Caregiver Mary Bolton sends The Caregiver’s Voice an eMail after reading “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s. (Bolton’s letter published with permission. Ed.) Join us Monday 2pmET/11amPT for a live interview–Can I Survive as a Caregiver?
It has been my privilege to get to know you and your wonderful father in the last couple of days as I have read your book! Your book has also helped me gain perspective in looking at my own journey with my father who is 91 and struggling with Alzheimer’s.
Dad is being cared for by in-home caregiver Maria.
The Aricept he takes really slowed the process for my dad, but the horrible disease is finally really catching up to him. He is still at the home where my five siblings and I grew up in West Covina (I live in Santa Cruz; I’m 63 years old and the oldest of six). Joe is being cared for 24/7 by a remarkable woman who deserves an entire book written about her. Maria was introduced to us by a nurse who was caring for my mother in our home before Mom died four years ago. Maria promised my mother that she would stay with my dad until he passed away.
Maria–another one of Dad’s daughters
Maria, bless her heart, is reading your book as well, and I have told her that she should consider herself another daughter to my father, as she has become a sister to me and my siblings! (We are 5 siblings now, having [lost] my youngest brother to cancer some years ago.) We helped Maria to get her US citizenship and have learned to love her as one of our own!
Siblings suggest Maria get some rest.
Unlike your experience, my siblings and I all get along, and everyone is doing everything they can to support my father and Maria at this difficult time. At one point a few weeks ago, we did put my father in a care facility (because Maria was having so much trouble sleeping and was so worn out), but he was so unhappy and looked so sad, that we brought him back home the next day. Maria was the most vocal about doing this! Upon pulling into the driveway, my dad asked, “What in the heck are we doing here?”
Dad didn’t like “camping” at the nursing home.
With your sense of humor, I thought you’d appreciate that! The next day, he said he did not like going camping the night before and he did not want us to take him to those two rooms again! [This is FUNNY! Ed.]
We have hired more help for Maria, and we are all calling more often, but some days are so hard. My dad tries to leave so we have secured the property, and we also call Maria who gets so upset when my dad gets angry at her for not allowing him to leave.
We take him for walks and drives, but more and more, he says he is too tired to go. He cannot follow TV programs and he does not understand what he reads. He is often restless at night and thinks he must be somewhere. He does not know what time or day it is.
Accusations amidst paranoia
I need not go on, as I know that you are familiar with all that accompanies this disease. He thinks my oldest brother has stolen money and orders him out of the house when [my brother] tries to help. This has been problematic since he and my youngest sister are the only ones in the area! BUT…we go on as best we all can. Your book has certainly made it clear that things could be so much worse!
I commend you for all you did for your father, and I thank you for the gift of your book! I am going to pass it on to my siblings who will benefit from its warmth, kindness, and the portrait of your very special father!
For the holidays give yourself and the caregiver in your life a gift– click on our Holiday Special for “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s and two volumes of caregivers’ JOYFUL stories in Finding the JOY in Alzheimer’s for $35 (we’ll pay your shipping.) If you buy them separately, you would pay $56.90 (including shipping).