A couple weeks ago I met with the housing director of dad’s living facility. Since the building he is living in will be re-classified, I toured a different facility, which dad would move to. Beautiful, big building. Great apartment, nice long hallway for walking. But, too big for dad, yet the old building will be too active for dad. So, what to do? Where to go? Who has ultimate final decision as to where dad lives?
Hearing some incidents that happened made me very sad. Am I in denial as to dad’s health? Am I in denial as to how he has declined? I know that dad cannot be left alone for days without someone stopping in to see him, but he doesn’t nor does he want someone around 24 hours a day.
Today I stopped over to make some lunch, clean up the bathroom (I wonder if we will EVER get the smell out of there!), and to go outside for a walk. We are SO lucky that dad is very happy go lucky. He is not a mean ‘dementia patient’, and every now and then his sense of humor comes through. Today’s weather was GORGEOUS- it was summer-like with 70+ degrees, AND humidity! Humidity which I never do well with now that I’ve gained so much weight, but that’s another 10 page entry I told dad I brought over some food, and if he wanted to, we could go outside for a walk. He loved the idea. While I was getting the food ready, and while he was eating, he must have asked me 3 or 4 times, “Are we going for a walk today?” With each question, I would answer, just as if I had heard it for the first time today, “Yeah, if you’d like to go outside.” He’d always answer, “Yes, that would be good.” It doesn’t make sense to be annoyed by the constant questions- I can’t even imagine what is going on in his brain. Answering the same question a few times is the least I can do.
When he finished eating, we got ready for the walk. He had on 1 shoe, and one sock (not on the same foot), so it was time to work with him to get shoes & socks on both feet. Who ever thought it would be such a challenge? I never imagined I would watch my dad try to put a shoe on a foot which already has a shoe on it. I never imagined I would watch my dad sitting on the bed, holding a shoe and say, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” How can a person feel anything BUT compassion when an alzheimer’s patient is so bold, so honest, so vulnerable? When dad makes such admissions, a part of my heart goes out to him, for I know that he never wanted to live like this. He never wanted to have his daughters care for him and clean up after him. As I work with dad, work with his caregivers, and my sisters, I continually ask, why do we have to live such a decreased quality of life? I fully understand that people of their right mind can end their life, but what is the purpose of someone living a life with out any control? No control over bodily functions, no control over feeding self, dressing or bathing self; why be returned to a dependent life such as a newborn?