Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Long Goodbye

My father, Joel, has Dementia.  We believe he has Alzheimer's Disease (AD).  Dad's doctor tells us that the disease has progressed to what is clinically called stage 6e

Dad's world has shrunken to three rooms of the house.  His bedroom, the bathroom, and the living room.  Special accommodations have been made for him in all three of these rooms too keep him safe and comfortable.

My mother is the primary caregiver for dad.  Like dad, her world has shrunken as well. Her service is with all her heart and strength.  The stress and strain on her tremendous.  What a Saint she is.

My brother lives in my parents' home, and is of invaluable assistance to both mom and dad.  She could not care for him at home, without Mark's support.  My sister also provides support and help to mom and dad.

As for me I am the eldest son.  I have a wife and family of my own to care for.  But as needs the needs and demands of this situation have increased,  I too, am getting more involved in this family effort, to help support my parents and siblings in this family effort.

It has been said of  Alzheimbers Disease, that it is the Long Goodbye.  No one really knows what the Alzheimers Patient thinks or feels, as the disease progresses.  Unfortunately, they are unable to communicate their thoughts and feelings in the later states of this illness.

It is the fate of the families and caregivers of this disease to see the person they once knew and loved slowly slip away, and melt into oblivion. 

As we strive to love and care for our father we see him slipping further and further away from us.  We don't now how much time we have with him.  We are determined to care for him the best we can, however, we must balance his care with the demands that this care places upon our mother.  We must protect her health and resources too.

This blog will be about our family's efforts to look after the needs of my father and my mother, as we say goodbye to my father.  I have chosen a blue template for this blog -- because that was dad's favorite color.

I hope that what is written and expressed here will benefit other families who may find themselves in a similar circumstance either now or in the future.

Fare-thee-well, my father.