Monday, August 4, 2014

Making Memories: Part One

Danskin Family
Sherriff Family
Both of my parents grew up in the 'burbs of Boston.  The lifestyle of the 40's and 50's were embraced by the community.  Family was a primary focus and gatherings were important.  Mom's family was small and distant and she wouldn't build those relationships until later years in life.  Dad's family was amazingly close.  Tons of photos are proof of the importance of these relationships and it is a value that Dad still carries and projects to this day.

After his mystery duty with the Navy, Dad returned to the Needham Fire Department where he excelled at his work.  But the violence towards those in public service grew and the tension was too
much.  They sought out new work and found a unique opportunity almost on the other side of the country.  It could not have been an easy decision but Dad's family was confident that this new start was a positive one and they supported them as always.

In the early 70's, Mom and Dad packed there three kids in to a VW hatchback and hit the road.  The destination?  Glasgow, Montana. Dad was part of a brief reactivation of Glasgow Air Force Base. The base was reactivated as a SAC dispersal base from 1971-1976.  Dad was part of the safety team that would secure the closing.

Let me tell you about Glasgow, Montana.  We lived in housing on the air base.  Montana - big sky country - but in Glasgow it was flat.  Flat flat flat and cold.  1972 was historic in the weather books for Glasgow.  on December 8, 1972 it was minus 35F with winds whipping around 36 mph.  That led to a wind-chill factor it reached minus 59 below zero.  We were locked in the house and we knew it was cold when Dad reached for the door knob on the inside of the house and his glove stuck to the frozen knob.  I remember being scared for him as he left that day to do some work.  When he came back, just 20 minutes later, his mustache and beard were doubled in size by icicles.  We couldn't wait to get out of that area and would then head to Lewistown, the exact center of the state.

It's important hear to recall Dad's involvement with the fire department.  When he wasn't working for a department he was volunteering.  It was so ingrained in our minds that even to this day I double check to make sure the toaster is unplugged.  But this didn't stop us from being kids.

It was a nice summer day in July and Dad was working.  Mom was visiting with a friend next door and that friends' kids were joining all of us in the playhouse in our yard.  Then we noticed our oldest brother head to the side of the house.  For the next 45 minutes he and his friend worked diligently to fill the hose with gasoline.  They were successful.  And when they draped it in the yard and lit a match - well - that would be the end of his privileges for the next three months.

These are stories we share with Dad.  We had many adventures across the country (we would drive from Boston to Montana twice, once in 1971 and again in 1976) and we never regretted any of it.  Mom and Dad ALWAYS made the best of whatever situation was presented them and Dad continues that even to this day.  He accepts things he cannot change and always has.  He thanks God for his blessings each day and patiently waits to be reunited with his love.

It's tough to tell if his memory loss is accelerating. From 2008 to 2010 we saw rapid loss and it seemed he was taking a nose dive in to Alzheimer's.  There were moments of grace and now he seems to be on cruise control.  Coasting along, oblivious to the reality that those around him are witness to, but comfortable and happy in his reality. And we know, and I've often shared, that when your loved on is in a state of dementia/memory loss, it is no longer about us or the reality in which we exist.  We must work around their reality.  We must affirm them where they are while we dance around to keep our reality balanced.  The details of our life are no longer important and often just adds to the confusion in their mind.  It can make them socially uncomfortable and it pushes their sense of self-worth farther into the abyss.  We must be focused on them when we are in their midst whether physically or on the phone or in letters.  We share stories and we make them smile and we affirm them as the important person they are.  We love - simply - no strings attached - no agenda - we simply love them.

Don't ever stop making memories and don't ever stop taking photos.  For we see the elderly as distant from us but we are not so far from being  'them', ourselves.  So embrace every moment and embrace everyone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back In the Saddle Again

There is a saying that says "time heals all wounds" but i disagree.  There might be a particular type of healing but it is not the healing that one so desperately seeks upon being wounded.  Rather, what time does is makes things different.  It is not easier.  It is different.  It is not all better.  It is different.  It is not all right.  It is different.

Mom passed away two years ago and the wound is still very much open and very susceptible.  True, the tears are not as frequent but they are still as painful, still full of raw emotion and can still be set off by the slightest thought, image or scent.  I still long to hug her again and to talk with her.

Dad is doing remarkably well in his new setting.  We did get him in to an assisted living facility that specializes in memory care. It is a small place, about 16 residents. The staff are absolutely wonderful and the program he is on is helpful just as long as their accounting team is on the ball.

Dad has a cost-share for his residents and medical needs and it is based on his income.  Even though we supplied the company with both sources of his income, they neglected to include one of them in their figures.  Fast-forward many months and we get a letter stating they neglected to include his retirement and decided that we were not being charged enough money.  We suddenly had a bill of over $6000.  So where was his retirement check going?  Bills.  Bills and more bills.  Thank God they were there and I'm happy to report that his bills are all paid off - except this big one.

We started a fund raiser to help keep Dad where he is because we need to pay this off next month or risk him loosing his housing and assistance.  The site for the fundraiser is

We have reached out to his brothers and sisters in the fire fighting profession as well as the forest service.  Several people have given but we have a long way to go.  We are praying that people will have open hearts and pay it forward by giving to this needy cause.

So back to Dad.  His health, besides his Alzheimer's, is very well. He walks and requires assistance when bathing but all other personal duties he still manages to take care of on his own and for that I'm truly thankful.  Dad is still able to maintain a high level of dignity. He is always dressed properly and walks around with a big smile on his face.  To speak with him for a few moments you would not know anything is slowing down but then you realize he lacks the ability to lead a conversation.  One must always be ready with question and statements that he can respond to.  He enjoys walking down the pathways of his youth and speaks with his brother at least once a week on the phone.  Together they discuss childhood school chums, the house they grew up in, and the places they would sneak off to.  Dad can still walk you through his childhood home including the exact address and where everything was in the house. Unfortunately he cannot so easily describe his current residence and gets confused between this place and the place he shared with Mom.  Dad speaks often about "going downstairs" to see what's going on when, in fact, he lives on one level and activities take place down the hallway.  He knows he is eating well but will never be able to tell you what he had even five minutes after eating it.  The staff tells me his appetite is fine and that he enjoys his sweet treats.  THAT will never change, I'm sure.

He speaks of Mom often on the phone with me.  He stays he speaks with her and kisses her photo good morning and good night each day. Several photos adorn his room and we are constantly talking about her.  He is beside himself when he learns she has been gone for over two years.  He does not remember exactly what happened but he knows that she is waiting for him and that someday they will be forever together.  Their love has not faded.  You can hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes.  His love is not here but his love is still caring for him.

As the disease continues to progress I find myself torn, now living a distance away so that I can not see any progress (or decline) on a daily basis.  Perhaps I do not need to see those signs but I feel lost not experiencing them.  Dad loves the fact that I am where I am and that I'm continuing to pursue my dreams.  A validation that I needed, although I am fully aware of how self-serving it is. Not sure why I need to be absolved of my absence but it is what it is and I wrestle with it daily.

I'm glad to start up this blog again the absence.  Truth is, it was tiring me out.  For those of you who have followed all this time I'm sure you can see how that can happen.  Burn out, perhaps.  It was a long journey but it has not ended yet so after some resting time I'm "back in the saddle".  As always, thankful for those of you who read and support all of this.  And a special thanks to those people who have helped, financially, with our fund raiser.  Your generosity touches all of us deeply.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Your Stage Time is Limited - Enjoy the Good Notes

Dad's caregivers at his home (we call it The Manor) are amazing people.  They do tell me everything that happens but they also make sure I'm ready to receive the information.  Sometimes they sit me down, other times they tell me in a nonchalant, 'by the way we got this' way.  It all depends on how I'M doing and they are very keen to figure that out at every visit.  Let's face it - there are times you don't want to know if your loved on is wetting the bed or refuses to shower, etc.  Some information is not required in order to love them.

And that's where I'm struggling.  I WANT to love my father as much as possible so I feel its important that I know everything that is happening.  But the reality is - I don't need to know everything.  I know everything that I NEED to know.  Even as his Power of Attorney I need to understand that as long as I'm proactive and a participant in his care, I know what I need to know for today.

This week I'm taking a HUGE step.  I am NOT going to a doctor's appointment with him.  His nurse from The Manor is going with him.  I have discussed any concerns with her and with his doctor beforehand and I feel OK about this - not totally - but I feel OK.  As I said, its a huge step for ME.  Dad will be fine.  The nurse has an amazing personality and has traveled with Dad before.  It's just a follow up exam, blood work and medication check.

This weekend was extremely difficult and I spent a few days considering whether or not this is information I need/want to share with people.  At this point there is more and more information that I will NOT be sharing for two reasons.  First, for Dad's privacy and respect.  And second, because I know that people in Dad's life would rather remember him the way he was.  Although I do not fully understand that, I respect it.  For me, there's no question of being there all along the journey even through the shadows of the darkness.  But I understand how people would not want to be there and would rather sit at the porthole waving and encouraging him as he enters.

This past week, for reasons we will never know, Dad went through two of his photo albums and two photos on his wall, and cut them up and threw them away.  There were over 100 photos, easily.  Gone.  They showed me his garbage bag.  I cried a bit.  Then Dad and I talked about it and he had no explanation but seemed upset to learn that he had done this.  I immediately realized I should not have brought it up to him.  There are things that happen that we simply MUST let go of.  It makes absolutely no sense to bring it up.  It's like teaching a cat to sing.  I assured him things were fine and simply asked him to let me know if there is anything in his room that he wants removed or that he would like added to it.  He liked that idea.  My partner is going to try and digitally repair the photos and fortunately most of them are in digital format already.  We also removed the scissors from his room.  We're not sure how they got there to begin with but that's another great mystery in a group home setting like The Manor.  Sometimes things disappear and other times things magically appear.

Dad loves looking at photos with me.  I use my iPad and, thanks greatly to my Uncle Keith (Dad's brother), I have a lot of photos of his youth and extended family to show him.  He loves people and places and even the most insignificant photo can bring him joy IF he can connect it to a positive memory.  We look at them every time I go over to see him.  We spend about 30 minutes looking at photos and then about an hour or so playing Rummy (which, by the way, he still kicks my butt in!  The score yesterday:  Dad

There are four things I say every time I visit my father.

“I love you.” 

“Don’t worry, I have everything under control.” 

“You are safe.” 

“I’ll take care of it for you.”

Each time I hug my father good-bye he thanks me for being there.  You see - it doesn't always matter why something happened and it doesn't always need "to be fixed".  I teach voice lessons and when I speak to my students about mistakes I remind them that mistakes are done and you must move on.  No amount of explaining or rolling of eyes or self-loathing can fix it.  It happened - move on.  The time on the stage is limited and you gotta enjoy all the good notes.  So it is with life - enjoy the good notes.  As for me - I'm still trying perfect my Rummy skills!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Day the Phone Was Attacked

Remember the coffee maker story?  We went through three of them in one month with Dad.  Well today we say farewell to his cell phone.  Here’s how it went down.

Dad must have dropped the phone or ‘something’ happened and he figured it was broken.  But he took it a few steps further this time which is a little puzzling and, well, frustrating.  It appears he attempted to rip the phone up like he does all of his mail after reading it.  Into little tiny shreds of paper, and then places, doesn't toss it, but places it in to the garbage.  Then he wraps it in a bunch of toilet paper and hides it at the bottom of his trash bin. 

Later that day Dad told a caregiver he can’t find his phone so they helped him look for it.  No luck so they told him that they will let me know.  Meanwhile, Dad hands her the trash like he does every day and they take it for him.   She takes it down stairs and they go through it and they find his phone.  But no battery or back of the phone.  Just the phone, in two pieces, just like you see in the picture.  *Heavy sigh*

I will order Dad a land line phone in his room and start the hunt for an old fashioned, corded, slim line telephone.  If he destroys that then I believe we’ll resort to smoke signals and telegraphs.

On an interesting note, Dad has no idea that he even had a phone and no clue how he talks with people.  He doesn't recall getting visits from me every day or phone calls from family. It’s absolutely heart breaking because on the outside, and in his tone of voice, everything is normal. There’s nothing wrong.  And again I’m reminded, “his reality not ours”.  It’s about what is happening this very moment.  What happened five minutes ago or five months ago doesn't matter.  What the future hold is not important – it’s right this very moment.  Talking with family, with friends and caregivers. That’s important.  Those small moments that never seem to matter to us until now. 

Don’t take the next five minutes for granted.  They will never occur again – ever.  Do as much as you can with right now in spite of the world around you, your circumstances, your demons, or your worries.  It’s about right now.  Now go –--------------- live.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finding Home

Corner of Dad's new room
Where do you feel most 'at home'?  For the patient with dementia, that can be a difficult question to answer.  Although surroundings may be somewhat familiar, finding one's way around the familiar can suddenly become UNfamiliar.  They will often start by commenting before they go somewhere such as, "well, I guess the bathroom is down this way so I'll make my way down there for a moment".  Then it progresses to double-checking.  "the bathroom is down the hall, right?"  Signs may seem like the logical thing to put around but to many patients it feels elementary.  Why put a sign that the bathroom is to the left when I know where the bathroom is.  They do not realize that the reason they know its there is because the sign is working.  But they take the sign down, and then wander around the home, trying to act like they are just 'walking around' when, in reality, they are trying to get their bearings - trying to figure out where they are and where things are.

My father had a rough day on moving day.  Our family had already moved everything in to his new place.  I set it up and decorated it, made it look like he lived there for awhile, hoping the familiar would bring him some comfort.  On the drive from rehab to the assisted living, about 20 minutes, he was convinced we were moving to Florida.  He reminded me that we needed to get his ID changed and to alert everyone of the address change.  He said he didn't need his winter jacket anymore and he was looking forward to the warmth.  I felt I was letting him down.  I let him talk like that for awhile but to be honest, it began to bother me and grate on my nerves.  I told him we're not moving to Florida right now.  He was surprised.  Disappointed.  

Another corner of Dads new room
We got to the new place, Luther Manor, and he was greeted with many warm smiles and a few hugs from residents and the nursing/care-giving staff.  We went to his room and he recognized, immediately, his desk from when he was a child.  The door to his bathroom was a mystery to him.  Every couple of minutes he would open the door and proclaim, "oh, there's my bathroom.  It's nice and big".  He would close the door, look around for a few minutes, then notice the door again and repeat.  I have to be honest - it bothered me.  Not in a, "oh what's happening to my father" way but honestly in a, "really?  again?" way.  That's normal human response.  It can get irritating at times BUT the key is to NEVER show it - NEVER let the patient sense you feel that way.  I decided we, or rather I, needed to walk so we walked around and saw the rooms.  I left Dad there close to dinner time but he asked me, "am I staying here tonight?"  I said, "yes Dad.  This is going to be home for awhile now for you."  He hugged me tightly and said, "thank you for all you do for me.  I'm glad you're here".  

My father is a kind man.  He is ready with a smile and loves to talk.  In the coming days I would learn that Dad did not spend much time in his room but rather would sit in one of the two living rooms or the dining room area and talk.  He would talk with anyone who would listen to him.  

Terri and Dad, April 2013
The last report from Dad was that he really liked the place.  I'm worried when the weather gets better how he will feel about the place being locked and that he needs to be supervised when going for a walk.  The staff assures me they will accommodate him but I'm not sure they realize how much Dad loves to walk.  Perhaps the grace in this scenario is that Dad's legs tire easily now, his knees get weak and he walks very slowly.  From  behind you would think you were watching a 95 year old man shuffle from here to there.  He believes he has no problem walking and that he walks at a normal pace.  When he is asked to pick his feet up when he walks he does for about four steps then returns to shuffling.  I'm guessing it feels safer to shuffle, more stable, and allows him to feel that he's more in control.  

He talks with his brother almost everyday on the phone.  He loves those phone calls.  His heart smiles when they talk about the old days and how each other is doing now.  Dad talks about how he is almost the elder of 'the clan' (his Aunt Barbara has him beat, still going strong in her 90's!).  Dad is ok where he is.  I'm relieved and my heart feels peace knowing he is safe, surrounded by great people, and has a smile on his face and his cup of coffee in his hand!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Long Overdo Update

It was exactly one month ago today that Dad had a fainting/dizzy episode that landed him in the hospital for five days, and then rehab for almost four weeks (one year to the day of Mom's memorial service, too).  The conclusion:  Dad's blood pressure drops quickly and randomly and he experiences moments of great fatigue and weakness.  This is one of the many unfortunate side effects of advanced dementia    In rehab he was fairly successful in learning how to use the walker however, the concept of 'having' to use it is one he continues to fight.  I tell him daily that he needs to have it on walks outside of his room because it will help prevent a fall.  I also remind him that another fall could seriously put him in the hospital for a very long time.  I hope we can continue to reinforce the concept of the walker whenever he leaves his room.  I tell him its for safety - not that he's old - but just for safety.  

The nurses and staff at Heritage Village have been outstanding.  Today some of the nurses and staff expressed sadness in sending Dad home but joy that he is able to leave.  They have enjoyed his kindness and smile and he's a pretty low-maintenance patient.  

Much paperwork has passed between my hands and others as we ready for his transfer to assisted living.  He seems to be OK with this next step and I'm confident that we used enough of his personal items to furnish his room, that he will feel he's in a familiar environment.  I spoke in length with his Doctor on the phone and then went to his office to sign papers and arrange to get Dad a Medic Alert bracelet that states 'dementia patient' and 'DNR (do not resuscitate).  That was Dad's wish before he was declared incompetent by physicians and my role as activated power of attorney for healthcare is to carry that out.  The paperwork is on file at the doctors' office as well as the assisted living facility and the local hospitals.  Dad signed them during his time of competence several years ago and I have updated and confirmed his wishes with my signature.  I am completely confident that the medical staff and care givers around him are properly updated on his situation and that the paperwork is up to date, proper, and most importantly, down to the letter as far as Dad's wishes are concerned.  

Dad's memory right now is not good.  He still remembers distant memories but even those are slowly fading.  He remembers Mom and the three kids.  He says he still talks to Mom every day and in his new place there are pictures of them all over the place.  

My conversations with him are trying and tiring but I maintain a smile and pretend that whatever we talk about is brand new information - because for him, it is.  The conversations usually make a full circle right now about every ten minutes.  It's hard, I'll be honest with you all.  I get emotionally tired but I hear his voice and watch his eyes and he truly believes he is saying things for the first time.  So we go with that.  He deserves the utmost of respect and it would not be respectful to call him on it or become irritated.  I watch my tone of voice and body language very carefully.  Any hint of negative reaction from listeners may result in him shutting down and not talking.  We absolutely don't want that to happen.

Dad enjoys another card!
He still loves the cards and letters.  My dear friend Sher has been sending him about a card a day with different photographs of nature and wildlife.  He adores them although each time I introduce him to her when a card arrives.  We will place all these cards in a photo album that he can go through a lot.  He loves looking at them and the cards of everyone else.  Uncle Keith sends him photos with small stories on them.  He adores those and they are all hung on a bulletin board for him right now.  something we will arrange at his new place very soon.  Thank you again for sending him a card and/or letter.  If you do not have his current address please let me know and I'm happy to email it to you.  When it comes time for you to think to yourself, "I've sent him enough he's probably tired of getting them" remember this:  every single day is an absolutely new day for Dad.  He has absolutely no recollection of the events of yesterday or the past few months.  He is not sure if he's been where he is for one day or one year - the important thing to remember is this:  today is the most important day for Dad.   your participation in his day means the world to him.

There are four levels of care in the place he's going.  He is on level one right now.  Required is assistance while bathing and supervised walks outside.  He will have a shower time twice a week but won't have someone actually bathing him.  They will putter around his room and bathroom while he bathes in case he needs assistance.  The nurse in charge will work with me the first week to make sure I'm up to date on the procedures and safety protocols of showering and bathing and then, once passed, they will allow me to be the person to be nearby.  Hopefully that will make Dad much more comfortable with showering.  Better a trusted family member than a stranger-nurse in the room!  

A well -deserved dish of ice cream!
He will eat in the dining room which is set up much like a regular dining room with about 8 nice, wooden, round dining tables.  They said they will seat him at a table with the other man who is there.  dad will make the second guy, surrounded by 14 women!  He will be in heaven, for sure.  They make homemade meals there everyday, nothing ordered out or brought in by a 'factory'.  Dad will still be able to get his coffee in the morning and his beloved bowl of ice cream in the afternoon (some battles are no longer battles when you get to this stage in life!).

Outings will be limited for Dad in the beginning.  He has not done well on outings for actually a few months.  He gets very confused when we return to home, not knowing if he's been gone a few hours or a few days/weeks.  i will keep up with daily visits for a few weeks and then, for both his benefit and my emotional health, I will dwindle the visits to every other day. He still remembers how to dial my phone number on his cell phone and I am only 15-20 minutes away from his place.  

As this disease continues to rob Dad of his memory, we anticipate down the road that Dad will begin loosing some of his abilities to care for himself and, eventually, he will begin loosing muscle and motor controls and function.  They are prepared for multiple levels of care at Luther Manor.  When the time comes they also contract with Horizon Hospice, the same hospice that was so gracious with us while Mom made the transition from this life to life eternal.  Horizon agrees to come to Luther Manor so we do not need to bring Dad to the hospice.  Of course, depending on the situation and circumstances at the time, our decision will be appropriate.  Meanwhile he is in good hands.  Terri has seen the place and approves.  Her daughter  Nikki has worked in assisted living facilities and agrees that this is one of the best around. She said she would love to work in a place like Luther Manor and that if she ever had to go in a home like this, this is where she would like to be.  The small, intimate nature of Luther Manor at River Oaks (the full name of the place) seems to fit Dad perfectly.

Kurt and Dad, fire department
tour, April 2013

This is not the end of Dad's story by any stretch.  Each new day will continue to bring challenges and rewards.  Last weeks' adventure at the local fire station will be re-visited many times over and next week a large editorial will appear in the local paper highlighting Dad's life achievements and the special way a local fire department decided to honor him.  I'm so proud of him.  He continues to make people around him smile.  Everyone adores him - he is kind, generous, and still opens doors for the ladies and says thank you and please all the time.  He is the perfect gentleman and he makes friends very quickly.

Dad on a fire truck ride!
Before I close I will share a funny story with you all.  some have read this before but its so cute it needs repeating.  A few days ago I was putting things together in Dad's new place and one elderly lady asked if the new guy is good looking.  I told her I look like him but add about 30 years.  She looked me up and down and said, "you'll do in a pinch!"...a second lady close by took my hand and said, "we don't care about his looks, how's his 401K and his pension plan!"  TRUE STORY.  Oh yeah - we'll have to keep our eyes on these ladies for sure! 

As always, peace, love and prayers to you all...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Decisions Are Hard to Make

Dad celebrated his 72nd birthday this year.  I took him to lunch at a local diner and he had his BLT.  The waitress put a candle in his sandwich.  He got a kick out of that, as you can tell with the smile that's on his face.

The place he lives had a Tea Party that same afternoon so Dad attended and had a great time visiting with neighbors and, of course, eating snack food.  Here he is being the ladies-man!  He sure does attract the ladies where he lives.  Dad reports that he doesn't really get involved in all the activities of the place but I know better.  The ladies make sure I know exactly what Dad has been up to every day I walk through the front door.  In fact, if no one is in the front lobby or community room to give me my 'dad update', I feel like I'm suddenly missing out on something.

The wrist button.
The receiver - we tested it
and you can even hear
Dad if he's in the bathroom
with the fan and
water running,
and the door closed!
Today we got Dad set up with the "I've fallen and I can't get up" button.  It is an emergency call button he wears on his wrist.  If he has an emergency he presses it and within 45 seconds an operator comes on over a large receiver on his counter and asks him if he is OK   If he is not, or they hear no response, they will call 911 and me.  I feel a lot safer knowing he has that but he's not sure.  He called me a few times already asking me questions about the button.  I hope he wears it at night like he's supposed to but something tells me this may be an issue.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said that, "nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide".  Decisions are tough and when we are faced with having to make difficult ones we often avoid making them.  In my case I just wish someone would make it for me.  But then I'll probably fight them on it and nothing will ever get resolved.  When I am tempted to wait for people to make the decision for me I am reminded of an ancient Chinese proverb that says, "a wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows public opinion".  When it comes time for us, as children, to make important decisions for our parents, it is especially tough and no one knows what it feels like until they are in that position.  Proverbs reminds us that when making decisions, to "...stay away from fools".  But there's always the question, "Am I the fool?"

There are two fears associated with decision-making.

1)  Afraid we will make the wrong decision and

2) Afraid of backlash from people who may fail to support you

It is becoming more and more apparent to me that Dad should not be living alone.  Although he has the fellowship of neighbors,  once the door to his apartment is closed, he is alone.  He has very little concept of space and time.  He can not remember what he was just doing a few moments ago and I'm afraid that anyone could knock on his door and take advantage of him.  Again, the building is very secured and he keeps his door locked at all times but this is still a scenario that plays out in my head often.  In fact, there are scenarios playing out in my head a lot of times that aren't good.  After the revelation recently that I need to be present when Dad is showering, it seems the decision is, indeed, being made for me.

The assisted living facilities I have located are not taking new residents at this time. There is a waiting list and currently the wait list is about 6 months long.  There is a two-bedroom unit opening up next month in Dad's building and a new tenant would prefer a one-bedroom.  Again, perhaps this decision is being made for me.

The loss of independence is tough on the elderly.  It's tough on any of us and as a caregiver/son, it seems I am surrendering more and more of my independence to care for my father.  It won't be forever and I need to remember that.  At tops it would mean 6-8 months until I can get him in to an assisted living facility.

One last quote.  Perhaps you have this in a frame or under a magnet on your refrigerator door.  But there is much truth to this saying:  The Will of God will never lead you, where His Grace cannot keep you.   I am trusting that God is moving things around and positioning them to allow me to make the important decisions with clarity of mind and sight.