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Dealing With Dementia
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My dad was left a widower over 30 years ago, my mum was 59 when she died.my dad was coming up to retirement age so i thought it best that he had his main meal with us in the evening.He worked for the M.O.D all his working life, He was a very independent man who would go over to our local shops every day to get his newspaper and get his bit of shopping.He would go to the town centre a couple of times a week, he liked doing his crossword in the paper and he loved watching sport on the television,especially snooker.he had his own one bedroom flat that was just down the road from to my house.He would go on holidays to my sister who lives in Dorset.I think he was quite happy with his life.he was a very fit man, he did his own cleaning and washing , and would love to come round and sit in the garden.He was born in Edmonton London on 20th october1910, he came from a large family but sadly they have all gone now.He was 88 years old when i first started to notice a change in him, he was starting to get a bit forgetful. i did not take a lot of notice of it , i just thought it was his age.Then one evening when he come round for his dinner ,he sat in the chair and said about music he could hear,i said there is not any music playing dad.He was adament there was, he said it must be coming from next door, but i said but i cant hear it,then he said it was coming from my sons room.I asked him what sort of music was it and he replied it was a band playing.He then said the same thing to my husband when he came home from work.This went on for a few weeks , hearing music, i did laugh though because he was deaf and i always had to shout at him to make him hear me. i was concerned about it so i went to see my doctor, any way an appointment was made for my dad to go to the doctors, i told him it was just for a check up. The doctor checked his heart and blood pressure, and was asking him questions.When she mentioned to him about hearing music he said yes , music was playing in the waiting room" it wasnt".She made an appointment for dad to see a specialist He came to dads flat to see him,after asking things like what year was it etc, The specialist said to me he has the start of dementia and to get power of attorney and to do it now rather than later.I think i knew he had dementia but i kept telling myself it was just his age.Then as time went on he would get confused about the time....it would be a lovely sunny day and he would say to me " is it 2 oclock in the day time or is it night.I kept trying to show him that it was daylight so it must be day because if it was night time it would be dark.I had to get a social worker, so i made all the phone calls...it was just over 1 year before i actually got to see a social worker.i kept phoning up and was getting nowhere so in the end i was so fed up about it i put an article in the newspaper,and the following week i had a visit from a social worker.I had heard about the alzheimers association but i did not have a clue what it was all about but i picked up the phone to them, i didnt really know what to say.the lady that took my call was so nice to me and asked me if i would like her to visit me.She came to see me the following week.She gave me lots of information on dementia, and how to help the person that is suffering from it.She told me they have a rest a while room at the town centre once a weekand to bring dad along.I could leave him there and have some time to my self. I told my dad it was a club we was going to, he was not very keen on going but i told him we will go just once and if he did not like it he wont have to go again.AS soon as we walked in the door we had a warm greeting from everyone, we sat down and was given a nice cup of tea.After about 30 minutes i left dad there and went over the town, looking round the shops, i cant remember the last time i did that,it was like "freedom"new shops had opened so i enjoyed my bit of time to myself.When i got back to the rest a while room, there was my dad playing cards, i went over to him but he was to engrossed in his game. We had a nice lunch, my dad really enjoyed the day.That evening he asked me how many times a week we could go to that club, i had to laugh because he was not keen on going in the first place.So he would look forward to the Friday club.I cant tell you how much help these people have given me over the last few years,they give so much support to the carer, i just thank god for people like them.Dad was getting worse by each week, i would notice different things occuring, like he would stare at the ceiling for ages, i asked him once what he was looking at and he said "Jesus Christ"but the worse thing was because he now did not know day from night i would get phone calls in the early hours of the morning,he would say its dad here i am just going over the shops and did i want anything.So i would have to get dressed and try to get round his flat before he went out. It made no difference me telling him he should be asleep...This would go on several times a week or he would come round to my house at 2 oclock in the morning.It was begining to get me down.I kept crying, i think it was because of lack of sleep.and i felt like running away from it all on many occasions.I had my own health problems to deal with as well as his,i have got rheumatoid arthritis and many times i could have stayed in bed because of pain i was in ,but had to try and make the effort for his sake.Then one Sunday i walked back with dad to his flat to get his clean clothes out for the next day and as soon as i opened the door i got the smell of gas.he had turned the gas fire on that morning but he had not ignited itso the whole flat was full of gas.i had to get i touch with the social worker as he was a danger not only to himself but to the other people that lived in the flats.It was so hard for me to say he has to go in a home because dad still washed and dressed himself, make his sandwich and cups of tea.It was now coming up to 4 years since dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia, and for his own safety something had to be done.he had no idea the value of money ,i would get his pension on Thursday and by Saturday he would say he had no money....He would give ten pound notes over thinking they were one pound.So thats why he didnt have any money,i could not believe that shop assistants would take it off him, but it happened.Dad is now in a sheltered housing complex, he goes out to a day centre twice a week and the alzheimers society twice a week,so at least he is kept stimulated.I am just so grateful to these people.The day is coming close for him to go in a residential care home, so i wont be looking forward to that when it happens.we all know about alzheimers but it is something you never think about until it happens to some one you know.It takes its toll on the carers that look after someone with dementia but somehow we get through it...we have to...Alzheimers desease affects young and old and it is on the increase, so i pray for the day when a cure might be found for it.

Rita
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