By: Lisa Weatherford
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my family’s life and the impact of dementia. My Mom, Louise, passed away ten months after getting her diagnosis. My dad, George, got his diagnosis very shortly after mom. From the very start of this roller coaster ride of dementia nothing went smoothly. It seemed at every turn there was something else to deal with.
Between hospital stays and facilities, we moved Mom ten times at the very least. Mom’s health status was constantly changing. She went from a nursing home on hospice, to a hospice house, to not needing hospice at all. We then tried letting her live in the same facility with Dad, but ultimately had to move her to another assisted living community. Then it was back to the hospital, rehabilitation, and yet another facility on hospice. She wasn’t in the new facility more than three weeks when she passed away.
With Dad we some of the same issues. He moved a little less; however, he had more than one long stay in the hospital due to behavioral issues. Fortunately, we found a facility that was perfect for him. Even then, he gave the staff a run for their money. He was out the door every chance he got. The facility put alarms on all the doors, so he never made it more than one step out the door. For our family, this was comforting. We knew the staff at his facility was extremely well trained and very caring.
With all that said, Dad steadily went downhill. He was on hospice for several months. He lost so much weight because his brain no longer told him he needs to eat. He also could not remember what eating utensils were or how to use them. Here again, the staff helped to encourage him to eat as much as possible.
But dementia always wins.
I wrote a long time ago that dementia never gets better or goes away. The only guarantee is it will get worse and your loved one will die. Sadly, Dad passed away on January 24, 2020, exactly ten months to the day after Mom. We miss them both so very much, but we also miss the way they were before dementia.
Dementia is a hard disease. I think mostly because it feels like you lose your loved one twice. The first time is when they no longer remember who you are. Then, as painful as that is, you lose them physically in the end. Both ways are equally as painful.
We take comfort in knowing that Louise and George – our beloved parents – are back together again and free of dementia. We believe that by God’s amazing grace they are having quite the reunion.
For more information on care for a loved one diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, please visit https://www.carrollcampbellplace.com/.