Irish woman seeks advice over mother's 'mean' treatment of father with Alzheimer's
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Irish woman seeks advice over mother's 'mean' treatment of father with Alzheimer's

AN IRISH woman has sought advice over her mother's treatment of her father recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. 

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, sent an email to The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio One, asking for advice from both the host and the listeners on how to deal with her mother and father.

Alzheimer's disease, which causes impairment in memory and cognitive function, is a progressive disease in the same group of symptoms as dementia.

In a report published by the Irish in Britain organisation, the elderly Irish community in Britain are predisposed to a higher incidence of dementia and the related illnesses due to an excess of mental and physical ill-health, age, poor overall health and the social profile of the community.

In the email, read on yesterday's edition of the programme, the distressed daughter wrote: "We all knew he had Alzheimer's, but it took a long time to convince him and my mother to go to the doctor.

"The doctor told my mother quietly that he had Alzheimer's so that she could break it to him but she won't tell him, and she won't let any of us tell him.

"The problem is, since he was diagnosed my mother has become so mean to him. I understand it's very tough for her at home; he doesn't sleep well, he asks her the same questions over and over again, and has a new obsession every week. It may be money, bills, or the weather.

"She snaps at him, and gives out to him and sometimes she jeers at him if he asks the same question repeatedly.

"He doesn't understand what's happening to him, so the fact that she gives out to him for asking a question he doesn't remember asking breaks my heart."

The writer then says as a result of her mother's behaviour, she's starting to "hate" her, and her siblings are starting to avoid her.

"She won't talk to anyone about what she's going through and says she doesn't need to because she has us, but it's very hard when all she does is give out about our father to us."

Host Ryan Tubridy said there was an "enormous response" to the email, with many saying the children should have more understanding for their mother.

"The children have got to remember that this is a devastating and life changing diagnosis for their mother also, and she is clearly struggling with it," one said.

"Avoiding their mum when she needs them most is just the wrong thing to do. What she needs - as well as the dad - is empathy, support and patience.

"The physical and emotional toll on the primary carer is immense.

"Give her as much respite as possible, as much love and support as possible so that she can gradually adjust to the diagnosis and make sure the dad is getting as much love and support as possible," they added.

Have you or a loved one been affected by Alzheimer's or Dementia? Let us know, email [email protected]