Eldercare frequently throws you a curve ball. Just when you think you are in your groove, things change. That’s what happened to us this Thanksgiving.
Our plan was to spend the mid-afternoon with Dad and have lunch with him. He no longer knows the days, dates, or holidays. We do these things more for ourselves than for Dad, really. We visit almost daily and that’s what is most satisfying for him. But we still want to give him a sense of festivity so we try to make holidays special.
However, Dad woke up very confused. He was convinced it was WWII and that he had eaten something bad and was confined to bed and wasn’t supposed to eat. There are still times when he’ll have a kernel of truth, but embellish a story to make sense to his confused mind. So I went in search of the shift nurse to see if he’d had some sort of reaction to food lately. No, she said. He was just very confused. I went back to the room and tried a different tactic. In the past, I’ve been able to get him out of bed and dressed. And slowly get him out of his room to either have something to eat or go for a short walk.
But not this day. He was not going to get out of that bed. No way, no how, no time, no place. No. So I read a card his daughter had sent him, showed it to him and then after a very short visit, we left. The next day he did get out of bed, but still refused to eat. It may be that we’ve entered into a new part of this journey. Earlier this year, Hospice got involved with Dad’s care, but then he improved to a point where they signed off. We will be monitoring the situation and may be getting them back into the care team.
So this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for many things that include a great care team for Dad, for a lovely, safe place close by, and for the work and ministry of Hospice. Peace be with you.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.