Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ailing Elder

Dear Tiger of Wisdom. How does one deal with a demented dad who thinks he's an RAF commander who has been taken as a POW for German and French experimentation?

Ouch, that’s a difficult situation, my friend. I should remind you, and all my dear friends and readers, that I am not a mental health professional. I do sympathize with your situation, however. I can only imagine how terribly distressing it is to have to bear this deterioration of one so close. My only advice to you is to seek the care of a professional. A little research with the help of Messrs. Google turned up a few tidbits that may also help. The complex nature of this delusion seems to fit with what I have learned is called Lewy body dementia, a condition similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Here is a link to a page from the Merck Online Medical Library that discusses this.

Assuming your father is suffering from Lewy body dementia the Merck Manual recommended treatment essentially involves “general measures to provide safety and support”. I interpret this to mean keep them safe from harming themselves or others, and try to calm the confusion of their mind with continued outpouring of love.

Ask a tiger.

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