr. looked at me and asked me if I noticed anything amiss, at that time, I believed it was age related forgetfulness and that is what I told him. A few months later, mom was confused...I talked with her dr and told him I did not think this was age related. He said, I am sorry, your mother has dementia. That was in December of 2009, in April of 2013, mom was diagnosed as mentally incapacitated by the neurologist. Continue to pursue DPOA, possibly get your mother to make a trust with an elder law attorney and go from there. Someone needs to be named as the DPOA and executor of their trust or will.
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