Tag Archives: dementia

One day at a time

I hear the water running.

I check the alarm clock and it reads 3:13 a.m. I hope my dad didn’t forget to turn the water off again. Then I hear my mom.

“What are you doing?” she asks my dad. She has to repeat the question about a half a dozen times before he figures out what she is asking.

“I was just washing my hair,” he replied as if everyone washes their hair in the middle of the night.

My dad is 90 years old and “day” and “night” have ceased meaning anything to him. His age-induced dementia has been getting worse over the last couple months. He seems to have what they call the “Sundowners Syndrome“(although his symptoms are not violent, but sometimes extremely grouchy). My mom, who is 82 years old and suffers from Parkinson’s and diabetes, has been my dad’s caretaker well for all his life actually.

My parents newly married in 1947.
My parents newly married in 1947.

When they were younger she had to make sure he had hot meals, clean laundry. Their relationship was probably not unlike other post World War II relationships. Now she has to make sure he has hot meals and clean laundry, she also has to watch him like a child to make sure he doesn’t eat too much, leave water running or hurt himself.

My parents moved in with us in October of last year. It was suppose to be for a few weeks maybe a month at the most. But like so many people in today’s economy their house deal in Arizona fell through and they couldn’t go ahead and buy a place close to us. And now it is becoming more and more apparent that my mom just won’t be able to take care of my dad on her own.

My dad is a bit like the dad from Everyone Loves Raymond or King of Queens. Let the hilarity ensue.

My 4-year-old son asks why Grandpa doesn’t use his manners and why he yells at Grandma. Questions to which my answers just don’t seem sufficient.

I’m just thankful that my parents are here with us and not by themselves. Of course a bigger house and more resources would be nice. We are just taking it one day at a time (hey great title for our sitcom, oh darn that was taken already).