Dad came to visit
Dad had to see the dentist yesterday morning; after that we stopped by my house before turning to the nursing home.
Dad lived here over 10 years. Has not been here since Oct 22d. He did not recognize it all. None of it, not the family room, his bedroom, his bathroom, the back yard where he had his garden for so many years.
The pets were thrilled to see him! Riley was in his lap before he even settled in the chair (she is on the arm of the chair in the photos). Willy hopped right in his lap too. Sparkle visited with him (don't think she is in the photos) and then Crystal - the one I always called "his" cat, I was just her servant, lol. Kept taking photos, sorry they are a bit blurred.
Crystal in his arm in the first 3 photos, then she took a poke around on the table. As you can see, she dove right in to get his full scent, lol.
Of course the dogs visit him often, and Sparkle went in to visit just yesterday. Crystal hasn't seen him since Oct 22d; she has only in the last 2 weeks started coming to me for petting and sleeping on my bed with me at night. She kept holding out for his return.
It was nice to see him here, but strange as he had no idea he had ever been here. He did not know where his bedroom and bath were I had to show him.
That's such a bittersweet story, Sandie. Will he ever be able to come back home for good? I think about you and him often, but didn't want to pry by asking. Okay - so now I'm prying!!! :eek:
He sure seemed happy to see all the furkids, but such a shame that he no longer recognizes what was his home for so many years. It makes me teary just thinking about it, and all of his issues. Sending lots of good wishes Dad's way - and for you too.
Good to see your dad Sandie. He sure looks happy seeing the fluffs and kittys!:)
Awww, I got tears in my eyes looking at the photos. Both happy tears and sad ones. I have also been wondering how he was doing. Apparently I missed the thread that he was staying at the nursing home back in October.
I do hope he will be able to come home soon. Obviously "his kids" miss him!
Hmmm, I guess I didn't post what was happening here on PT; it was all during the holidays, quite overwhelming. I know I wasn't on here nearly as much as normal. I did spent a lot of time on the Caregivers Forum run by the Alzheimer's Assn. That is extremely helpful. It is for all types of dementia not just Alzheimers; Dad has cerebral vascular dementia, not Alzheimers.
Dad hasn't been home since Oct 22d. First 2 weeks in hospital, next 3 weeks in Rehab at place we had not used before and it was horrible! Back to hospital for 3 weeks, again to Rehab on Dec 8th and that time I made sure he went to the place we used often and liked. On Dec 17th, Dad and I met with his endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) who was surprised I thought Dad would be returning home. He said quite plainly that was not going to happen, Dad needed too much care. I spent 24 hours crying, and then the next 2 weeks I set about proving him wrong.
This doc had never met either of us before, no way he knew anything. Well, guess what? Everyone I talked to agreed this was beyond the ability of one person. It took ages to talk with people as this was the holidays lots of them were off, out of the office, etc. The VA, the staff at the Rehab, the nurse at the senior center, once they reviewed Dad's most recent hospital record, nope, can't do it, he needs a nurse 24 / 7. Made for an extremely difficult holiday season! I did put up our tree - first time doing that alone, cried like crazy. Dad never did see it.
Once I came around to the fact that Dad had to be placed, needed to get with his atty to figure out how to pay for all of it -- and like the others, she too was out for the holidays. Finally got things organized and as of Jan 14th he was in long term care. No, he will not be returning home except for visits.
I must say, his Case Manager from his health insurance was very understanding and kept extending his medical benefits while I came to terms with the situation, and then got things sorted out for his placement.
Dad has many many health issues - his entire endocrine system is under attack, an autoimmune thing. The first signs of this appeared when Dad was age 14. Several of his illnesses are progressive: diabetes, and dementia being the primary 2. What happened was, his diabetes advanced in one big jump, and with his dementia, it became a constant life threatening situation. For 5 weeks, his blood glucose levels would soar into the 800s and then plummet to the 30s, cycling like that twice every 24 hours! It was awful. Seizures, convulsions, and with his dementia, he was not able to give any indication by saying: " I don't feel good," "I'm getting hot" (low blood glucose) or cold (high blood glucose), so he needed eyes on him around the clock to monitor what was happening. He lost 14 pounds in those 5 weeks and at several points we thought this was the end. I was not even allowed to take him out for ages as he was so unstable, so I had Christmas Eve and Dad dinner there with him.
The diabetes stabilized, they completely changed ALL of his medications in the process. He still needs quite a bit of monitoring. So no, he will not be coming back here to live. He has gained a total of 25 pounds since Jan 1!!! The place is large, 168 beds, with a strong Activities Dept. They offer activities 3 times daily, morning, afternoon and evening. The morning and afternoon, there are 2 or 3 things happening, folks attend based on their abilities both physical and mental. Dad eats in the dining room for lunch and supper; everyone has breakfast in their room. A person with dementia needs 5 hours of socialization per day. Here at home, he was getting about 8 hours per week. Now he gets the entire 5 hours easily. They have him in the PT room, he is up to 15 minutes on the exercise bike daily; that bike has never been used so much! He had been doing 20 minutes on the bike at the Y up till Oct 19th, so he is almost back to where he was. He is strong physically, again. But the dementia . . . he has about a 4 second retention so it is difficult to have a conversation with him. I mean, I can't go in at 1 PM and say, "So how was lunch?" He has no idea if he had lunch or if lunch is still to come and forget asking what he had.
I go in almost daily, and sometimes twice a day (if I am doing his laundry, for example). I go at different times and sometimes just watch and observe what he does with him knowing I am there. I can see how the staff interact with him, and how he is coping. It was heart breaking the first 3 weeks, he kept saying Take me home! Get me out of here, I want to go home. Now, he seems quite settled in there.
Its been a hard adjustment for me, as well, but I am getting through it.
So good that your dad got to visit home, and although he may not have remembered I hope he had a good time seeing the place. I bet the fluffs give his spirits a lift :) Pets can do amazing things for all people- especially those with dementia!
I'm so very sorry to hear of the problems your father has been having. I work in an assisted living dementia "neighborhood" and know how devastating the disease can be for families. Particularly hard to manage diabetes with those with dementia because they cannot verbalize how they are feeling- mostly relying on behavioral cues which isn't easy. I'm so glad to hear he is doing so well in his new care center- socialization and activity does A LOT for those with dementia in keeping them happy and actually slowing the progression with the disease. You sound like you are doing everything you can to do right by your father- kudos to you!
That's so sad. It must have been heartbreaking for you when he kept asking to go home, and probably not knowing why he couldn't ----- and now he no longer even knows his home.
I've been fortunate to never have had to deal with dementia or Alzheimers in any of my family. I know the basics, but in a nutshell, what is the difference between the two ~~~ if you feel like answering.
Bless you Sandie, for all you have done for your Dad for all of these years, and all that you continue to do. It takes a strong person, for sure, and not something that all can do.
Oh my........more tears shed here. I did not realize you were going through so much. I am so sorry Sandie. I am glad to hear things are settling and he is in a good place.
The owner of the company I work for, his mother had Alzheimers. He said it was so difficult to watch her go through it. So my heart aches for you.
I do love the huge smile he has on his face in the photos! :D
Thank you Cindi. Yeah, I just sort of shut down for about 6 weeks, didn't really tell anyone what was happening except my cousin and a few close friends here locally == who insisted on dragging me out for meals as I about stopped eating, too.
Originally Posted by Taz_Zoee
Dab20, thanks for the encouragement, it is quite a journey, traveling the dementia road with a Loved One.
Ellie, there are more than 20 types of dementia: Alzheimer's, early onset Alzheimer's (seen in people as young as age 42!), cerebral vascular, Lewy bodies, frontal lobe, Dementia associated with Parkinson's disease, the list is long. The first 2 are now thought to be a third type of diabetes! Many dementia patients crave carbs, as diabetics do. The causes are different with each sort, the treatment varies somewhat though not as much as we who have to cope with it would like. Medical science still doesn't know much about it all, so many of the meds are the same, a 'one size fits all' solution at this point in time. The meds slow the progression of the disease, but there is no cure for any of them.
The biggest thing with Alzheimer's is that the person wanders, you likely have seen reports in the paper locally of someone who wandered off and there is a search on. That symptom seems to be typical to Alzheimer's with very little if any occurrence in the other forms of dementia.
Alzheimer's and frontal lobe people frequently become violent during Stage 4 of dementia; again you just don't see that in the other forms.
The stages are similar for all forms. There are 7 stages in all, my Dad is late Stage 5 / early Stage 6.
Another frustrating thing for us dealing with that the dementias seem to take on specific traits in certain people, but again medical science doesn't know when, who or why. Some people develop Alzheimer's and it progresses rapidly, with death in 2 to 3 years. Other people experience a very slow progression, lasting 20 years or more.
I am so sorry to hear this Sandie. It is so heartbreaking for you; knowing that it was best for him to be in a facility, but also knowing that you could no longer do everything for him. It does sounds like this is a wonderful place for him.
Hi Sandie, I just read this entire thread and got tears in my eyes. Hon, You have had alot on you. It had to be (and probably still is)hard and sad for you that your father cant stay home and has to be in a place that can take care of his needs. I am sorry it has to be that way; it was wonderful and loving of you to want to do it yourself but it would have been too much as you were told. I've never had firsthand experience with a loved one who doesnt remember his home but I know it would hurt me to the core.
May I ask... does he know you? and your pet crew? Does he recognize them? I think it's sweet that they know him. I'm sorry things are the way they are and he cant get better. It's a good thing he can be at a place where he gets the care he needs. We do what we have to do. You're both in my prayers.
Kay, he knows who I am about half the time, Kay. The rest of the time he just knows I am a friendly face, someone he 'should' probably know, and he is safe with. That last bit is important, as he is still willing to leave and come with me to doctor appts. At some point in time, he may not feel that way and then we - all Caregivers for people with dementia - have to pay one of the CNAs to accompany him to the doctor and dentist visits.
He knows we have fluffy white dogs -- he has not been able to tell them apart for 3 years and never remembers their names now. I can tell him that is Willy in your lap (when we go visit at the NH) and a few moments later he is asking, which one is this?
I should say, he knows we have fluffy white PETS. He has not been able to tell if it is a cat or a dog for over a year now.
I'm so sorry to hear about all you've been through. I always followed you and your dad when he was still at home and didn't know what had happened when I didn't see any more pictures or read anything.
What a bittersweet story, I love the pictures and thank you for the explanation of everything. I've just learned a lot from what you wrote. Ihope your dad can keep seeing his furry little pals, he and they look so happy together again. Very heartwarming. I admire your strength and courage, your dad is lucky to have you as his daughter...
Sandie, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I didn't realize that things had gotten so bad.:( I'm glad he's getting the care that he needs and that he's able to visit his home and all of your furkids too.:) I know that all of this is extremely hard for you. Please take care. (((HUGS))):love: