He is still my Dad…Right?

December 15, 2009

Having an elderly parent that has been diagnosed with dementia of any type is never an easy pill to swallow.  Your first reaction is often “Well that is normal, right?”  All old people get forgetful, how hard can this be?  So we will just have to remind him of a few things once in awhile, no big deal.  He is still my Dad….Right?

Unfortunately for some this is not the case.  Along with dementia you often see, anger, paranoia, confusion and stubbornness.  Simple conversations sometimes turn into heated arguments.  I am sure we have all heard, “When your parent gets older you will become the parent and they will become the child.”  If only it was that simple or easy.  When a parent fights your decisions or instructions you cannot send them to time out like you did with your children years ago.  So you attempt to explain, reason, plead and pray that they will make the right decision and follow your advice.  Whether it is just a simple task of what to eat or wear or a safety issue such as turning in their car keys.  He is still my Dad…Right?

When your children were little you had the opportunity to teach and mold them as they grew and became more aware of their surroundings.  This is not possible with a parent that loses more of themselves every day.  They are not learning new things every day, in fact they are unlearning old things every day.  First the short term memory fades away and they forget from one day to the next that someone died, was born, or stopped by for a visit.  Not only do they forget but sometimes they will argue, that you are “losing it” and they know for a fact that Uncle Joe did not stop by.  Little by little you let go and stop correcting their erroneous memories and watch them fade away.  He is still my Dad….Right?

So you stop fighting and correcting their mistakes and you watch them begin to live in a world that they have created. In their world they are still capable of doing everything they did in the prime of their lives.  Any suggestions or advise from their loved ones is viewed as a direct attack on their intelligence, well being and independence.  So you begin to pray for them, yourself, your siblings and for all this craziness to stop.  So what do you pray for?  Do you pray for the dementia to get worse so that they no longer resist help or guidance, or do you pray that they go peacefully in their sleep so they go before you lose more of the strong Dad you remember.  The Dad that carried you home after the Fourth of July fireworks when you were too young and tired to walk, who’s arm you held as you walked down the aisle on your Wedding Day and the Dad you danced with  to Daddy’s Little Girl the day he gave you away…He is still my Dad…Right?

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Hello world!

December 14, 2009

For sometime now I have thought about blogging.  Asking myself all the questions that I am sure all you closet bloggers have asked.

  • Who would want to read what I have to say?
  • What will I write about?
  • Will I embarrass myself or more importantly my friends and  family?

Well it is “almost” a new year so I decided to take the plunge.  This past year has awarded me many blessings along with many challenges.  After raising my family and jumping into corporate america eleven years ago and building a pretty good career I found myself:  unemployed, dealing with a parent “long distance” diagnosed with dementia and PTSD from World War II and trying to figure out what I was going to do with the rest of my life.

I also found myself with many blessings such as  the ability to travel with my husband on business to Singapore and Australia for three weeks, the option to travel to my parents home to assist my siblings as we try to determine what is best for our parents and the chance to search for my true passion in life.  So it is true, every cloud does has a silver lining.

I have finally signed up for that art class I promised myself I would take “some day”, I have reconnected with old friends, and I started a BLOG!

I hope you enjoy learning about my life’s challenges and rewards and hopefully we can all learn from each other.  I cannot promise that my grammar will always be perfect, or that every blog will interest you but I can promise that we will have fun along the way.

Make It a Great Day!

Andrea