Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I've just read some information linking depression and Alzheimer's. Apparently, those with depression were more likely to develop Alzheimer's later in life, even more so if the depression had been in evidence before the age of 60. This makes so much sense to me. My father was depressed throughout my childhood, going through cycles of black moods for days when he wouldn't speak to us, and periods of reasonable happiness and contentment, even joking. We never really knew what we were going to get with Dad and spent a lot of time pussy-footing around to avoid his anger. But it turns out he wasn't really angry, he was in deep despair, and he was not the sort of person to do anything about it other than suffer through it. I think after my mom died, the depression took over and opened the door to the Alzheimer's that would claim him a few years later. It seems to me that not only are we only just beginning to understand Alzheimer's, but depression as well. Once ignored or relegated to the "suck it up and bear it" class of dysfunctions, depression might turn out to be more important, and dangerous, than we ever imagined.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Its amazing to me how caring people from other cultures can be about the elderly from MY culture. I'm touring family homes to move Dad into, and many of them are run by people of different ethnicities, especially Phillipino. One house in particular, run by a Phillipino couple, was warm and loving, scrupulously clean and well-tended, and the residents were obviously respected and cared for. Dad's aide is Phillipino, too, and a kinder, more dedicated person you won't meet. Knowing how many horrible and low-standard homes there are for the elderly, its reassuring to see these great places. I always wonder what it says about us as a culture that we leave the care of our elderly to those from different cultures.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Well, its here, what I always hoped wouldn't happen, and something I'm sure many, many people have had to deal with. When I placed Dad in his facility, I deliberately chose one where he could live out the rest of his life, no matter the course his illness took. But the gods laugh at those who make definite plans, I guess. It looks like we'll definitely have to move him. His territoriality and aggression are getting even worse. The mental health nurse is trying to medicate him to see if that helps, but I have a feeling that the facility is starting to get antsy. They say they deal with these types of behavior all the time, but it seems like they can't handle Dad. So I have to find a new place, a smaller place, one that's not quite so overstimulating. And then I'll continue to think that every phone call is about Dad, with some bad news, or them telling me the facility is closing or something like that. A friend told me that after her seriously ill father died, she was almost relieved because it meant that she didn't have to dread every phone call as being about him. I think I can understand what she's talking about, and I'm sure thousands of people every day deal with the same fears.
Friday, December 4, 2009
The mental health people finally got through all their paperwork and a mental health nurse visited Dad at his facility to do an evaluation. Luckily, it was the same one who visited Dad last Spring after his incident, so she knows him. She seemed like a really nice, caring lady. I answered as many of her questions as I could, and then Dad wandered into the room where we were talking. It was good to see him, and he seemed to be in a good mood. As I gave him a hug, he even remembered our usual greeting, "What's a pretty lady like you doing here?" The nurse examined him and talked to him for a little while, and then she went to talk to the caregivers. Del and Dad and my sister and I all sat on companionably, talking a little bit. My sister was looking through the pictures I have stored on my Itouch and she came across some old ones I'd scanned in of she and I and Dad and I. I took the Itouch and sat down with Dad. I showed him the picture of me sitting on his lap, the same one posted here. I asked him if he recognized the handsome man and told him it was me sitting on his lap. He smiled and studied the picture; I don't know how much he remembered, but I enjoyed showing it to him and sharing another moment together on a couch.