Dad in denial

Hello, my Dad is 77 and was diagnosed with PD in Sept last year. He has probably had it for quite a few years as he was misdiagnosed with an essential tremor. He has been on medication since then and hasn’t had any follow up. His symptoms are mainly the tremor in his arm but I have noticed that he is starting to shuffle as he walks and also his fine motor skills are not great. The problem is that he is in total denial about having PD, he refuses to talk about it, gets angry if anyone mentions it and refuses any offer of help. My mum is stressed out with it and has high blood pressure. He has become very grumpy and aggressive, not physically but he never used to argue with my mum but now has a go at her for silly reasons and blames her for stuff. Neither of my parents are fit to look after their large house and larger garden but he refuses to get any help in, and this just makes my mum distressed and knackered as she tries to keep on top of things. Is this normal? I know it came as a shock to him but he seems to think it isn’t true and even says he wished he hadnt gone to the consultant.
Also, he is still driving, and he really really shouldn’t. His eyesight isn’t great and he won’t wear glasses, he denies that he has any issue with his driving but I wouldn’t get in the car with him. Should he have told the DVLA that is has Parkinson’s? Is he still insured if he hasn’t? I really don’t think he would tell them as he would be scared they will take his licence off him. Its a nightmare,
So if anyone has any advice or can tell me how to approach it, bearing in mind that he just won’t talk about it! Thank you

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I feel for you in this situation. I was diagnosed at 50,probably had it 2to 3 years before. It takes time to understand the diagnosis.
I had a similar experience with my dad when he went through a period of bad mental health. He wouldn’t listen to anyone or anything. The main thing was that he was scared and felt guilty for putting his family through it. Maybe your dad is the same.
Firstly though he NEEDS to inform the DVLA of his diagnosis. They will send out some forms and the decision will come after filled out forms are returned.
Maybe a sit down talk to explain how worried you are about him will be a start

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Thanks for your reply. I know its early days for him and us. I think he is scared though and is just burying his head in the sand. I’ll see if I can get him to talk to me, although I don’t hold out much hope!

Hi again Nicola,
A talk is a start. Small steps and then start living with PD. The whole family will be affected. But your dad certainly has some good support from you.

@nicola1 I completely understand the situation you are in. My dad (now 64) was diagnosed in Dec 2014 just as I got on a plane with my husband and kids to emigrate to Oz! he had the symptoms for a few years beforehand, but refused to go to the doctor. I think he didn’t want me to change my plans. once he was diagnosed, he went into complete denial. my mum feel apart and the eventual medication seemed to make things worse! I have spend the last 2.5 years listening to my mum cry down the phone about how lonely she is (over 40 years married). Looking back the thing I wished I’d have done was to seek mental health advice and support earlier, for both mum and dad. depression was really hard for him and still is, but he is now too proud to ask for the help.
I’m finding it hard to support my mum in being heard! when she sees the PD nurse or the consultant, they seem to just hear what they want to hear i.e. fit the information to the list of symptoms, rather than actually listening to the issues. I really need advice on who I can speak to to help them both access the support they need.

Hi @Lisa2,

Thank you for joining the forum and a warm welcome to you.

Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, so I empathise with you and your family. Unfortunately, there are links between mental health problems and Parkinson’s. This can be due to the condition itself, or caused by difficulties of living with Parkinson’s or medication effects. Carers, like your mum, may also feel like that they don’t receive enough support for their caring which can also have an impact on her mental wellbeing.

However, there is emotional support available to your mum and dad, including speaking to other people with Parkinson’s, counselling as well as information and local support centres. You can find more info on this here - Additionally, you can also call our free and confidential helpline to speak to one of our friendly advisers. They’ll be able to offer you more support on this and can advise you on the options available to your parents.

Feel free to give them a call on on 0808 800 0303 Monday-Friday: 9am-7pm and Saturday: 10am-2pm, but please note that it’s closed on Sundays and bank holidays. As you live abroad, you may find it easier to contact us via email at [email protected].

Hope you find this information useful and please take care,

Reah - Forum Community Manager

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