One afternoon I came home after picking my son up from band practice only to find enough frozen meat on the counter to feed the entire neighborhood. I asked my daughter what was going on and without saying a word, she just pointed towards my Dad’s room. “Okay,” I thought to myself. Maybe he was trying to help or possibly letting me know he was really hungry. Luckily, everything was still frozen so I put it all back in the freezer.
what is in the dog’s bowl?
Not too long after that happened, I came into the kitchen to find the most jaw-dropping and creative concoction in the dog’s bowl. There was cereal, ice cream, cookies, carrots, and an obvious absence of actual dog food. Luckily, the dog had yet to find this overflowing banquet. Dessert would have been a large vet bill if I had gotten home a few minutes later.
fighting to retain independence
I knew in my heart that both of these incidents occurred because Dad was fighting to retain some independence. I had also accepted that Dad’s judgment was declining quickly. My husband and I then looked at the next steps we had to take to make the house safe. In an earlier post “Pop Pop Finder”, I write about the scare we had when Dad wandered out of the house. Reluctantly, we had to now admit that someone needed to always be aware of Dad’s whereabouts and actions in the house.
Much later, I was able to find humor in these incidents. At the time I felt as if the air was being let out of a balloon. Not only was my Dad’s world shrinking, but ours as well. These changes put increasing stress on our family. If my husband and I were not home, who was going to watch Dad? How could we ask our teenage children to keep an eye on my dad, they were as busy as we were. The day placement we found helped a great deal but we still had weekends and evenings to contend with. It began to dawn on us that sometime in the future we just wouldn’t be able to do this alone anymore.
consistent poor judgment: a hallmark sign of Alzheimer’s
People with Alzheimer’s/ Dementia may exhibit changes in judgment or decision making. For those of us without cognitive impairment, a decision is made by taking in available information, considering the context of the situation, and thinking of possible solutions and outcomes. Someone with Alzheimer’s has a diminished capacity to make these types of judgments. If you are caring for someone who is showing signs of consistent poor judgment it can be so frustrating. This issue can be particularly difficult when you are trying to look out for the welfare of a loved one from afar. The Alzheimer’s Association has a checklist of 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s for any of you just starting this journey.♠
How about you?
We would love to hear some of the issues you have had to deal with or questions you might have for us. You can leave us a comment here or visit our Facebook group.