As a writer, and someone who shares information with others via the web through social media, I struggled if I should talk about this subject at all. I am all for privacy when it is needed, but I figure writing about it will be therapeutic for me and maybe help others who were in or are in similar situations. I made a promise to myself this past week that I will never complain about things, just accept them and try to make the situation the best it can be. For those of you who know me, that is how I always have been and with the current circumstances, view this no differently.
For four years now, my dad, my hero, Sherm, has had dementia. As recently as this past Mardi Gras, my parents were able to fly down from Boston to enjoy it (dad still talks about how much fun it was catching beads). He had some recent medical issues over the past couple of months that made his status deteriorate quite significantly. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dad is a in Stages 5 & 6 now. My mother and brother have been caring for him all this time and they did not have things easy. Being a caregiver is a tremendous and draining job (hats off to all who do or have done it). For many reasons, a week ago, it was decided that he might thrive better in our house in Louisiana. We live on one level and with mobility issues alone (they have a tri-level), this only made sense. I work from home, my kids are almost 11, 13 & 15 and my husband has always adored my father…so we are giving it a try here. I flew up a week ago and got dad to bring him here. I am learning about what he can and can’t do from one minute to the next, educating myself, getting things in order here and rolling with the punches.
My main goals are the obvious:
* keep his brain stimulated
* establish and maintain a routine
* gain the weight he lost
* make him feel safe
* keep him mobile
* keep him happy and healthy (that covers it all)
He has a new doctor here to coordinate things locally, we already hired a sitter (getting help will be most important) for him and home health services kick in full-force next week (my nurse is my friend so that helps). Fortunately, we found out he does not qualify for Hospice at this time, but it is comforting to know they will be there when we need them. I am truly honored to have this opportunity to care for my father. My family will adapt and the children will cherish the time they get to spend with him as they have never lived near him. Things will not be easy, but life is not supposed to be that way.
And by the way, Yankee dad has now found his new love…Snoballs!