Monday, September 3, 2012
Another Day in the Life Of...
I'm blessed that even though Dad is not in an assisted living facility, he is watched and cared for daily. Many people have my cell phone number if they need me for anything. They go out of their way to talk with him and include him in all the 'reindeer games'. He enjoys it there but lately he says he is getting bored for stuff to do.
Dad tells me each day that he doesn't participate in the activities there but I know that its just his memory not recalling his participation. The residents and the manager, Jill, tell me otherwise. It's ok and I just tell him that he can go when he is comfortable. I try and make sure he has a few singles on him every day so he can make the donation when they have events.
Still, Dad's short-term memory issues are of great concern. Dr. Schwartz said that I did not have to call for a follow-up appointment, that all information would be forwarded to the neuro-surgeon, unless I wanted to. The very next morning he called me and said he would like to talk with me about Dad's results. Not exactly encouraging BUT I'm glad he went out of his way to contact me. Typically the results can take up to two weeks to process but they rushed this one for me, knowing I was meeting with the neuro-surgeon this week.
I have done a lot of research on dementia/Alzheimer's VS hydrocephalus and so far, I'm not truly convinced that hydrocephalus is our culprit. It is true that the two cross paths in many symptoms and characteristics but I'm not convinced yet. Maybe my mind will be changed this week.
Our biggest concern is what will happen to Dad if we elect surgery to help with the hydrocephalus. It is highly documented that dementia patients who undergo surgery have a very difficult time coming back as a result of the anesthetic. We are not making any hasty decisions. The bottom line is this: with hydrocephalus and dementia/Alzheimer the end result is the same...nursing care and eventual death. If surgery to help the first one puts him on a fast track to the end result, why would we choose that?
I am keeping my commitment to my parents by keeping them informed. It is tough because I know Dad doesn't recall my telling him things and he is always surprised to hear about them. But I MUST stay focused on my commitment. A wonderful family member recently told me that its important to live in HIS reality, not mine. What wonderful words of advice from a lady who is watching her beloved slowly taken away by Alzheimer's disease.
If I could give one piece of advice to people about aging, it is this: prepare financially. It is very expensive to grow old in this country. Whether we can have our elders under our same roof or in the care of professionals it takes a lot of money and its just going to get more expensive. Plan. Prepare. Make the commitment today to not be a financial burden but more important make the commitment to YOURSELF to have enough financial resources so that YOU, in the autumn and winter seasons of your life, are as comfortable as possible.