Poetry - Poem about dementia or Alzheimer's 'Dad's Dementia'

Mum & Dad Christmas 2010
Mum & Dad Christmas 2010 | Source

This poem was written about my father-in-law who has become afflicted with the aging curse 'dementia'. Dad is now in what is more commonly known as his 'second childhood'. Each day he wakes and everything is new again, each day we awake to find a little bit more of him has ebbed a way. Dad has to be watched now, everything he does, everywhere he goes and it is really taking it's toll on Mum. Although Mum is older she still has her wits about her but she can't sleep for fear of what Dad might do if he wakes up in the night

This is the first time I've entered a hubpages contest. This is also the first time I have written something so current and so personal.

Dementia is a terrible curse, it makes us laugh when we should be crying and cry when we realise just how fragile the mind is.

Dementia is cruel, it makes it hard for the person to cope with normal day-to-day tasks
Dementia is cruel, it makes it hard for the person to cope with normal day-to-day tasks | Source

Dad's Dementia


Dad will be ninety

Very soon

He’s had a lifetime of changes

Happiness and gloom

He recalls his childhood

And the war that he fought

His recent memories

Are all but nought

In his mind he is

Way back in his youth

His memories converge

To reveal his truth

He wonders when

He is going home

And why he moved here

To be all alone

Dad’s mind is going

Much more each day

As his dementia gets worse

Blowing his memories away

The forlorn wife and

Forgotten son they bore

And sixty years of marriage

Are all no more


Dementia is cruel, the family suffer.  For as long as she can, Mum will take care of Dad she says he is her responsibility.  She married him, in sickness and in health...
Dementia is cruel, the family suffer. For as long as she can, Mum will take care of Dad she says he is her responsibility. She married him, in sickness and in health... | Source

Can you relate to 'Dad's Dementia'

Are you caring for someone with Dementia

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Mum celebrated her ninetieth

Earlier this year

Sharp as a knife

No memory loss here

Bright as button

Though tired and sad

As she tries very hard

To take care of dad

Knowing she is forgotten

In his memories

He thinks she’s the char

Who makes his tea

Sadly, she watches

As he fades each day

The love of her life

Slowly ebbing away

All their years together

Their trials and strife

Since the day they agreed

To become man and wife

All their lives gone forever

From his shrinking mind

Why does life’s aging

Need to be so unkind!


Well I didn't win the contest but the comments and emails of support have been great. Thank you all!

Just before you go...

Did you find this hub useful and interesting?

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Dementia - The Facts


Dementia is a disease of the brain that begins with forgetfulness

Dementia makes it hard for the person to cope with normal day-to-day tasks

Dementia causes mood swings and changes of personality

Dementia affects the persons judgement and causes confusion

Dementia makes the person more reliant on others

Dementia is a sign that the brain is dying…

Vascular dementia happens when the arteries to the brain become blocked, the brain is starved of oxygen and begins to die.

Lewy body dementia, overlaps with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Varying levels of confusion and visual hallucinations of people or animals are more common. Sufferers often have a tremor, muscle stiffness, falls, or difficulty with walking.

Fronto-temporal dementia affects the front of the brain more than other areas causing personality changes and memory loss.

Alzheimer’s is a slow developing disease that affects the chemicals in the brain that carry messages from one place to another causing the brain cells around them to die. This disease causes memory loss, affects thinking, and makes learning new information harder. Recent memories of people and places are forgotten. Familiar objects and people become harder to name causing frustration and depression. The sufferer may accuse others of taking things that they cannot find.

The thing about dementia is that the sufferer does not know that they have a problem. When you try to help them, they become angry or irritated. It is the husband or wife and the rest of the family that actually suffer.

© 2011 Leni Sands

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Comments 45 comments

leni sands profile image

leni sands 2 years ago from UK Author

brakel2 apologies for not responding sooner. I don't get on hubs very often these days. We are still getting over his loss...we remember him almost every day one way or another. Thank you for your comment.


brakel2 profile image

brakel2 2 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Hi Leni - What a wonderful poem about your father in law. It makes me sad that older people have to go through these problems. I had a friend with Lewy Body disease, and it seemed to come on so suddenly. May you remember the good times and know what a good person he was. Your poem shows off your talent. Blessings, Audrey


leni sands profile image

leni sands 3 years ago from UK Author

Times are hard Magdaleine and it is dreadfully sad watching someone you love disappear to this awful disease. Thank you for dropping by and apologies for the delay in responding to your comment.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 3 years ago from UK Author

Thank you innerspin. Apologies for the delay in replying but as you can imagine it is sometimes hard to find the time these days.


Magdaleine profile image

Magdaleine 4 years ago

Great poem, Leni. Wish all the best for your father and mother in law.

I also have one aunty who is in early stage of dementia. I am so sad and worried about her.


innerspin profile image

innerspin 4 years ago from uk

A very touching poem. Without memories, who are we? My dad had dementia, he used to bluff his way along not knowing who we were. It's difficult to cope with, I wish you strength.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you to everyone and teaches12445 who made comments - your support is welcome!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

My father suffered from dementia a few years before he passed away. It was sad to see him forget simple things because he would become so frustrated. Loving care and patience helps to comfort them as they go through these days. Praying for your family.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you Faith Reaper your thoughts and prayers are well received.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

Thank you for sharing your powerful story about your father-in-law. My mother has dementia. She is 83. It is hard to watch the decline. I am blessed to have a mother like mine. It does make you wonder what is actually going on in their mind when they are surrounded by people they have no clue who they are, but when they are their very family. And as another had made the comment, it may be a blessing in disguise that they have no clue they have this terrible disease. I pray that they are not afraid and that God gives them His peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding. In His Love.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you donnaisabella


donnaisabella profile image

donnaisabella 4 years ago from Fort Myers

Very touching indeed. Thanks for the information.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Brandon, Sorry to hear that both your grandmothers suffered from this terrible brain disease. Thank you for your kind words.

Dad is so much worse these days, his hallucinations are as detailed as a child's wildest imaginings, his confusion of his surroundings and interpretation of life are sad but at the same time fascinatedly, interesting and usually make us laugh but as sad before if we didn't life...well... As parts of Dad's brain shut down to loose yet another episode in his life 'like his marriage' and 'the birth of his son', it is so desperately sad, almost unbearable, watching his son and his wife coping. As an 'outsider' looking in I cannot begin to imagine, if I had been anywhere near that close to my own father, how I would have coped but cope they do with every new day dawning and the realization that this is actually the beginning of the end for this once steadfast husband and father.

Thanks for voting up.


Brandon Spaulding profile image

Brandon Spaulding 4 years ago from Yahoo, Contributor

I voted this up and beautiful. While it is sad, talking about someone's life is also beautiful. Dimentia is devastating. Both of my grandmothers suffered from dimentia. One for 15 years the other for a little less than 5 before passing. The description of your inlaw's lives together and how it is partially slipping away is touching, painful, and at the same time beautiful. I hate dimentia but experiencing it as I have with my grandmothers, it is also a time to appreciate their lives and the impact they had on yours and others. It is not always so easy to do when you are stressed with the cares of life. They are wonderful people though and its nice to know you can appreciate them no matter what.


Anaya M. Baker profile image

Anaya M. Baker 4 years ago from North Carolina

Thank you for sharing your story. I think the part that was most heartbreaking for me is how it affects your mother in law. She must be an amazingly strong woman. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

2uesday - thank you for your kind and thoughtful words.

ainehannah - thank you for the link, much appreciated.


ainehannah profile image

ainehannah 4 years ago from Dublin

A wonderful poem Leni, and a thoughtful hub. My own father suffered from dementia for a long time and I found comfort and joy in a poem by Brendan Kennelly called "I see you dancing, father":

http://www.poetryarchive.org/childrensarchive/sing...

I hope it gives you as much solace as it did me xx


2uesday profile image

2uesday 4 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

This is a difficult subject to write about especially in poetry, but I think this poem is wonderful in the way it captures not just the experience of the person but of those who care for them (in all senses of the word) too.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks ExoticHippieQueen it's nice to meet you. I am glad you liked my poem. I also enjoyed reading about your parents and your experiences. I hope we will keep in touch.


ExoticHippieQueen 4 years ago

Leni, my heart goes out to you. It's such a heartache, isn't it? I wrote about my dad, as well, who suffered with Alzheimer's. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

..my name is Colin Stewart on FB with the same profile photo - and yes I am still up after night shift work - amazing but true and I have watched the sun come up over the lake ....and now it's 8:45am and time for bed


leni sands profile image

leni sands 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Epi, I am pleased you like the photo's...are we linked on facebook? Leni Sands Author ! Have a great holiday - Staffordshire Moorlands Time UK is 13.31...


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

....wow wow and more wow - the pictures are fabulous here - your new profile photo rocks big time and yes the pictures in your hub and poetic tribute are truly some of the most beautiful I have ever seen - and will be posted to my Facebook page with a direct link back here - and this is one of my favorite pieces of writing in quite some time because it's delivered with so much love and of course your fine writing sensibilities ..... please accept my holiday greetings and a most happy new year with continued health and happiness ... lake erie time ontario canada 7:49am watching the daybreak over the lake after coming home from work


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

you are quite welcome


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks PDXKaraokeGuy, I needed that so much!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

best wishes and prayers for strength and patience to you, Leni


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you V Qisya.


V Qisya 5 years ago

Wow! I love it ;D voted up


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

I agree with you there PDXKaraokeGuy the victim of this dreadful disorder is actually unaware that they have a problem, the family cope or deal with each issue as it arises. We are currently experiencing the 'missing objects' that someone must have stolen. If it was so sad it would be hilarious. Thanks, Helena


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

wow. Good work, Leni. I'm sure this is heart wrenching to see and I hope this poem helped you to cope. My grandfather is in the very early stages of Alzheimer's and, I tend to think, it's much easier for the victim to deal with then for the family. The idea of being forgotten by someone who loved you is heart wrenching. Great work!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

I understand that, Leni. My parents were such amazing people all their lives. I've never thought I could begin to do all they did with the courage and strength they had.

But in reality - every person and every life situation presents its own unique challenges. It's how we meet the real ones we have which counts. For various reasons, I probably have no potential caregiver if I should become dependent (other than an insurance policy for long-term care in some 'home' or, alternatively, to have someone come care for me here), so I MUST stay 'with it'. I honestly wouldn't prefer that any of my family have to do it anyway, and the idea of being cared for by strangers galls me. I must stay with it!! it's a constructive challenge, actually. :-)

By the way, George's deteriorization was slow and comparitively easy, when I hear of others'.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Nellieanna - I look at my father-in-law and my mother-in-law and I marvel at her strength of being. I look at my partner and wonder if either of us would be as strong should one of us became the victim of this dreadful brain disease or if either of us would actually reach the grand old age of 90.

So sorry to hear about your father and your husband, Dad's was also set off by a heart condition and 7 years is a long time to cope. My hat goes off to you Nellieanna I know from reading your hubs that you have an inner strength and beauty that will out live us all.

As far as the spellchecker thing - it was nice to see your response and reminded me of how many friends I actually have on hubpages. I guess the button has always been there, like you it took me a while to find it and of course, every bit helps the newbies to find their way around.

Just going to hop over to your hubs and see what's new from you. God Bless you Nellieanna.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 5 years ago from TEXAS

Leni - my dad went that way and mother was still sharp. But even harder was to be the wife of my precious George as his dementia progressed. It was set off when he had a heart attack and actually died briefly, long enough to damage his short-term memory. For the following 7 years it progressed. He wasn't as bad-off as many I've heard about, but it took a huge toll and, of course, changed my role in our lives.

By the way, I wanted to mention that after I answered it, I'd realized that you wrote that question you posted way back and figured you no longer needed an answer. But since it had come up to the forefront to attract my attention, I did answer it and then figured if newer folks were also directed to notice the question, my information mightn't be wasted. I think the button on capsules had been there when I began but it took me awhile to notice it and put it to use! hehe.

Hugs.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you Pacific Transfer and richardmacarthy. Your comments are appreciated.


richardmacarthy profile image

richardmacarthy 5 years ago from United Kingdom

This put a HUGE lump in my throat as I know exactly how this is. My Grampy went through the same thing which was awful. But luckily he went before my nan as it would have been so cruel the other way around. You have my vote for sure, and this is the first one I have read.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks everyone. Writing about it has been very therapeutic. Learning about dementia and alzheimer’s has been an education and has enabled me to focus on what is important.

We see his Mum and Dad every day and try to help out where we can. We take his Dad out on Sunday mornings for a couple of hours to give his Mum a little respite but she won't let us take him out for the day or overnight so she can sleep and she won't let us help too much. She says all she needs is some sensible adult conversation occasionally now her husband has become another child to take care of. So we oblige as best we can.

It's hard watching people you care about suffer like this. His mother says she's ready for her box, his Dad says he wants some fish and chips in newspaper. Oh well, we all do our best.

Sometimes its dreadful to watch; other times its so funny you could cry. The hallucinations, the voices coming out of the pipes, the accusations of someone stealing his stuff...life goes on (and she says - it goes on and on and on) the sad blessing is that his Dad has no idea about anything anymore.

Thanks for your encouragement everyone. Please read my blog on blogger 'Dad's Dementia and follow our progress.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

Sadly beautiful.


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

You've done an excellent job of conveying the daily loss that your father-in-law's loved ones experience. I see such lovely souls in each of them and know without a doubt that this journey they are on is but another one of many they have taken. While she feels alone, she remembers him as her soul mate and no other could care for him quite the way she does. Support her, urge her to take breaks, give her time to nap. Guide her in ways to rest for she is focused on his needs and may have forgotten even how to care for her own.

Diseases that rob us of all of the moments of our lives are most cruel ... for it it the moments that keep us alive.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

Your poem is beautiful and sad. Dementia is heartbreaking for a family..Blessings..


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks everyone for your comments. Every day we see him there is marked change in his behaviour - he is at times like a child. Its very sad.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

It takes a strong person to write from their pain and loss and then willingly share it with others. I appreciate your courage, the beautiful poem about your mother and father-in-law, and the important information you provided about dementia and Alzheimers. Thank you.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Hello leni, thank you for sharing something so personal, it takes a lot of courage.

Dementia is so sad and cruel, my father has bouts of it now after his many strokes, my heart goes out to you and your mother in law.

The photos are beautiful as is your poem.

My very best wishes to you and good luck in the contest.


Lord De Cross profile image

Lord De Cross 5 years ago

Oh God! Leni!

My prayers for your parents. May God give them the strenght to carry on..is diheartening to say the less. I can imagine your own pain... being your own blood. Thanks for sharing this perosnal story. Actually I wrote a poem yesterday related to the issues, you'll find it!

LORD


The Suburban Poet profile image

The Suburban Poet 5 years ago from Austin, Texas

Nice work. My father has Alzheimer's... he is still living at home and his long-term memory is intact. The main thing was getting him over the hurdle of acceptance and to trust what we were telling him. So far so good but I know the end-game will be gut-wrenching... I've written a couple of pieces for him... Thanks for posting this....


SpiderBytes profile image

SpiderBytes 5 years ago from Wild Wild West

Wonderful poem. Dementia is a terrible disease. A friend's father suffered from it before his passing. He was one of the greatest men I ever knew and it was tragic watching him slip away. It was almost like he refused to let go of life both physically and mentally and it had to be wrenched away from him a little at a time.

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