Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Dementia and the Fourth of July

I remember a time when my family looked forward to the holidays. We made grand plans, spent time swimming, fishing, preparing large meals, and simply enjoying each other’s company.

This Fourth of July holiday weekend did not go as planned. Four days off, I dreamed of working in my flowers, doing a little sewing or scrapbooking, watching a fireworks display with my husband. 

But, as one of almost 44 million U.S. adults caring for an older family member (my Dad) I found myself trying to find Dad, cooking for Dad, replacing oxygen tubing for Dad, cleaning up multiple accidents created by Dad. Even sleeping was difficult, Dad was up prowling around the house two or three times a night - waking the dogs and the rest of the house.

Caring for an aging parent is hard, do not let anyone tell you it is not hard.  It is also rewarding.  As I walked into my family practice clinic the day after my not so wonderful weekend, I had to take a minute to decompress before seeing patients.  During that few minutes of peace and quiet I realized, Dad would be humiliated and heartbroken if he knew all the silly and sometimes risky things he did this weekend. 
See the blessing to this weekend is Dad does not realize how frustrating and even angry I was with his behavior.   He has Dementia.  

He does not always understand the concept of time or meal schedules. He often does not know what he is trying to find. Sometimes he cannot remember why he walked into a room. 

Caring for an aging parent is hard but, it is a role I have accepted.  The role of caregiver was once his role, now it is mine. So, we move ahead. We develop a bathing schedule, a better nighttime routine, set the door alarm to keep him safe, add a paid caregiver to help out, and keep moving forward with Dementia.

I would love to hear from you, let me know how you deal with or plan to deal with aging parents.
~ ConnieKayA ~
A Southern Girl sharing her passion for living an abundantly blessed life.