In my last entry I told you of Dad’s new and somewhat embarrassing behavior. Well, it has passed and we have moved on. An increase in his medication (Seraquel) seemed to solve the problem but not before he had to be moved to another hallway with less female residents. He has settled down now and we are so relieved.
Dad has regressed a bit more. He is less aware of his surroundings and seems to be more engaged with voices in his head. He sleeps more, even when sitting up, and doesn’t speak unless we prod him into doing so. He has lost a little weight and when I look at him, his face seems to be more gaunt than it was just days before. His vision seems to be fading and he is less stable on his feet. His geriatric psychiatrist tells us he has entered stage 5 of Alzheimer’s.
I am finding it more and more difficult to visit with him and that is a painful confession. He’s my Dad, or was, and I can’t believe I’m feeling this way. It’s just so hard to see him like this and I justify my feelings by telling myself he doesn’t know whether I’ve been there or not. That’s true certainly but he deserves better than this. I just needed to say it out loud because I don’t think I’m the first daughter to feel this way. When I started writing this blog, I promised to be honest about my feelings, hoping that someone else would benefit from my experience. I don’t know if anyone is helped by my confession today but at the very least maybe someone else will breathe a sigh of relief when they see that someone else feels like they do.
Most days I feel like I know almost nothing about Alzheimer’s disease but the one thing I do know is this…
You cannot place your loved one in a facility outside the home and expect them to be cared for properly. You have to visit and you have to visit often. You also have to visit at difference times of the day. In my situation, I am no longer the daughter; I am the watch dog. Inadequate staffing, under paid staff, and unskilled staff all add up to our loved ones not getting the care they deserve and in most cases, are paying a premium price for. So, put on your big girl or big boy pants folks and be the advocate your loved one deserves. As your loved one fades, your role changes. As I said in the title, we’re moving on. You will too. You have no choice.
Wishing each of you who are living with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis in a loved one courage, strength, and resilience.