Amazing Grace: Finding Hope in Coping with Dementia

By: Lisa Weatherford

Wedding Dad

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.

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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.

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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.

Amazing Grace

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/.

Finding Our Footing Through Grief

By Lisa Weatherford

Hi everyone!  I know, I just kind of vanished for a while, but as I sit here writing this, I am reflecting on a very busy year!

Let me take a moment to update everyone. Dad

Dad is still on hospice.  He has lost so much weight.  He is down to 130 pounds.  He is now having his meals in the back dining room.  I know how that sounds, but in this dining room it is quiet, and he gets the extra help he needs at meal time.  He also gets more finger food items because he no longer understands what utensils are or how to use them.  It is hard to get him to eat a full meal most of the time now. Dad is falling a lot and he often just mumbles or doesn’t know who we are.  His doctor tells us that he feels dad has weeks left at this point. So, with all of this information, every time the phone rings we can’t help but think is this THE call.

 

We have had lots of firsts without Mom. Celebrations like her first birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas have been difficult. I didn’t even put up any Christmas decorations this year.

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If we are being honest, our family is still in the grieving process. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a good place in life and moving along without any hiccups. Suddenly, something will come along and bring Mom’s memory back into focus.  The only thing you can do is just go with it.  Let the tears flow and just remember.

I decided to end my career as a Surgical Technologist during the summer.  I scrubbed for 17 years.  Lately, I have been working at Starbucks, which is very different. Sadly, I’ve been out of work since November 11th due to a fracture of my fibula in the ankle area.  That has been painful, but it didn’t require surgery nor a cast. I’m just in an ankle brace and I go back for a follow up this month.

The New Year will be full of its own share of excitement and disappointments.  Yet, we will do what we always do; rally together and get through the hard times and celebrate the good times.

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So much has changed that I’m not sure if I’ll blog again soon or not.  I’m at a point that I feel my blog is about grief and sadness.  I feel like I’m blogging the same topics over and over.  If you wish for me to continue or have an idea for a new topic, let me know in the comments.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

-Lisa