Monday, July 26, 2010
I've been poking around on the websites of some of the big Alzheimer's groups and found some great information on www.alz.org that I listed on the blog. One of their partnerships appears to be with ElderHealth, an organization in Washington that provides many services. I hope they or something similar exist in other states. It caught my eye, however, because for years Dad went to the day program provided by Elderhealth, a kind of dementia-daycare for adults. I thought it was an amazing program; they provided days worth of activities, lunch, health services, and support groups, which my father, the original psychiatry-shy male, appeared to really enjoy and find helpful. Eventually, it no longer worked for him, but if you have such a program in your area, and your loved one is reasonably mobile and social, I can't recommend it enough as a way to keep them connected and thinking, even if its just a little bit.
To all the new lovely people reading my blog: I originally started it primarily to support a book I was trying to publish. I posted excerpts from the book for a long time, so I encourage you to go back and read some of the first posts if you'd like a taste of the book! I might re-post some of my favorite excerpts, as well. I'm still working on getting it published so I hope to be able to announce soon on the blog that its coming out! Until then I love and welcome your comments, advice, links, and everything else. Keep reading!
In the several months I've been with my boyfriend, my social circle has expanded exponentially due to the fact that he knows about 4,000 people. What I find both interesting and sad is the fact that I have discovered two people so far that are facing the same struggle I faced several years ago: finding care for a parent; making difficult choices; and grieving the loss of a loved one to some form of dementia. Two people out of about 25 to 30, and that's not even including the times I met and spoke to people and what I do for my father never came up. How did this happen? More and more people my age are facing the long road of care and hard choices and sorrow and all we can do is band together and try to help each other on the journey.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
A few weeks ago, the AFH where Dad lives had a family barbecue. It happened to fall on the first day with actual sun we've had in Seattle, so that was a plus. I went with my boyfriend, and we met my sister there. We all sat with Dad around a table, talking and laughing. I'm not sure he completely knows who we are anymore, but he responded like he always has to my sister's funny stories of the strange things that happen to her. We all got plates of food, and I felt a low-level panic because I've never had to help Dad eat before. Luckily, he would occasionally pick up his fork, load it with food, and bring it to his mouth, but more often he just sat there. One of the care-givers came over and fed him a few bites, indicating it was okay to feed him. So I picked up the fork, put some food on it and brought it to his lips. He seemed a little reluctant at first, although I don't know if that was because he didn't want any food just then. If he does have some glimmer of who I am, was it hard for him to have the daughter HE once fed, feed him?
Friday, July 2, 2010
I'm so excited to suddenly see followers and people commenting. Bring it on, I love telling people my experiences and hearing theirs. If I can help in any way, I'll answer any questions. I'm still trying to get representation for my book; an agent was really interested but in the end turned it down so I'll keep trying! Thanks so much for reading, send me your info and I'll check out your blogs as well!