Stage 7 Alzheimers...My Dad
My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers 10 yrs ago, and he was in stage 1. He is now 84 as of Dec. 2012. He is in stage 7A from what I can gather. He had to go into a nursing home 2 yrs ago from incontinence as my mother could not physically handle it at her age. It was horrible having to see him go into one, but he is in an excellent place. I wish I could care for him in my home and wait on him hand and foot, but I can't do the "changing" for the incontinence since he still knows Im his daughter. He would be very embarrassed. Mom does not want that. My husband still works too, and we can't afford a nurse to live with us 24/7, so we had no choice. Mom goes over to be with him 5 days a week, and my sister and I see him twice a week, and our husbands too. My niece works there as well as an RN. That is a real plus.
He is totally healthy otherwise. He could not walk at all at the end of his 7th year with it. The walking was a gradual decline with a weak gate, then the walker, then falling once in a while, then one day he just could not stand anymore. Not a thing you can do about it. During the 9th year he became fully incontinent. He speaks very little now but when he does on rare occasions, he has said up to 6 words in a row with full meaning. He can still read aloud with some coaxing, and is fully aware of understanding us when we talk to him. He does not converse though. If we ask him something like 'do you want a glass of water" he will shake his head yes or no and sometimes he will say it. He still remembers my sister and I and our mother by name most of the time, but that is all. He can sit up in a wheelchair but can't sit up on his own. He has to be placed into it. He eats real well, sometimes on his own and sometimes he has to be fed. He takes over an hour to eat a full meal. He has to have full care with showers, getting dressed, and the like.
He used to be super athletic, the outdoorsman, extremelly attractive man, an active senior citizen always on the go, traveling, and its so hard to see him stuck in a wheel chair. Its so very sad. He seems to be content and happy where he is, but its so hard on us. My mother is coping well, lives in her own home 10 minutes from me and my husband, and sister. We are each others support during this time of sadness. Dad is otherwise doing fine, so Im thinking he will be here a few more years even. He gets lots of attention and visits from us. We take him on strolls outside when the weather permits. He smiles, is gentle and kind, and never has outbursts or things like you hear about with the end stages. We are so very thankful for that. he sleeps well at night too.
What a hard disease to deal with. I am sad every day, and I am not the same. I probably never will be. We are a very very close family, and this is so hard. I cried everyday the first 1 and 1/2 yrs he was in the nursing home. I missed him being with mom, and knowing he was over there in his own little room alone at night. It is however a first class care center that has lots of activities, and entertainment, parties and such. We are so thankful for that.
Our strength comes from each other, and our God. We cherish each and every day we have with him. He still smiles a lot, and has some of his funny personality that shines through still that is priceless. I pray all the time that he does not forget out mother. That alone would be a miracle, but then again, miracles do happen.