Folks with Dementia need schedules, consistency, regulations. They remind me a lot of 3 year olds. Dinner needs to be at the same time each night, also bedtime. Daily routines can vary, somewhat, but they have to know what to expect later. No surprises.
I say “folks” because, unfortunately, this is not my first go round with this damn disease! My mother, Sarah, passed away last year. She suffered several years with Alzheimer’s and her only sister is now deep in it’s throes.
I did not witness my mother’s early battle with Alzheimer’s. She lived next door to, and then later, with my sister. My sister and I had no experience looking for signs, or dealing with this disease. My mother always was a drama queen and had to be the center of attention (so I come by these traits honestly!). My sister and I were annoyed that she didn’t remember the simplest things; despite being reminded over and over again! When she was finally diagnosed (in the hospital, after a small stroke), we were unprepared for the long physical and emotional journey we would take with her.
Needless to say, I Never expected to have my sweet guy travel down this road! And certainly – not at this age! But I must say; dealing with my mother, I have learned a lot about how to care for my guy. I have huge amounts of patience; something I had to acquire because God did not gift me with that trait! I am his voice. Especially in the mornings, he simply cannot find his words. He tries to tell me something, but every other word is “that Thing”. We play a lot of charades at my house! I work, full time and get off work at 4:30. I am home, no later than 5:00. He expects me. I am his advocate. I constantly read and research this disease and pray they find a cure – like next Year! I go to every doctor’s appointment, court appearance (when necessary), I am his driver. I make sure he takes his medicine each day. I am his entertainment. I make sure he eats well and naps often. I am his love. I am his life.
None of this would be possible without my sweet, loving sister! It takes a village. As much as I hate that she is dealing with this (again), I thank Jesus every day that she is here to help us. She goes above and beyond, daily, to help Doug get through his day. She makes sure he has a good breakfast, actually swallows his pills, and tries to see that he rests.
He still goes out and works on the rental properties, every day. Mowing, cleaning, doing repairs. He needs to feel useful. He gets so frustrated if things don’t go the way he thinks they should. My sister and I spend a lot of time trying to make that happen for him. I know we are in the early part of our journey. I thank God every day for this man and I appreciate every day Now. I know what’s down that long, horrible road. I treat each one of these days like what they are. A Gift.❤️