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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bits & Pieces of My Father

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative: Raising Awareness & Funding Research

My father has had Alzheimer's for such a long time. He hasn't know who I am for at least 7 years. I first noticed the symptoms after he suffered a head injury in a car accident. He participated in a number of drug studies at The Ohio State University. He continues on medications which help mask the symptoms - it's hard to imagine how completely UN-functional he would be without the meds.

My Mom moved him to an Alzheimer Care Facility a couple of years ago when she could no longer take care of him at home. She still feels guilty about doing this. She shouldn't.

When served a meal, he would ask "What is this?" and "Do I like it?". Mom always identified the food and assured him that he liked it, and he ate. While visiting my two younger sisters,he asked about his plate of pancakes. Mom told him they were pancakes and that he liked pancakes. He ate his pancakes. Later that day, he asked about the mashed potatoes on his plate. One sister told him they were pancakes and that he liked pancakes, so he ate his mashed potatoes. Must to my mother's chagrin, my sisters continued to identify all his food as pancakes for the remainder of his visit. Dad didn't care - he has always had a good appetite. He no longer asks about his food, but he continues to eat everything put in front of him.

2 comments:

Marilyn said...

You are right, your Mom should not feel badly about putting your dad in a home where they can care for him, especially doing it at a time when he was still functional enough to properly adjust to the new surroundings. We felt the same way when we were encouraged to put my mil in a nursing home for the reason stated. But it was so obvious later that it was the best thing for her because later on she would not have been able to adjust. If we had kept her at home longer it would have made us feel better but would not have been best for her. I thank those understanding advisors who knew how the people with Alzheimers needs are best met often.

dejablu503 said...

I think Alzheimer's is one of the saddest conditions I work with as a hospice caregiver, they call it the long goodbye for a reason... the decline can go on for years and years. Caring for someone with it is full time job, and nearly impossible at home unless you are rolling in money and can afford around the clock help, most families have to admit their limits have been reached sooner or later. My very best to you, your mom, and your dad. Give him lots of protein, it increases brain function and allows the retention of memories, it can even help some victims reclaim some of the already lost memories for awhile, which can be a great comfort to them and those who love them. Your mom can get great support from her local hospice group if she needs it, they can also help your dad deal with on-going changes and frustrations.

95% of the clients I care for are Alzheimer's clients, usually end stage, the rest are non-compliant dialysis patients & a wide assortment of feisty end stage terminal clients...I appear to have a knack for dealing with difficult situations.... I sure love my job, it's a new adventure hourly!

Andee