A Daughter’s Journey with Her Father’s Alzheimers

2016 has arrived. Although I love Christmas, it can be a wonderful and also crazy time of year. 2015 was no exception. My husband had shoulder replacement surgery on Dec. 7. And on Dec. 8, my older brother, younger sister and myself moved our Dad into long term care. He did not want to go and it was not easy to convince him to do so. My siblings spoke to him the evening before the scheduled move. And they talked to him again the next morning. No way, no how was he going to move and that was that! So lucky me had the task of going to talk to him.

I said to him that we had a “situation” and that his family Dr. and the specialist had decided that he should no longer be living on his own and that a place had been found for him. Otherwise, adult protection was going to happen. Dad was adamant about not moving. I then asked him to at least go and look at the place and the room. “Okay” he said and proceeded to get ready.

I quickly sent my brother a text when Dad was in the bathroom. Unknowing to Dad my brother and sister were parked nearby his apartment. Dad and I went out the door, I got him settled in the truck and off we went following my brother. It was a good hour’s drive and believe me when I say it was a very long hour! Dad continued to say that it was a waste of time and gas and that it was not necessary. He kept saying that the Drs. must think he was crazy and I tried my best to assure him that he was not crazy and that no one had said so.

Finally we got there, just in time. We had been expected at 10/10:30 a.m. and it was now around 2 p.m.! I had phoned earlier to say that we were delayed. Dad was not going to get out of the vehicle but he did so when I got out. I had mentioned to him that maybe they would have a cup of tea and a cookie.

The staff was very welcoming and not overwhelming. Dad was taken to his room and shown around. He went to have a cup of tea and some bannock. When that was over, he asked to leave. I had to tell him that I was not able to take him. And I warned my brother not to take him either. At that point, if my brother took him back to his apartment we would never ever get him to move and I would have to step away from the situation entirely. And since I am the only child that currently lives here…

Anyway it turned out that Dad was asked by the head nurse if he would stay for a month and be assessed and we were asked to quickly leave before he could notice. So we did. There was some paperwork to do in the office and then we left.

Fast forward a few weeks. Dad was a little upset at first but then he quickly settled in. He asked to have a bath and certainly enjoys the “big chair that lifts you up and puts you down”. My siblings went to visit him a few days after the move. They had dropped off some belongings for him and a new t.v. the day after the move but had not visited him on that day.

Dad was not exactly sure just where he was and how he got there but he liked the place. He enjoys the hot meals and not having to worry about asking us for groceries or laundry. The place is wonderful! Staff are friendly. They let him settle in on his own. One of the staff, a male worker, has suggested that they just let Dad be and it was the correct thing to do.

Near the end of 2015, my husband was able to go with me to visit Dad and we had a great visit. Bob got to show off his scar from his recent surgery. My Dad always enjoys having Bob around so it was perfect. On Sunday, I was not working so I went again to visit Dad. I called ahead of time and he was certainly happy to hear that I was coming.

The main concern that Dad has is that we will forget about him and that we won’t visit. So I definitely don’t want that to happen. Once Bob is able to drive on his own again, he can go and visit without me. And I plan on taking our female pug to visit as well. Once spring and summer come, both of our pugs can go and visit as then we can be outside.

So a new year is here! And I must say I love a new beginning. I worked over Christmas time and have just had the past 5 days off. I’m back to work this evening but then have a couple of days off again before doing a stretch of night shifts.

With being so busy prior to Christmas with my husband’s surgery and moving Dad, I’ve had lots to catch up on around the house. My sister had been here for 20 days and we were both busy at Dad’s apartment packing and cleaning, etc. Now the items that are left will be dealt with by my brother or brother(s). I still have to wash floors. It was certainly loads of work and it never would have happened without my sister’s help for sure.

So onward I go. I’ve been thinking of blogging again. At the very least I wanted to post an update.

Happy New Year 2016 !

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Daughter’s Journey With Her Father’s Alzheimers

July 1, Canada Day!

This will be my last post for awhile. As mentioned before, my direct involvement with doing things for my Dad has ended. My older brother takes over now. He has taken time off from work this summer and will be here.

Dad has his cataract surgery scheduled for July 9. There has been no change in the date. The Rx for the eye drops is on my fridge. I sent a reminder email to my brother about it and he asked me to get the drops, which I am not doing. My younger sister recently told me that my brother had asked her to come here this summer and give Dad his required eye drops. My sister lives several provinces away and does work full-time.

Her and I had a little discussion as to what my brother is thinking and doing. We wonder if he has realized what he has signed up for. I know that he is capable of doing so but wonder how committed he is. Being here for Dad in the summer and spending time with him and taking him to his homestead property is one thing. Having the added task of doing eyedrops  of two types 4 times a day for three days before scheduled surgery is just the beginning. After that Week 1 is both drops 4 times a day. Week 2 is 1 drop 3 times a day. Week 3 is 1 drop 2 times a day and Week 4 it’s down to 1 drop once a day.

Day of surgery need to allow an hour’s drive to the hospital and be there at whatever time in advance that is required. And the day following surgery is a morning visit to the surgeon for follow-up. It all adds up to a lot. Dad will be tired for sure. Plus needing to wear the patch afterwards and to exercise caution.

When I first found out that Dad was having his surgery so soon, I was surprised. I had hoped that he would already be living in long term care. And if we had taken the offered bed, he would be there already and the drops would be taken care of by the nurses. However, that is not the case.

Recently the geriatrician went to visit Dad. I  arrived late at Dad’s just after the Dr. had started. It wasn’t planned that way but would have given the Dr. an opportunity to see how Dad is when alone. The Dr. started out with his usual questions as to the time of year, the month, etc. When asked the year, Dad said 19 and then 20 but couldn’t say 2015. He said the Dr. was firing questions at him. He got up and walked away with his walker. Dad was saying that he knows the date and that it is on the newspaper that he reads every day. I’m sure the Dr. has experienced this reaction from patients before.

He told my Dad that he would not continue with the questions if Dad would allow him to take his blood pressure. So Dad came back and sat and allowed the Dr. to do that. So it ended up being a short visit!

The Dr. was going to send a report to Home Care. Him and I talked briefly about Dad’s name being on the list for a long term care bed. And also that a bed was offered but declined. Dr. N. knows that my brother will be taking over for the summer. So Dad will be seen again but not for some time, perhaps in December. Dad still expresses that he wants to continue living where he is and on his own. He says that as long as he can make his own meals and get around that he is okay.

I’m still finding this whole situation mentally tiring. My sister and I both agree that Dad should move. My brother doesn’t. I also found out from Home Care that my brother has asked them for their input and assistance in figuring out a way for Dad to stay living on his own. This was certainly news to me. I’m upset, actually really pissed that my brother would not tell me this development himself. It was making me feel that all my efforts have been in vain. My husband has said to me that my brother and I are in a “pissing match”.

At work I see families that have struggled with the decision to put Mom or Dad in “the home”. I see them struggle when they come to visit and when they leave. I hear the resident telling me that he/she is going “home today”. They have their plan that there is work waiting to be done. They are trying to figure out how to leave the building and how to get their drive. It is upsetting and depressing for all involved.

And so my journey continues. Earlier in June, I said to someone that no matter what happens, it will all work out and happen the way it is meant to. I need to find that optimism again. I want to lose the frustration and anger that I’m feeling. Whenever I’m over stressed, I quickly lose my sense of humour.

The sun is shining and the sky is blue. Going to take a few hours and get out for a drive and enjoy some of the Canada day festivities. My work schedule now becomes night shift.

To those of you reading, Happy Canada Day. Enjoy the summer.

A Daughter’s Journey With Her Father’s Alzheimers

I realize my postings have decreased. Not that thoughts of my Dad have though. Home Care went to assess him a week ago yesterday. My brother was there for that visit/appointment. I was starting my night shifts so had opted out. Since I haven’t heard back from Home Care, I’ll get in touch with them this coming week.

The geriatrician will visit Dad on Monday. I’ve already told Dad about this but will still need to remind him again. Its been a few months since Dad was last seen. Last week Dad said to me how his memory is going but he is still able to take care of himself and cook his meals, etc. Lately, I’ve had this sinking feeling that he will definitely not be open to moving anywhere.

Mentally I’m tired of the thinking that I do. June is coming to an end and so will be my direct involvement. My brother has arranged his personal leave from work in order to spend time with Dad this summer. After getting a recent email, I questioned who was going to be giving the eye drops following Dad’s eye surgery for his cataract. My brother has to return to work for 2.5 weeks during the summer. Haven’t heard the final answer yet.

A weekend off for me. Hubby and I are heading out to check out some places now open for summer and to get some plants at a garden centre. The sun is shining. The sky is blue. Wanting to enjoy the weather since we’ve waited so long for it to improve.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day so will be over to visit Dad and bring gifts. Have to decide re supper. He no longer seems to want to go out for a meal or even to come over to our place which is so close by.

A Daughter’s Journey With Her Dad’s Alzheimer’s

Last Sunday I volunteered with the local Alzheimers Society for their annual walk. The turnout of people was good. The day was sunny although windy. Although working in long term care and with dementia residents, I was surprised by the impact I felt. There were new faces along with familiar ones. For some the journey has ended with the passing of their loved one. For others they are barely underway. For many the road is a long one. I could see, hear, and feel the pain that comes with this disease.

I was able to acknowledge my own pain with recently having accepted a bed for my father and then having to decline it. The worry continues. The questioning continues. Guilt is acknowledged. Talking helps. Going through my mental check-list can be useful but exhausting.

A few days ago, I sat in my vehicle while on break at work. I left my keys in the ignition and had my co-worker Sam retrieve them for me. Arriving home from an appointment the next day, I realized that I had neglected to make my six month follow-up. There was another test that needed doing but the room was busy when I was arrived. So now I need to return to the ophthalmologist to have the visual field done.

Work is work and there is always something to be done. Downtime allows for catchup time. My days off have been too booked with errands and appointments. Despite this, I’m keeping up without any major mishaps. Looking at my agenda, I look forward to the few vacation days that I have booked for the summer.

Home Care will be seeing my father this afternoon and assessing him. I now have the paperwork for a chest x-ray and bloodwork. Dad’s family Dr. was contacting him for his address. For some reason they had his phone number but not the address.  Anyway I spoke to the office nurse by phone. I also stopped by the Dr.’s office and picked up an envelope they wanted to mail to my Dad.

Turns out some of that paperwork is meant to go to the Home Care office. The papers for tests were for Dad. Home Care has stated that Dad should be seen by his family Dr. before admission to long term care. Dr.’s office is saying that he doesn’t need an appointment. The existing confusion needs to be cleared up and not only for my peace of mind.

The more I continue on this journey, the more I can let go of frustration and allow for resolutions. The more I ponder, the more I tell myself that whatever the outcome is, it will be what is meant to be.

A Daughter’s Journey With Her Dad’s Alzheimers

Hello. I’m hoping that this post will show on Facebook. The last one didn’t and I don’t know why.

Last week was another busy one. Today I was over at Dad’s returning more laundry. Had picked some up on Wednesday. Some of the bedding that I took had to go back that night. WalMart carries Purity products, cookies and such, which he likes so dropped off an assortment of those as well.

Discovered last week that he has cataract surgery scheduled for early July. This will be the “second” eye so that will be a blessing. With my involvement as care taking ending the end of June, my brother will now has this on his plate so to speak. Dad also needs blood work and a chest X-ray since it has been a year. Another item for the list! A visit to his family Doctor is in order.

Last week I was pleased to get notification on an available bed which would meet Dad’s needs. I was thrilled although moving him in June was earlier than expected. Hubby and I checked out the facility after my 12 hour shift. Within 24 hours of me accepting the offered bed, I had to decline the offer. A 3-way phone call with brother #1 and sister #2 that evening meant finding out the my sister couldn’t come which I already knew. My brother wouldn’t come which was a bit of a surprise. So moving day is not happening next week. Hubby has a medical test next week, which we found out about on the same day as the bed offer, which meant he would not be able to help.

Since my father is unaware that he will be moving and I would be the one actually taking him in a vehicle once having told him the proposed plan, I quickly realized that a move in June would not happen. Some of my feelings were anger and frustration and resentment. However, I’m not an only child. Some of my siblings have been weighing in on Dad’s future. Factors needed to be considered. Some reasons for Dad not moving yet are “too soon”, wanting to give him “the summer” as well as further preparation i.e. having a conversation with him this summer about his immediate future.

Home Care and his geriatrician see him as needing to move. This is based on his age, his dementia, and his declining health as well as the fact that he lives alone with a very limited support system. Home Care nurse will visit him this coming week for an further assessment. The geriatrician will be seeing him later this month or next depending on how his schedule fills up.

I’m still feeling up-to-date with Dad’s caregiving that I do. I still feel that he needs more than I can provide and that he should not continue to live on his own. However, it is harder for me to keep up with the needs. Today in a conversation together, was an opportunity to discuss clothing in terms of his suits. In the past, I’ve taken one to the dry cleaners. However he has another suit that both my sister and I think is a better choice. After a short discussion, i was able to leave with the suit which I will drop off next week. Another item off my mental list.

I’m looking forward to being able to go and visit Dad without added responsibility. Father’s Day is coming and I happened to get his gift today when buying a baby shower gift.

Volunteering at the Alzheimers Walk tomorrow at the registration table. Hubby will walk, along with our two pugs, as a participant. Didn’t take on the task of fundraising this time so will make a personal donation. Hope weather is co-operative.

Thanks for reading. Thanks to friends, family and co-workers for all the support given to me.

A Daughter’s Journey With Her Dad’s Alzheimers

Its been too long since my last posting. Hubby and I were away for almost a week. We had a great road trip to our nation’s capital city. Spending time with my sister and brother in law is always fun. Time seems to be going faster now that spring is here. My yard has dandelions and the flower bed has weeds.

At the moment, hubby is running some errands and shopping. One item he is getting is some Werthers for Dad. There was a phone message request last night. I take the request as a positive sign. Recently I noticed that he had only one unopened bag. This is a first for him and even when I mentioned it to him, he was not concerned. He likes to have a candy after his supper meal even though he has had dessert and tea!

Dad has lost weight. Not sure how much but I notice it with his belt tightened up on his jeans. Last weekend brother #1 and his girlfriend had Dad on his homestead property. They were cutting grass and weeding flowerbeds. There was a picture taken of Dad and my brother. Although I see my Dad on a regular basis, the picture really showed the recent weight loss and aging in his face.

Last night and today my thoughts are of aging and death. Working in long term care, is a definite factor in this. Having an elderly parent is as well along with being in my 50s and hubby in his 60s. Good health makes all the difference in the world.

So many thoughts are in my head but I’m unable to process them enough to comment further.

A Daughter’s Journey With Her Dad’s Alzheimers

Monday evening of the May long weekend. I phoned Dad this afternoon to say hello. My brother, #2, was going to be here.  Dad couldn’t tell me if he was but said he had been talking to him. So I’m thinking that maybe he was since they don’t usually talk by phone. My brother would have been out at the homestead property. Dad made a comment as to his memory being not so good. This statement is becoming so common.

Hubby, myself and the pugs were out for a drive and walk on the beach. I mentioned lobster to Dad and he still was expressing interest so we made a quick stop and bought two cooked lobster . When I delivered them, he thought he had already had his supper of potatoes. I mentioned that he could still have some lobster if he was hungry later on. I know he isn’t eating much as he doesn’t have the energy to prepare his meals like he used to.

There were some unwashed dishes and unmade bed but nothing out of the ordinary. Dad loves Werther’s candies, the original ones. I noted that he only has one unopened package. He usually is well stocked on these. When I mentioned that he was low, he didn’t seem concerned. This leads me to believe he isn’t eating them as he has been. Another change. Usually it is one after meals, even when he has had dessert. Dad loves sweets and having his tea.

When at the local library last week, I got a few National Geographic magazines.. He mentioned how he enjoyed them as a kid as an uncle would bring them from the States. My father doesn’t have much education, maybe Grade 8, if that. He has always read the paper, and looked at an encyclopedia set that my parents purchased when we were young.

I reminded Dad that we would be going away the end of the week and of my work schedule beforehand. He needs some eggs so I will pick up some for him.

Glad that I stopped over. My availability is less now with being back to work. Dad does not know that I was off. I’m still worrying about him living alone as he does but……I’ve done all that I am able.

Worry, guilt, questioning, finding answers, is all part of this journey. It’s a consuming one for sure.