A Daughter’s Journey with Her Dad’s Alzheimers

Last night I was questioning when I last posted. Time has been moving fast lately. I’ve been off work on medical leave. That alone can confuse me with dates. Plus with the delayed weather, it is doubled.

I’m returning to work on May 12. Excited and nervous about going back. Have missed the residents and my co-workers. Realize that I’m going to feel a little lost and will have to get up to speed as quickly as possible. It is time to return though.

My Dad is continuing to decline. Yesterday was not a good day for him. I brought over some heated stew for his supper. His stomach was bothering him. He said he didn’t have an appetite. He did sit down and attempt to eat. He had made himself some coffee prior to me getting there.

His hearing aid needed a new battery. Trying to remember, think it was Sunday, that I was there and it needed a new battery that day. I went to his bedroom and got a new pack of batteries He was able to replaced it. First though he put an old battery in and I had to point out the new package. I found myself picking up the paper to distract myself so he could be independent.  The little tab that you pull off ended up on the floor. So he was standing up and trying to pick it up. It ended up under the chair. Once I told him where it was, he was able to get it. In the meantime, I’m looking at the paper and trying to remain patient and not jump in to help. And crossing my fingers mentally that he is not going to fall.

Dad had mentioned that his next door neighbour had been in to visit and had been looking at his plants. Yesterday, he continued on with this storyline and said that she had just walked in without knocking. I know his neighbour and it didn’t seem like something she would do. Plus he usually has his door locked, and sometimes even the storm door.

I wen over to the neighbour’s door to chat with her. She is just a sweet woman. I’ve gotten to know her a little since my Dad moved to these apartments two and and half years ago. I haven’t spoken with her over the winter months. So she told me that she had rescued Dad’s paper off his lawn and put it between his doors. She had also phoned him to tell him what she had done. She looks out for my Dad a little. Has my phone number in case of emergency. And I live just five minutes away. I’ve never actually timed it! Sometimes say just a hop, skip and a jump.

When I left, Dad was still wondering about who the woman was that entered his apartment. His confusion is increasing. I had given him a fern last fall that my neighbour needed a home for. She had it outside last summer on her patio. Dad was mixing up that plant thinking it was his neighbour’s plant.

As I ramble on about the plant, I think I’m sounding like a person with dementia. For those of you reading, and know the type of conversations that you can have with the elderly who are confused, you will understand. And if there is no one reading, then it doesn’t really matter.

Dad mentioned his memory yesterday and how poor it is. It was one of the first things he said. Another topic was his stomach pain and lack of appetite. Plus the plants and his female visitor. He had the news on and was mentioning a guy who my younger brother knows who is a pig farmer. I got a glimpse later of that and learned that the fellow is running in the upcoming election.

Before leaving, we had a shouting match. My Dad didn’t like me talking to the neighbour about him and the plants. He told me to keep my mouth shut or something along those lines. And actually did the zippering of his mouth action. I argued back which wasn’t wise. I pointed out to him that I loved him but that I was not going to change who I was for him. I continued on to say that he does things that I don’t like but……

Brother, #1, is sick with a bad cold so he is not able to be here this weekend as he had planned. My hubby will go to Dad’s today to remove one of three lightbulbs from his bathroom fixture. He had replaced bulbs but Dad finds the light too bright. I’ve been thinking this is because of his cataract but now think it is his dementia.

it is so sad to see him declining. He is struggling to maintain a connection with his world. He is trying to make sense out of what is happening. He comments on not being able to hear when the hearing aid is in but the battery is dead. Other times, he is making statements of apathy in regards to his meals, what he ate and when he ate last.

He appreciates my being there. He does thank me. He clings to me when I go to leave most of the time. Not physically but it is the “one more thing” like Peter Falk in his Columbo character. Yesterday, I said I had to leave as my husband was waiting for me to have our supper together. He calmly replied that Bob could wait.

I guess having him be like I mention above is better than him yelling, cursing, and criticizing me. And instructing me to “go on”. I’d like to refrain from engaging in a shouting match and having the last word. When I do leave and not engage he gets to have the “last word” but commenting on my action. I remember I used to leave the living room in his former apartment and go to the bathroom. Then he would make a statement to my husband about my action.

And so it goes.

Looking at my word count, I think I’ve set a new record.  I’ll save a few other updates for coming blogs.



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