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One Dad's Dementia Disrupts a Normal Routine

Dealing with Dad's dementia: This week, I talk about what feels right when you feel like you are helpless

I have a routine. It’s a busy routine; but it is a routine, nonetheless.

I go to school—because I want yet another degree—then I go to help my dad around the time he should be waking up. I eat with him, try to do something with him. Then I go to various different jobs till late at night. Mom helps him at night.

My brother covers anything if he were to wake up before 11 a.m., which lately doesn’t happen much.

But, this routine is getting messed up when my dad’s ability and desire to do things starts to dwindle.

A few weeks ago, dad had trouble with something. I couldn’t leave as there was a huge mess from this “trouble” and he said he couldn’t find things he needed, etc. It was very chaotic. I had to stay so he wouldn't slip and fall on things and so he would eventually relax.

(Yes, I know I am being vague. But mom wants this topic to stay vague).

So, I stayed. I canceled the next job I had to go to and I eventually lost that contract because the other party did not quite understand why I could not just up and leave.

Now, I am not complaining about lost work here at all.

I am talking about the fact that now I had even more time with my dad. So, what to do? I tried to see if he would watch a movie with me. That didn’t work. I tried to see if he would go on a drive. That didn’t work. I tried to see if he would play cards with me. That didn’t work.

This quality time with dad worries me.

How do you spend quality time with someone when they do not want to do anything? Or when they can’t do anything? Is just sitting in the same room, even when he doesn’t want to talk, enough?

RESOURCES

 It is often encouraged for both patients and family members/caregivers to join a support group. There are support groups offered nearby in Mountain View, San Jose, or even telephone support groups. For support in your area, check out http://www.alz.org/norcal/in_my_community_support.asp.

C3391 May 08, 2012 at 08:17 PM
A good friend found that drawing and painting with her mom was wonderful. Her mom had not had any interest in art prior to this.
Rachel Stern May 09, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Glad that worked for them. Drawing and painting can be low-key, meditative activities to channel your energy into.
Nicole Baldocchi May 09, 2012 at 02:26 AM
That is a great idea, reader! Glad you found something that worked. I know, some days, my dad likes checkers. He likes the strategy part of it. Thanks for reading!

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