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My dad has early stages of dementia, he is 87 and lost his wife to cancer 2 weeks ago.
I have been estranged from him, because of her for almost 37 years, he has missed out on his grandchild and great grandchildren, on so many things
We would get together on occasion for a short time but then his wife would put a stop to it and it would be another few years before I saw him again.
I have not seen him now for almost 10 years although my step sister has always kept me informed on how he was doing.
When his wife died, I sent a card and note to tell him how much I loved and missed him in my life and I hoped he would have enough love left in him to want to see me… He does, but it seems there was a small amount of persuasion needed.
I have already been warned that he’s not the dad I remember, he’s quite small and frail where as the dad I knew was tall, strong and handsome …
I am really scared to see him, a meeting has been arranged for this week. I have no idea how he will be with me as our last meeting because of his wife, became hostile, even though I had gone to see them to try and make the peace.
I’m scared I will say the wrong thing, I don’t even know what to talk about in case I distress him. I’m worried when I get there he won’t want to see me or will be nasty.
I guess in my mind, I still have my childhood hero, my first love…
So many years have gone by, I’m 61 yrs old so much has happened and he was never there once for me … I’m just plain scared to death :confounded:
Sorry for the long post, I have so many emotions going through my head at the moment.
Thank You for reading :heart:

If he has dementia, he may have mellowed, or be worse.
Who has arranged this meeting?
You have no responsibility for him going forward. To me, he’s got to face whatever happens now on his own, having rejected his child when you needed him most.

Hi thank you for replying.
I know what you are saying but I guess I have to go and see what happens ( even though it may break my heart once again).
My step sister and his careers arranged the meeting.
I will let you know, it may be I get to make some memories with him, before I lose him again x

Hi Lorraine,

perhaps take some photos of your childhood etc or times you shared before he married his second wife to help you both reminisce about the good times. Takes some pics to show him off your family. Don’t stay too long, as it will be emotionally exhausting for both of you. I hope it goes well. Let us know.


Be kind to yourself, you cannot be forced to stay if you don’t want to. If he gets nasty, turn away saying “I don’t have to listen to this…”

So my up and coming visit has been put off until the weekend.

But I need advice, my step sister who has had more dealings with my dad is SO stressed… it would seem that my dad keeps mistaking her for his wife ( they are so similar when his wife was her age) and he is saying some rather unsavoury ( sexy) things to her, she knows he doesn’t realise what he’s doing but it’s making her feel very uncomfortable and a bit vulnerable, although she trys not to be there on her own to avoid getting into these situations it’s not always possible.
She’s told him off, explaining who she is and she’s not her mum but it doesn’t seem to help after a while.
She’s warned the career’s but he’s fine with them, usually.
How does she cope with this?
She’s in mourning herself but cannot show it in front of him.
Is there Anyone else that has come up against this, that can advise PLEASE

Frankly, I’d say that’s it. He has to go!

However, it’s probably not that simple. Who owns the house?

Tell her to talk to his doctor immediately.
Also talk to Social Services.

My friend, a lady I met in the nursing home my husband was in, visited her dad regularly. He sometimes thought she was his wife. Not sure if intimate suggestions were made, but he definitely used to say shall we go and have a lie down. Her reply was on the lines of Dad, I can’t do that. Very often she would suggest them having a cup of tea and get up to request one. Usually worked, a distraction. However he was in the nursing home, and she,as I did, had choice on how long to stay… Your step sister must walk out of the room, and try a distraction. Very difficult when the confusion is at its worst.

Hello Lorraine. I am not going to say “Don’t be nervous,” because inevitably you will be in a situation like this. I am often nervous in far lesser situations, such as meeting again old friends after a considerable time. The meeting finally takes place; the ice is broken and everything is fine. You have a more-complex situation to sort out. It is good that you care about your Dad in spite of his considerable absence from your life.

Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. Just be yourself. If your father cannot accept you as you are, then that is not much of a relationship. You will need to be ready to meet a changed person. Be prepared for this. Forewarned is forearmed.

Melly gave some good advice; take some pictures along. I have found this very useful myself in situations where I have anticipated difficulty in knowing what to talk about.

Your Dad keeps mistaking your step-sister for his late wife. It is not unusual for people with dementia to live in the past and sometimes refer to friends and relatives who have deceased, recently or long ago, as though they are still alive. While this must make your step-sister uncomfortable it is unfortunate that she told him off, which one should not do to a person with dementia. It is better to collude with them in a harmless way. Pet suggested a good way to deal with this.

Your Dad did distance himself for many years. This was probably mainly the fault of his dragon of a wife, but he could have taken a firmer stand and met you, even if his wife refused to accompany him. Go to the meeting with the feeling that you do not owe him anything but are giving him the chance of reconciliation. And however the meeting goes, do let us know. Good luck!

Dear Lorraine
Welcome to the Forum!
You are not alone, we are sure that many on here will understand exactly how you feel and offer support. Caring can be very lonely and the pandemic has made caring responsibilities challenging as many carers have been socially restricted and unable to attend social groups etc.
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Best Wishes

Thank you ALL for your lovely and helpful advice, of which I have taken note of …
As of today, I still haven’t seen him!
Excuses I feel, are being made by my step-sister i.e he’s not having or had a good day, he wants to be left alone etc which may be true of course.
I’ve lived without him in my life for so long and had finally got to a stage where if he crossed my mind or came up in conversation, it did not upset me…
My step-sister, who I love dearly by the way, Asked me to become involved because it was getting too much for her but now seems to not include me, or keep me updated with what’s happening… Which is worse ( for me ) than just going and seeing how things work out.
So I am Still waiting to be given the Green light to go.
I can’t just go up ( as I couldn’t get in) and it seems everything visits etc, has to go through a forum for someone else to give the go ahead…!

Thank all once again and I apologize for keep ranting

Well today I finally got to see my dad, I worked myself up for all the mixture of emotions I was expecting, I took photos of when I was younger for a conversation starter …

Apart from the initial shock at seeing just how much he has physically changed, I couldn’t find … Anything!
I showed him the photos, he knew it was a friend who had taken them and named him, ,but He didn’t know Me!
He just kept thanking me for coming to help my sister take him out but …
Who was I ?
We took him home, my sister took him in and settled him, she was surprised I hadn’t given him a hug and kiss goodbye…
I … Couldn’t

It’s very sad, but clearly the dementia is well advanced.

Very sad. It wasn’t a horrible time for your Dad. He saw you as a nice lady taking an interest in him. It’s not uncommon, dementia suffers thinking family members are nice kind people. Can you take any comfort from that. It could have been different as in he
could have been aggressive verbally.

Pet66… Your comments brought me back to some normality, I guess I was being somewhat selfish in my thinking and not stopping to think He may of actually enjoyed the trip out !
I just so wanted there to be a glimmer of recognition to build on and hold on to…

Perhaps I have to Stop trying to crawl back bits ‘I’ have lost in the past … It’s gone!

Yesterday I think I felt… I guess Numb to the situation, would sum it up well…
This morning I got up and sobbed for what has been lost and that can never be replaced, I cried for him and me I think it’s hard to have your hopes dashed, again !

But onwards and upwards, it won’t be such a shock next time, hopefully x

Hi Lorraine,

The other things to consider are that your Dad might recognise you on some days and not others.

Also are you going to consider this closure or are you going to visit again and build a relationship with this new version of your Dad?


Oh dear, I hope my thoughts didn’t make you feel selfish! Far from my mind. You were far from that.
My lovely late husband had Vascular dementia and other health issues. He was in a nursing home. No choice. Every time I visited, it would be with apprehension, not knowing what I would be faced with. I just treasured the good visits, and learned not to fret too much if it was a difficult one. Fortunately he didn’t forget who I was or the family. He said once, in hospital, that he didn’t know who I was until I said I’m the lady who loves you the most. He may even have been teasing, because he was a wind up merchant at times! I do know my heart and stomach flipped over, thinking it was getting to that stage and it was horrible. So I definitely understand your distress that your dad was asking who you are. I also understand your tears. It’s a heartbreaking situation. ((( Hugs)))

Hi Lorraine,

I recall the same situation with my own dad and from my experience, you should make a difference between past and the present. I know it is not easy to do, because to you, your Dad is a completely different person now. However, you only have one Dad in life, and I sincerely hope you will see through what was and open yourself to what might be. It might not be easy, but the correct and good road is never the easy one. From what I can advise, do what you can, so that you will not have any regrets later on, thinking to yourself those “Maybe I should have done something”. It might not be easy, but in the long run, you will feel better, with clearer conscience.

Stay strong, I know you will manage through this

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Dear Lorraine_2105
I hope this message finds you okay. I am writing to you to write you a follow up message from my initial message to see how you are getting on. How is the situation with you? I hope you found my initial message good and that you find the Carers UK Forum beneficial and helpful for you. Please let me know how you are getting on.
Best Wishes