Alzheimer's Caregiver A Case Study 11-15-10

In Memory of Win

walking my wife down the isle always asking why he was wearing orange tshirt
walking my wife down the isle always asking why he was wearing orange tshirt

Dealing with Alzheimer's on a daily basis

Now I have tried many times, to write about watching my step father fade away with Alzheimer's, this time I need to do it. See before I wanted to tell my story so maybe you could learn something from it, now I need to write about it to survive it myself...

See it all started 15 years ago when he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's... He was not in the end stages, he was diagnosed very early, medicines would slow the progression down, but it would get worse over the years...

My mother and him discussed it at great length, what was his wishes, what did my mother want, what if this happened or that... Well they decided that no matter what he would not be placed in a nursing home if at all possible. But if he became violent he would have to be placed somewhere.

Back then he would forget little things, but not like you read about most of the time... He would forget something he had to do later that day, or the next day.. Where he put a tool or a piece of paper... It really didnt become an issue until he started to do some really foolish things in his hobby (buying and selling cars). That is when we first noticed that this could become a problem. But he still drove he knew where he was going, looking back I am going to guess this was a mistake.... See he would head out to do something and end up somehwere totally different. But he is good at covering that part up. he still is...

When my mother finally took his driver license it was very hard, he didnt understand, even when we all talked to him, he thought we were trying to steal his freedom from him, to this day he still complains that he doesnt understand why he cant drive... Just today we had to discuse it again...

Alzheimer's  is a tough thing to watch but I cant even imagine trying to live with it, I have watched as he slow forgets more and more things, now almost on a daily basis. I am thankful to God that I am able to help out...

As time goes on I will try to relay alot of what I have had to deal with over the years as I became more and more of a caregiver for my stepfather. but for now I want to discuss the current problem and what it means to us.

Can you imagine not knowing your address?
Can you imagine not knowing your address?

What Is My Address I Dont Remember

Until now I never really seen him going crazy inside of his head, but that is why they say Alzheimer's is a strange illness. It all started about 2 months ago, he would not know where my house was... See he comes here 5 days a week for me to take care of him while my mother works... She has to work because we didnt catch the Alzheimer's soon enough and he made some really bad mistakes with his money...

He would ask where we were, what town was this called... My stepdad is 82 years old, and lived here all his life, so he still remembers when there was dirt roads where the highway is now... He started asking to go by some of the places he lived when we were out running around... Then about a week ago, he started asking where do I live? At first I thought he was joking, because I would mention something and he would know exactly where he lived...

Now today the hospice nurse stopped by to see him, make sure that everything was OK, and that my mother and I didnt need anything... Well they asked him where he lived, and he tried to play it off, I tried to help him with a mention of First Ave... a dirt road that runs along my parents property that has never been paved... Normally he jumps right on that and says ohh yeah, thats right I dont know why I forgot... I then mentioned his neighbor for 30 years, he still didnt know, then I watched his eyes...

Damn it was scary to stop and think, forget about how bad it is for me to try to help him every 30 minutes with where does he live, how crazy I felt some days after answering the same question for the 101st time... But for the first time I could almost see into his world, try to picture it for a minute, the address of the first house you lived in, you know every inch of it, you can see it, but you have no clue of the address, not even the town

Totally Lost

I mean he could be standing right next to his house and I dont think he would know how to get home... See my parents are surrounded by several thousand acres of woods except for one neighbor.

I have been so lost I didnt even know where to stop and ask for directions, but can you imagine, not even knowing what state you are in, know the name of the street you grew up on, 3 milies away, and not even know you were in the same town...

I hope that this is the first of many hubpages about this illness, and that I am able to shed some light into a very dark and scary world. I dont know how I would be able to handle it, the thoughts racing through your head, and then being embarrashed to ask where do I live again??

Until the next time, I hope that if you have an aging family member that you take time out of your busy day and stop by and see them... Even for a few minutes brightens their day...

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