Many people are now experience the same kind of difficulties with their
aging parents as you are. You are not alone.
Dendrites are a major structural part of brain cells called neurons. But
there is no way for your father to know what is happening with them because
no sense organ reaches them.
But I have no doubts about the veracity of your father's experience. His
story about the dendrites is just his effort to explain that experience
which I am sure is quite terrifying for both of you. His experience of
severe memory loss is very common in old age and is commonly called
dementia. It is a real concern and your father should see a doctor
specializing in gereontology (sp.) right away (speciality concerning
diseases of old age).
Ironically, problems with memory loss due to aging often do involve the
degeneration of the brain cells, but in more complex ways than just
degeneration of the dendrites. So you father's explanation is almost right.
There are actually alot of resources out there for you and others who are
dealing with this kind of thing. Probably the best beginning point is
actually the AARP - "American Association of Retired Persons".
If you need anything else, please don't hesitate to email me at
DAKirshbm at aol.com
Good luck!!! Sincerely, David