It’s -11 degrees outside this morning. That’s too cold for any living creature to be outside in the elements.
As I sit here in my warm little home sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee, there is an elderly man lost. He has Alzheimer’s and has wandered from his home. All the local media outlets are airing his photo and asking the public to be on the lookout for him but the chances of him surviving are slim. My heart aches for his family and I pray that someone, somewhere, saw him and took him in. I pray he is safe and warm because this could so easily have been my Dad – before we got smart.
If you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, please contact your local law enforcement. Ask if they are enrolled with Project Lifesaver. And if they are, get your loved one registered with them. To learn more, click the link below. If the gentleman mentioned above had been registered, he would be safely back with his family. It could have saved his life.
Christmas came and went and so has the first month of this new year. Dad continues to lose ground slowly. His hearing has faded and his vision has gotten worse. He sleeps more and paces less.Food no longer teases his taste buds and meals are just part of a routine. I wonder sometimes if it’s just the disease or the lack of stimulation. Dad now refuses to participate in group activity and prefers to just be left alone. His sense of humor is still intact and he loves to laugh with both the staff and his family. Laughter was prevalent in our family and even Alzheimer’s isn’t powerful enough to rob us of that.
There are days when I feel guilty. Sometimes the guilt is about not wanting to visit as often. Sometimes it’s about not taking care of him at home. I’ve learned to live with the guilt but it still hurts sometimes. My Dad didn’t deserve what Alzheimers has done to him but this disease simply does not discriminate.
When I started this blog, I hoped that in sharing the experience, others might be helped by knowing they weren’t the first to feel angry or sad or, afraid. After all this time I still feel all of those things from time to time. I cry easily over the smallest of things and am surprised when the big things don’t affect me at all. If I’ve learned anything at all it is that I have a lot more to learn and I am expecting 2015 to be full of hard lessons. We can’t hold this disease at bay much longer. That much is evident. The medications (Namenda and Aricept) gave us a bit more time with Dad and the Seroquel has helped to balance the fear and confusion that Dad must have felt as his senses lost their connection to rational thought. Now, it feels like we’re watching a light bulb burn out slowly. Every now and then there is a flicker of bright light and then it pales again. Each time leaves me wondering if it is the last and I am always surprised when I catch myself hoping so. The guilt comes in waves again,
If there is a bright light here it is that my Dad is content. He isn’t suffering. He doesn’t miss his family and friends but we sure miss him.