Where to from Here? Print E-mail

Dear DCA Team,

My blind father was coping with ageing quite well until he had surgery last Christmas.  He has gone ‘downhill’ very quickly and since the retirement of his Seeing Eye dog, they are not getting around as they used to.

Dad is very independent and has stated clearly that he doesn't ever want to go into a home or even come and live with me!   His dementia is progressing and he is having more 'English Episodes' where he has started to forget his own home and shopping centre and thinks that he is back in England.

I am not sure he can live by himself for much longer but I am concerned as I saw how upset he became in the hospital.  My question now is, ‘Where to from here?’

Concerned Daughter

 

Dear Concerned,

Your situation can be very common. The first recommendation we can give you is to get a full medical and dental check-up for your father, to rule out any illness or infection. Also, ensure that his fluid intake is adequate as dehydration can cause a sudden worsening in dementia symptoms.

Your father’s operation may have had an impact as hospital visits can take an emotional toll on people with dementia.It is obviously very important to your father that he remains as independent as possible and we would encourage you to support this for as long as possible. 

The retirement of your father’s guide dog may also be having an emotional impact on his wellbeing.  When he goes back in his imagination to England, he may be trying to fulfill an unmet emotional need, bought on by a loss of independence and the need to feel useful. 

 

We all have five main emotional needs and it is especially important that we aim to fulfill these needs in the person with dementia. 

 

Spark of Life 5 Emotional Needs

·        To feel needed and useful

·        To have the opportunity to care

·        To love and be loved

·        To have self-esteem boosted

·        To have the power to choose

 
There are many articles on our websitethat may help in dealing with your father’s dementia. In particular, you may find our article Build a Supportive Partnership useful in supporting your father in his independent lifestyle.

Kindest Regards,

The DCA Team