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Hello, I have just joined
I think my Dad might have dementia. He is 75 and lives with my mom
He has had insomnia for at least 20 years and sleeps mostly from about 7:00 pm to midnight.
About 2-1/2 years ago, he had a few health problems and needed minor operations. As a result, he started taking sleeping prescription sleeping pills. They seemed to help, but his personality seemed to change. He became much more talkative and outgoing and emotional. Almost manic.
He also had his first ever traffic accident after never before getting a single ticket. He went out and bought a new car two days later without even telling my mom. Shortly after that, he picked a relative up at the airport and then drove in the wrong direction for two hours before realizing the mistake.
Talking it all over with my mom, we thought the combination of sleeping medicines was to blame and he stopped one of them. Things seemed better for a time.
Then maybe a year ago, he started spending money in a way that was totally unlike him. He also told me that he was buying stocks on a whim, based on liking the name of the company. This is the diametric opposite of his previous financial perspective.
He did recently agree to get hearing aids after years of denial, and he has agreed to retire from work after saying that he never would. But he has become obsessed with a person at work.
I have been reading about the stages and symptoms and what’s odd is that as far as I can tell, his memory does not seem changed.
He doesn’t want to get assessed nor does my mom want to have him assessed. She thinks it is.cruel to subject him to this.
I worry about what could happen and that this will only get worse.
There are more strange things but I don’t have the strength right now. I live several states away but talk to my mom almost daily.
I am glad to have found this group.
He also does not seem to have a give and take in conversation, which I thought before had more to do with the not being able to hear. He had several set topics that he likes to hold forth on.
He will spend hours vacuuming a rug, even using a flashlight to make sure all hairs have been removed, but then right next to it he misses things on the floor.
Or he spends hours in the bathroom picking at his face. And he has started cutting his own hair and not well.
The person he is obsessed with at work, he claims is manipulating him. His boss has ordered the two of them to avoid each other until his retirement.
He also seems very sensitive too cold now and wears a jacket even if it’s hot out. He will also open the windows and yet put on the AC, which again is something he was stringent about no one ever doing previous to now.
I have gotten more info about the finances and have urged my mom to look into that more as well. I have one sibling who lives even farther from them and I don’t think he is going to be much help.
My mom feels guilty for having supported him in getting the sleeping pills to begin with and distrusts the medical world in general.
I would appreciate any suggestions for next steps.
Before the car accident, he was taking temazepam and trazadone. But I believe the dr advised to stop the temazepam as it can cause confusion.
I have read that Ambien can also cause odd behavior. His main sleeping problem has always been waking up after a few hours and not being able to go back to sleep. Falling asleep is not his problem.
Thanks very much to all who have replied. I have made suggestions to my mom that the Ambien could be a big part of problem and also said that at the least, he should be evaluated to rule out things that mimic dementia (low thyroid, low B12, medicine side effects). She is still not convinced. She did say that the same dr. prescribed both drugs and that he was recently reluctant to give him a third prescription (for Remeron). He has the idea that if he alternates the meds prescribed for sleeping, that will mean less chance of them either ceasing to be effective, or of him getting bad side effects.
They are moving to give me more access to the financial accounts and she seemed open to getting me POA, both of which are good. The reason that he accepts is that if my mom were to die first, he would need help managing.
But I think it's going to take another incident to get her to have him evaluated, or even to admit he has an official problem. She says she can't keep obsessing about this and needs to protect her own mental health and to try to enjoy life now if something terrible is on the horizon. The thing that upset her the worst was his obsession with the person at work, and him lying to her and breaking promises about that. She is hoping that now that they are under orders not to interact, and he is retiring soon, that the "temptation" will just be ended and he will somehow return to normal.
I have been doing a lot of reading and think bvFTD sounds a fair amount like my dad, especially increased sociability, impulsive behavior (spending) and also possibly lack of empathy and lack of awareness of how he has changed and lack of awareness of the feelings of others. He doesn't have memory problems right now as far as I can tell, which also lines up with bvFTD. But on the other hand, he doesn't eat compulsively at all. If anything, he eats way too little. He is really thin and has been losing weight slowly but steadily for years.
I will keep reading these message boards and what I can find.
Would your mom agree to let him be seen by a specialist if you took care of it? I can see how it might be daunting to research where and how, convince and/or manipulate him into actually going etc. Perhaps she doesn't have the strength do to do all that right now. I would keep up the "it may be something easily treated" angle as well as the fact that it would improve his quality of life to know the cause and therefore have mechanisms to deal with it. I know nothing of the sleeping meds, but it could also be dementia, a vitamin imbalance, a brain tumor, and a host of other things. You need her to agree more than him; if you read here there is good advice on cajoling a loved one into being evaluated.
The financial piece should be a big motivation. If he spends their assets on nonsense and then something happens medically, such as he turns out he does need memory care or some catastrophic accident, they will have real problems and you as well most likely. Medicaid would not cover them because it looks back at 5 years back of spending and gifting and his actions would disqualify them. It could really leave them, and you, in crisis.
For now, I would press on the POA process. The sooner you get that set up the better. At the very least, you might contact the current prescribing doctor. If dad hasn't signed HIPPA documents the doctor can't tell you anything, but you can tell the doctor things. You could explain all this strange behavior, some or all of which the doctor may be unaware of because dad certainly wouldn't report it and your mom may not be totally conveying the severity of his behavior. Some doctors are more responsive to this than others, but it may be worth a shot. Perhaps if his doctor suggested more follow up they would be more convinced.