It was a bittersweet trip.
The decision to drive from Omaha to Minneapolis the day after Christmas was made at Thanksgiving. When your sister was sick and was not able to come to Omaha for Thanksgiving you made the decision that you would drive your 85 year old father to Minneapolis for Christmas. The thought of your two girls, and your father, not being able to see your only sibling this holiday season was just too sad, so you convinced your husband that you all should travel north for a visit.
The fact that it was one of the coldest weeks on record meant that driving north was not really the wisest thing to do. The extremely cold temperatures, however, meant that you probably stayed in and played cards a little more than you would have if the weather had been warmer. Seemingly endless games of 10 point pitch included lots of laughter and some pretty daring bids. Your father had been playing pitch for most of his 85 years and he was still sharp as a tack.
His quick thinking when he played the card game, however, was in stark contrast to some of the other behaviors that you witnessed on this trip. At least four different times, for instance, you found him downstairs opening and closing the same hallway doors. Searching for his bedroom, which was really upstairs, proved to be a challenge. On previous trips up north he had always stayed in the basement. On this trip, however, your family of four was in the basement, so your sister had your dad sleep in the extra bedroom upstairs. This change, though, seemed to be forgotten a couple of times a day. You or your sister would find your dad wondering back and forth in the basement hallway looking for his bedroom.
Many Types of Dementia Affect People as They Age
It can be both puzzling and frightening to watch someone you love show early signs of memory loss. And while not every one who forgets something is showing the beginning of dementia stages, any time that you see someone you love who is struggling you tend to fear the worst. Watching someone you care about, someone who has always cared for you in the past, struggle with memory can be confusing. You might watch someone easily go through daily tasks one minute and then struggle to remember where his bedroom is.
The unfortunate truth is that 33% of seniors will pass away with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. In fact, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in America and it is the only top 10 cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured. As a result, there are many options for patients and their families to deal with the different types of dementia.
Fortunately, there are many assisted living settings that can allow patients with early signs of dementia to still have their own independence while still have a staff looking out for them. Many different types of dementia patients do well in places that provide memory care activities for seniors. Whether you are looking out for a parent or a spouse, making sure that you check out all of the available resources. Alzheimer care homes and other options may be the perfect solution.