I have been the sole caretaker of my 79-year-old father for more than one year now. It is interesting how the parental roles have reversed. That old saying is true, once a man and twice a child. This caretaker role has been challenging, but I consider it a privilege to be able to attend to my father’s basic needs. Even with the demands imposed by his dementia, he still retains that wonderful sense of humor that he always had.
Like today, I told him that he needed to eat some prunes for the obvious reasons and he politely declined. He said that he never liked those things. It is so interesting the entities that his brain chooses to remember. For instance, he never recalls that I am his daughter, but he remembers that he never liked prunes. Really!
Depending on his brain, one moment he believes that I am one of his relatives and at another moment, he thinks that I am his girlfriend. Yuck! Regardless of whoever he thinks I am, whenever I enter the room, he is so happy to see me and I get one of his best smiles. His reaction lets me know that he feels safe when I am around.
He never remembers where we are. Like today, he thought we were in Mexico. I hear you ask, why Mexico? Who knows. Sometimes we are in California, the British Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, Barbados and whatever other place his mind desires to travel to. He has made me a world traveller since he always brings me with him to these alternate destinations.
I miss my Dad and the wonderful discussions we would have about life. I am saddened that dementia has taken away so much, but I am still so happy to have him with me. Dementia has its demands, but if we have to deal with dementia, I would have it no other way.
To all of the caretakers out there, you rock!!
Dementia destroys details Early thoughts Memories Each day Natural movements Thinking Ideas Abilities And replaces it with time. By: Jacqueline Greene, 2020