Father dementia diagnosis - how do I help?

Hi. I’ve just joined this forum at my gp’s suggestion. After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2017 (and coping with that news with typical, low key courage) my father has just been diagnosed with dementia with lewy bodies. I’m not my dad’s full time carer but I live in the same village. And I’d be so very grateful for any suggestions about how I can best support him. He’s relatively early stages (I think) - still reasonably mobile and good long term memory but short term memory / problem solving / confusion becoming increasingly problematic. Thanks in advance.

HI Jane

Welcome to the forum and so sorry to hear about your Dad. My Mum also has dementia. We have found the following to be helpful.

Routine - we have a strong routine in place as this helps my Mum remember things. She now knows and remembers that shopping is on a Monday etc and this is hugely helpful.

We can’t go in every day so she has carers pop in and make lunch etc. This way we know she is safe and fed. She doesn’t like this, but it is what is needed for her to be safe.

When she was first diagnosed we attended a “living well with dementia” group which she hated (but that was her pre dementia personality!), your Dad might find it useful to meet others in the same boat. I certainly found it useful to meet other carers. ASk your GP if there is anything else like that in your area.

We have tried things like White boards and diaries, but I think her ability to read them has diminished, but might be helpful t your Dad?

An emergency alarm has made her feel safer at home knowing she can get help.

I have replaced her telephone with one with large pre-programmed buttons as she found dialing numbers hard, this has worked well. You can get similar remote controls for TV etc.

Mum was diagnosed nearly 2 years ago now, and is still living at home with support and hasn’t got much worse in that time. i know that she will inevitably decline eventually, but feel really happy that we have had at 2 years with no significant dips. I take that as a win. We still have a laugh and it isn’t all doom and gloom! Best of luck

Also, make sure that you get POA in place if you don’t have it already. Really important for the future.

Also make sure that he is getting any benefits he is entitled to. Attendance Allowance isn’t means tested and with the dementia and Parkinson’s I should imagine he is entitled to that. If he gets AA and has dementia he should also be exempt from Council Tax.

Sally, thanks so much for your kind words and suggestions - will definitely work on those! Really glad you’re still having good times with your mum.

Hi there,
Welcome and so sorry about the problems with Dad.
My suggestions are
Label drawers and cupboards, ‘Knives and forks’, ‘pants and socks’, ‘shirts and trousers’, ‘tins of food’.
Make a ‘memory book’ of photos from the past and recent of family members. ‘This is your grandson John. He is 21 and in University in Birmingham’. ‘ Your wedding day’’.
Anything that will help him remember past and present for as long as he can.
Make sure he has easily prepared food, meals delivered or someone who prepares/serves for him.
Big button TV remote.
Telephone. I believe there is a method of blocking numbers so that no ‘sales calls’ or ‘scam calls’ can get through but don’t know the way to do it. While dad is in this stage, you don’t want him to be a target for people who will call him and convince him to give money away. He might well believe scam callers. Same with the post. There are evil people out there who can latch onto the vulnerable.
Also, if Dad has carers or other visitors, make sure any valuables are really safe. Locked away or in your care. I foolishly trusted all my mum’s carers and visitors but some precious (to her) jewellery still went missing.
Sometime soon a key safe would be a good thing,
If you can, take his cheque book and limit the amount of cash he has . Talk to his bank and tell them the problem. All so much easier if you have POA and very hard if dad is difficult about handing over any control.
Dad is very vulnerable in so many ways. Do your very best to look after his interests as if they were yours, as if he was a child with diminishing ‘savvy’ but at the same time treating him as an adult for his due dignity.
Very hard.

I live with my Mum who is a dementia sufferer, we have always been close.
I’m the only person whose name she remembers.

I joke with Mum and ask questions. Quite often this ends in fits of laughter for both of us. I’m just trying my best to keep the Mum I love alert and test her to keep that brain ticking over.

If not too late take out Lasting Power of Attorneys.

It sounds not to late to register two LPAs 1 for health and welfare, and 1 for finance and property. A good GP who knows your dad can advise on whether that’s still ok. If not, you can still apply to the Court of Protection