Dad Has Alzheimer's. First Visit in 9 Years.

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New Member

Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/19/2015 9:17 PM (GMT -6)   
On Monday I will be visiting my Dad in a nursing home. Due to family nastiness, I haven't been allowed any access to him in approximately 9 years, and now that I may visit I will be with him as often as is possible. Please don't judge.. I would have been there for him this whole time were it an option for me.

The last time I saw my Dad he was vague, but he was himself. Now, he doesn't walk, he can't lift his head, he can't feed himself, and, from what I have heard, he is entirely non verbal. We do not know what he does or does not remember, but he does smile when his wife walks into the room.

I don't want to say the wrong things to him. I know that he is more likely to remember some of the distant past, but I don't want to act as though he should remember it. I don't want to cause him frustration from lack of memory, but I also don't want to talk down to him. I worry that even calling him "Dad" could cause him stress.

His wife reads to him. I suppose that reading is a safe option, but I want to talk to him.

I am not looking for advice other than in how to approach him verbally in the first visit. Once I am past this hurdle, hopefully I will be able to find my own way.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 791
   Posted 2/19/2015 10:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Wow David, first of all I am so glad you get to see your Dad.

My Father was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's, so my situation is different than yours.

I can't give you any advice on how to approach him, but if it was my Father, I could only approach him how I always would, with a great big hug( gently though)and go from there.

When my Father was in the hospital for something unrelated to Alzheimer's, and he would have issues towards the evening, he would bring up a lot of things from his childhood. I would listen like it was the first time I heard it.

In your situation, if my Father was non-verbal, I could imagine you worrying about what he remembers, but maybe if when you talk to him you bring up happy memories, something you remember you both enjoyed together?

I would want him to know how much I love him, and how happy I am to see him. I think the reading is a good idea, and sometimes just sitting there with them saying nothing at all can be a great comfort.

My heart truly goes out to you. I'm sure this post is not the most helpful, but I want you to know I empathize with you and care.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 5/15/2015 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Unfortunately, I think there's no way to avoid at least some pain.

Alzheimer's is truly cruel to its victims, who have made no poor choices to bring it on. It just comes, and it takes away. I have no idea what this 'family nastiness' is that you speak of, but it is truly insensitive and horrible. Your family should be welcoming and taking care of your father, not shutting him out.

To not be able to walk or even feed yourself is terrifying. I've experienced it, when I was very sick and weak. It's one of the scariest states to be in imaginable. Your Dad might want to think about how long he wants to hold on. I know that's a terrible question, but better he thinks and decides than people left debating about it for years.

The best I can suggest for the time being is to try and talk as naturally with him as you can, as close to as how you once did. Try to avoid distractions in the room, and bring up memories. If he finds himself not being able to remember, tell him the story. Everyone loves stories.
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