First of all, I want to confirm that I am not looking in any way for medical advice! My father has great doctors and he's all set there.
What I'm hoping for is advice and shared experiences on helping a parent who has dementia. My father's memory has been failing and the process seems to be accelerating. He is 84 years old and it started a few years ago when we'd ask him for directions to various places and he'd say, "Oh, I used to know but I don't anymore." Then more and more things left his memory, and now he sometimes doesn't recognize relatives. He doesn't know the grandkids' names anymore, and he definitely doesn't recognize people that he only occasionally sees.
His driving is ok, although we only let him drive to familiar places. He goes to AA meetings regularly. He used to do the grocery shopping for my mom but if he goes to the store now, I know he has to ask people to help him find things because he often is not even sure what the product is. He has had trouble using the ATM lately. And probably the worst sign of all is that twice lately he has gotten dressed into a pajama top - once he put on a pj top and a tie, and just the other day my mom said he needed a jacket so he went and put on a pajama top over his clothes.
So... things are definitely getting worse. My plan right now is to help out by stopping over and taking my father out to the grocery story a few times a week, making dinner for my parents while I'm at their house. I'll bring my two youngest with me, as we homeschool. I think it will be good for all of us - my parents for the help, and my children and me for the extra time we'll spend with them. I would need to get back home in the late afternoon for my older kids and for evening activities.
If anyone can share the path they've experienced in this situation, including what to expect if the dementia gets worse, how to be prepared ahead of time for further declines, anything at all, I would really appreciate it! Thanks so much!