I haven’t written in a while. I’ve thought about writting a few times, but couldn’t focus to put my thoughts together with the recent steady ever changing decline with my dad’s condition. I’ve also been going through some life matters myself, figuring out work/career changes, and dealing with how to date again, now that it’s been a year and a half after a 9+ year relationship ended halfway across the world.
As mentioned in previous entries, my dad was having 6-8 week phases, where a noticeable change would occur and then adjustment would occur then a couple of weeks of coasting calmness, the quiet before the storm in a way. After the last 6-8 week pattern of the normal decline dad would have, he’s been having changes almost biweekly or weekly for the last 6 weeks or so.
Changes I’ve noticed increased lack of expression, more droopy eyes, slower response time, increased forgetfulness, dementia is mellowing out, his walking gait started to shuffle and changing into awkward hobbled shuffle, he is less agitated, calls less daily, but on days he does call, it’s still multiple calls; tends to call on days I’ve visited him; has developed chronic incontenance; breathing seems labored and uneven; he is starting to forget when to swallow properly and I’ve had him choke on me once that scared me good; and he has a few more lucid moments.
All this adds up to him changing into a kid-like state. It’s like watching a kid grow in reverse. It’s harder on family (me), than it is for him luckily. Today’s visit was a good one, I was able to talk to him and introduce some real conversation to involve him in some decisions I’m having a hard time making on his behalf, though he couldn’t grasp the the reality and truth of it, I could at least in round about ways find out how he feels about it. I’m seriously grateful for being able to communicate in some way to get a better read on what he wants.
I’ve been fighting the decision on whether or not to apply to move him to a different facility. His current home is good on a account of it’s environment though he dislikes the food, but it means only 1-2 visits a week from me, and maybe a visit from a cousin and friend once or twice a month, due to the distance from the city; He is not getting enough social interaction; The care is average from slightly better than average.
The new care facility I’m considering is Chinese majority and just a 5-10 min drive outside of the city, compared to 30min+. He would get freshly cooked meals with fresh ingredients daily; have fellow residents that could communicate with him, since alzheimer and dementia patients are not segregated; the facility is a bit run down and rooms are not as bright and airy, but more of my dad’s style; staff speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, though my dad speaks English fluently, I still think he would feel more at home with his mother tongue being spoken to him; care is average; he’d have to share a room for about a year, before getting his own, though I think a roomate would be better for him, less isolation and more interaction may help to slow down his decline; I can afford more time and money to take him out more (with money saved from gas and time saved from the commute); family/friends will likely visit more. Dad was able to articulate his fear of strangers though, which is understandble for someone his age.
This biggest challenge still is trying to not feel guilt. For needing to make decisions for him, seemingly agains his will, but his current will isn’t completely logical and isn’t capable at looking at the larger picture and factoring in what is best for him. For feeling bad to have to dumb down a conversation to a parent to help him comprehend situations better. For not being to grant him his wishes, albeit unrealistic since they are based on his dementia reality.