How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Alzheimer's: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Mom has finally, reluctantly agreed to give home assistance a try. Mom has got to have a few hours respite time that is all hers. She takes care of dad 24/7, and while he is ambulatory and otherwise physically fine, the common Alzheimer’s symptoms are getting worse: he asks her the same questions over and over again, is a bit snippy, is easily frustrated,  has trouble conversing, and forgets where he places items. Mom also lays out dad’s clothes now because he can’t match them any longer. For example, if left to his own devices he’ll wear a red button up dress shirt with a pair of green jogging pants. Yes, mom deserves a break. Her guilt gets in the way though. She thinks she should be doing it all for my dad, all the time. Just her. No human being can do that. Maybe I’ve finally convinced her that she needs help.   

            The only problem left with bringing assistance into the home is my dad. He will fight this tooth and nail. I know him. He’ll say, “I don’t need a babysitter” or “I can be here by myself”, but he can’t. Not safely, and not to the point where my mom could ever go off to lunch with a friend or go get her hair cut without wondering if dad was okay.  We’ve had some close calls. One day this past summer when mom made a short trip to the grocery store, my dad decided to clean the interior of my son’s old Mustang. When he got into the car he closed the door and then he couldn’t figure out how to work the door handle to get it open. He panicked. Thank goodness, he finally rolled the window down and crawled out. When mom got home, dad was very agitated. It must have been 150 plus degrees inside the interior of that car. The situation could have become a disaster if it hadn’t occurred to my dad to roll the car window down.  

            So, back to the home care point of this little blog entry: Today mom and I met with a woman from a company called Home Instead. Dear Husband picked dad up earlier in the day and they drove to the family cemetery under the guise of filling in some gaps in the Coley family genealogy research (it was needed info though). While Dear Husband and dad were snapping photographs and riding back country roads, mom and I were meeting with the Home Instead representative at my house. We were able to arrange weekly assistance (companionship, light house keeping) to come in to mom and dad’s home for four hours on Friday’s. As soon as dad gets accustomed to a strange woman being in the house, we can increase the hours. The goal, of course, is to give mom time to actually leave the house, but this is going to have to be accomplished slowly.  All of this is called “therapeutic lying” because we are going to have to convince dad that the assistance is there to help mom with the house, not “babysit” him. And really, it’s not a babysitter, just someone to be there if he gets too confused. Peace of mind for my mother to have some time to herself.

            I now have a headache.

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