Been a bit since I have posted as we have been just chugging along with dad, and I have been doing a bit of research on local assistance for me, so I can take the best care of daddy that is possible. I have been honestly looking at the man he has become, and I now feel that keeping him home may not be in his best interests at all.
This morning, he is so "out of there" in his mind. But sadly, not enough to where he's not embarrassed at his inability to complete a thought or sentence. I want to tell him things - like DH and I are looking at a house to buy - but know that since he cannot remember my name, or the fact that he was married - and for 56 years! - to mom, it's pointless to even try to tell him about what is new and exciting to me. The house we are looking at has space and rooms enough for dad to live WITH us, and that would be good, I think. I know this: He cannot live in his own duplex for much longer.
There must be a change for him, and soon. I think a NH will be ever-so-confusing for him, and wonder what the choices are. If we don't go with locked facility, are there other things we can do? I think I am too close to the situation to evaluate whether 24 hour care is what he needs, or just waking hours...how do I find out what it is he needs? Is there an "evaluation place", "evaluation company"...I am bereft of ideas here.
His geological excavations are lessening. We have buckets and piles of rocks on the porch. The strangest thing he did with them was to water them - yes, water them - in the hopes of "making a pond". Hard to do when it's just a pile of rocks on the ground. But I let him water the rocks, and he quit after a few minutes because he couldn't remember why he was watering them. I can't help but smile when he does stuff like that. He actually is getting joy out of pouring hose water on the stones.
I went over this morning to make breakfast, and he was alarmed as he "woke up and all the doors were open". The front and back doors were open a foot or so. Now, when I put him to bed, all the doors were closed and locked. Do I believe there was an intruder? Absolutely not. I believe he got up at some point, opened the doors for some reason, and went back to bed, never to remember that he did it himself.
And a question for y'all...does every dementia/Alzheimers patient wander? Dad does not. At all. Yet. But is it something I should be on alert for? Or is it possible that he never will try to walk away?
Thanks, y'all. I got my towel - wringing it hard - and you know how I asked for a purple one, Deb? Well, can I have a white one, too? You know - for when I surrender......
I just went to feed dad lunch, and he is in bed and does not want to get up. I am worried...he denies pain, just wants to sleep. Unusual and scary. His BP is good, 117/70, pulse of 58 and irregular...maybe I am just being overly protective.
Not every Dementia patient wanders. Many do stay still and are happy in an enclosed space. Other's search and roam looking for an elusive *something*.
Sadly, there are many of us who need help in curtailing our loved ones meanderings!!! Luckily, there are some of us who have *placid* loved ones. Wish mine had have been placid and pleasant *sigh*, she fought the disease every inch of the way with every ounce of strength she could !!! Trouble is, she took us with her!! Eeek !!
BACK TO DAD:
Let him rest, but don't let him rest so much that he confuses night/day in his routine. An hour nap then get him up by coaxing him to do something he loves (watering rocks ?)
Oh wouldn't HE have fun in the snow-ball fight? I don't get snow where I live, kids have never seen it ....... they can't even imagine my friend in Canada living in -40C !!!
... your loved one hasn't forgotten you ... the DISEASE doesn't remember you
Always good to hear from you!!!! You are missed when you are not here. Lots of hard questions little deb..... and you can have any color towel you want. How would a rainbow box do you
Congratulations on looking for a new house. What exciting news. There are two way to look at telling your Dad. You can think it is useless because he won't remember or you can just tell him over and over and let him enjoy your excitement each time. I have told my mom the same funny story three times today.... and she has enjoyed it each time. I have to smile when I think of cards that are sent to Dad. They entertain him for days bcause they are always new and the words fresh.... every time he looks at them. So tell him your news, enjoy the moment, and don't worry whether he remembers it or not. You can tell him again after supper.
Not everyone that suffers from dementia is a wanderer but the potential is always there. You never know when they will need to "look" for something. Dad is not a wanderer at all. Yet he has had a few episodes. The day he left home driving the van was scary.... and it was ONLY one time. If your Dad opened the doors last night you never know when he will go out that door. That in itself is enough to tell you that he doesn't need to be left alone at night. Obviously he is up during the night and if he doesn't need to be left alone during the day he doesn't need to be left alone during the night.
Any move is going to be unsettling for your Dad. Even having somebody come in 24\7 is going to be unsettling. Any change in the status quo unsettles them. There is nothing you can do about that. As Craft has found out.... it is normal to hear "they are worse than we thought" when they are introduced into a new situation. So the least number of moves make for the best.
If you do keep him in your house then you are definitely going to need some help. You can NOT be on alert 24\7. It is not mentally or physically healthy for you. As he gets worse it will be even more time consuming. If he does start wandering you will have to come up with a system to know where he is at all times. He may become grumpy in the new surroundings since they will be unfamiliar. Do you want to deal with that in the house with the kids? There's a lot to think about and much of it has to do with you.
Beyond your best guess the only thing I know is cognitive testing and evaluation, but it is difficult to get a evaluation on the complete situation from a single test or observation. I do know that the last time Mom was at the Memory Assessment Research Service (over a year ago) they said that no further testing would be productive. She had reached the outter limits of their testing. They suggested we keep a journal and write down any abnormal behavior. Not abnormal for her but abnormal for the normal person. That way the good moments won't overshadow what you see. That was for our benefit because it's human nature to want to believe the best. So I purchased a pocket calendar and made notes each day. It amazed even me that I had several items on every day. It was a wake up call. Even though she had good moments there were two to four times a day that something happened that showed she was not in control of her world. That was about the time we ended up moving them to AL.
The AL they are in is designed for ALZ patients. They do have their own apartment but meals, medication, and other care they need is provided. Those that are prone to wander have security bracelets that go off when they attempt to leave the facility except into the enclosed court yard. There are activities through out the day and outtings several times a week so they are active. Each occupant has a care plan and the staff knows which ones to watch out for and which ones need what care. They also have a separate unit for those that need more care and in conjunction with Hospice they can stay there until their last day baring major medical needs. Despite Mom's angst about not being at home it truly is the perfect place for them. It's lock down in an apartment complex.
Keep a journel and see what you come up with. Know that something has to be done, you just have to decide what. As somebody told me when I arrived her on the board all confused.... The patient is ready to move when YOU are ready to move them. So whether you get in home care and move him in with you, find an ALZ facility, or have somebody spend the night with him... you know it's time to do something. As for what to do. Any of the above is a step in the right direction. Remember.... nothing is forever....
Thanks for the suggestions! The AL your folks are in, Deb, sounds just ideal. I just realized, reading your post, that since he has not the slightest idea who the heck I really am, that being in an apartment where he is monitored would really be no more unsettling than moving in with us in a new house.
My feeling that I am being unfair to him at this point is due to the fact that I watch him try to walk from the recliner to the dining room table, and it frustrates him so much that he "can't take a damn step." He drops food on himself, and looks at me, embarrassed, saying, "Well, son of a b***h!" He may have forgotten how to count to 10, but he remembers how to swear! I have been keeping the journal you suggest, deb, for more than a year, actually. I record what he eats, how much, his BP 3x a day, behavior, mood, any activities we do, if he goes out, etc. Every now and again, I "strain his brain" with a few questions...how old are you? Got any kids? Where do you live?...and I have been shocked to see how quickly he has declined. Now, he gets no questions right. It stunned me today when he told me he had never married. He and mom were married 56 years when she passed in '04. So, I think the questions have reached their end. Since he loves his rocks, I bought a handful of polished colored pretty rocks, and he plays with them all the time. He groups them, pets them, tries to count them...all that is recorded. I don't know how much it helps to journal, but if anyone were to ask me anything, by gosh, I have the info!
I never thought about the possiblility that if dad can get up and open the doors, he can walk right out them. *sigh* That's just flat scary.
Gemini - I live in Colorado. Every winter, we slog around in many many inches of snow. I will box some up and send it to you! You can have a snowball fight all you want. The stuff makes me nutty. It's sooooo cold...
That sound you no longer hear is the cessation of the dragging of my feet. I must get some qualified help for him. The doc is no help. I am going to the Sr. Center tomorrow to get names and numbers...and deb....
Toss me that box of rainbow towels, k? The white one for surrender, the yellow one that won't show the coffee stains for wiping up dad's spills, the purple one just cuz it's pretty, and the pink one to lift my spirits. K? I will wait for their delivery.
The other ladies have given you good advice. I suspect that any move will be disconcerting to your dad. It might be easier to find the good AL now and just do one move. I didn't know my mom should not drive until we tried to buy her a new car. Thay can't learn anything new. I love the mental picture, and honor you for your patience, of your dad watering the rocks. Perhaps they will grow.
Wishing you all the best,
PS If you select a pale yellow towel it will also hide your own chardonnay spills.
Ah yes. Chardonnay. I remember when my life could include a glass of wine...but now, I dare not for fear that I may need to be "on" at any given time. How would it look of 911 showed up, and I smelled of a lovely 1984 Chardonnay, or a brisk 1994 Riesling? I can just hear it now..."Uh, Bob, you will never believe this. We responded to an 82 yr old male with neuro symptoms, and his daughter was there, just TANKED!!! Boy. It takes all kinds...."
Here's a question for you all...what the sam hill do you all do with our loved one's pets? Dad's dog is a sweetie. Stupid, fat, but just a doll. He can't take her with him. I refuse to keep her - I have a fat stupid CAT, and my daughter is living here with HER fat stupid dog.
Any ideas? I doubt I can find her a home - she's 8 yrs old. I hate the idea of a shelter, but...
That other fat stupid dog will end up with you. Amazingly.... the AL Mom and Dad are in does allow pets. They have to be well trained, vet checked, and approved... and the residents have to take care of them. They are NOT allowed in the dining room. But a few are there. I do understand that this is rare though. Try putting up a picture with an explination and a phone number around the neighborhood and at the vet's, or a classified in the paper. It would be worth a try. If you do have to do something else with the dog call the humane society. They will find it a home.
Nothing wrong with a glass of wine..... it's the fourth one that gets you in trouble. Love sitting on sister 3's screen porch with a glass of wine and my computer after a long day at AL.
Let us know how the search for help goes. In the mean time I have dropped off all the towels you could want. The brown and gray ones will blend in with the rocks. Those red ones are for asserting your authority over the situation. I'm taking back the white ones.... no surrender here
While you are shipping snow.... I will take a truck load. I can throw it up and watch if fall. Snow is rare here but so amazingly beautiful!!
And a final word..... There is nothing unfair about doing your very best to try to take care of your dad.... no matter what that best is. It may be with you, in AL, in a nursing home, or with 24/7 care... the best is what you can do.
Ah hon, I've been to th ER reeking of chardonnay. I didn't know my husband was ill until he wrecked my kitchen. Praise God the ER doc didn't assume we were some Virginia trash domestic violence couple and did the spinal tap anyway. I do understand, I'm afraid to have a glass when my husband is away, lest something happen and I have to protect my son. Surely you have no kill shelters in CO? There must be some soft-hearted soul who spends their time caring for the pets that health requires people to surrender. Maybe ask your local humane society?
Sometimes I just read all that you women have to offer and am so impresed with your words of wisdom for everyone.
I am just out here lurking at the moment..
I am in the middle of stripping two rooms to the bare core and building them back up again..well, paint, carpet, baseboards ..that kind of thing so I have been absent a bit....but all I can offer in this discussion is that mom's neurologist suggested we go right to a facility similar to Deb's parents. He said if we took her in with us it would make it even more diffcult later when we HAD to move her ... so we followed his advice and though she is lonely at times (natural) she is finding a life there.
Though she did have a break last night...also similar to the ones Deb's mom has...it is over a trip we have to take next week ...but I'll get to that another time...just wanted to jump in and hi...
Rocks, fat stupid dogs, razors that don't work. ..ahh the life we live.
I'm with Meg. I do come here often for the smiles. What do to with someones fat stupid dog. And the rocks that were watered. He had something in mind. Didn't he?? That was so sweet. My Grandpa would do similar things. It brought back a flood of memories. Some good some not so good. I'm sure its frustrating for little deb. But it does bring some relief to just laugh. You can't make this stuff up.............Its so good to know your not alone. Thanks for the smiles.
Oh No DEB!! Now ya got me scared! I'm a "rock person" too!
When my kids were little, the neighborhood children called me the "Rock Licker"......a title that still remains! I'm an avid gardner and use tons of rocks....all sizes and colors...(the absolute BEST ones come from Lake Superior!) I'd let 'em pick out one that caught their interest and give it a lick....they look so much better WET don-cha-know. Somehow I understand your Dad's reasoning......and bless your heart for letting him KEEP and admire his treasures. I bet they look beautiful when he waters them.....mine do!
I remember Mom having to take her little teapot with her to the AF when first going there 10 years ago. One brother made a big deal about what she wanted there...and why did we let her?? After seeing her tenderly watering that old African Violet from her teapot...I perfectly understood her reasoning.
There was a wonderful old man there one time also who loved talking about his fishin' days. I loved it when I walked by his room one afternoon and he was sitting on his bed with fishing pole out the window! Bless, bless, bless those caretakers for accepting what is and not questioning what seems important. Bless you too, m'dear!.........Pam
You're giving me goosebumps, Pam. I can just see the old gentleman, fishin' out his window...
It's days like today when I WISH dad would go a'rock huntin'. He is just sitting there today. Doesn't even want his beloved MSNBC on, not that he has a clue what is going on - but he likes the pretty women on there - and he is sure not talking at all.
You know, Pam, I was brought up licking rocks, too! Of course, if MY son licked a rock, I might be worried about him, but it was good enough for me!
And Q - just FYI - I stopped at the liquor store this morning and bought a very small bottle of Chardonnay. Can't wait to pour me a glass tonight. What a brilliant idea. Don't medicate the patient - medicate the caregiver! Simply brilliant!