Hanging Out With Alzheimer’s And Enjoying It


Years ago we found out my father had Alzheimer’s. It was a surprise, to say the least. It was also rather disturbing. His behavior became very peculiar in that he was behaving in ways that were just not him. It was difficult because, at this time, we didn’t really know that is what he had. We started to suspect something to do with the brain. He was finally officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

I think this is the biggest trick played on our elders, really. It takes their ability to rationalize normally and they forget immediate things. They ask over and over the same things because they don’t have that part of their brain operating. Eventually, this moves into all aspects like long term memory, who they know, where they live, what they are doing from one moment to the next, and who they are them self. It is very heart breaking and sad. From this alone, the grieving process begins of the loss of a loved one. That is just the first grief process.

 I have been lucky enough to have only gone through that part. I still have my dad. Yeah, he doesn’t remember a lot, asks the same questions over and over, is demanding, bossy, confused, wets his self sometimes, forgets who he is and forget who I am, at times. I have to add that he is also very upbeat most of the time, funny, still an excellent Gin Rummy player (and beats me often!), and enjoys being around his kids. He will sometimes not sleep because he thinks we are only joining him for a short visit. We are really here often. I think it has helped him greatly.

I have to be honest in saying that when this 24 hour care for my father began, I was not the best at it. In fact, I was probably the worst because I couldn’t see him as having a disease. It took me quite a long time to differentiate my dad from Alzheimer’s dad. It has been one of the biggest learning processes I have ever come across. Alzheimer’s can be very confusing and mind boggling to the care takers. It was to me, anyway. I guess some people deal with it better than others. I never was the nurse type.

I had to learn a better way than being angry and frustrated with Alzheimer’s. It made me feel awful because I would be short with my dad. It was difficult to deal with the disconnect of his mind from reality and what was really going on around him. It drove me crazy, to be honest. I hated it and I resented having to be in the position of care taker on any level. It took me quite some time to get through this. I still had resentment from childhood and when my dad would behave in certain ways, it was like I was a kid again. I had great grief over this.

What I now think is that all of that was necessary to make me get over and move on from all that resentment. I am thankful for that now. I am grateful that there has been enough time to do that with my dad. I have grown to love him in a new and healthier way.

I now enjoy knowing I have to go to his house and take care of him. I take care of him five to six days a week. I am with him for six hours for four days and eight hours for one. Sometimes, to fill in, I work six. Anyway, I decided that I needed to change my attitude about my situation with my dad and everything got better.

  • I began to make a point to think of my time with him as a gift of time. A gift that I will not always have.
  • I learned to hear him differently.
  • I stopped thinking he was trying to control me.
  • I now look at it as he needs to be certain ways to feel like he has control over something.
  • I don’t care anymore if that thing is me.
  • I only care that he has any kind of grip on any kind of reality that gives him some peace of mind.

The bottom line of all the problems with Alzheimer’s, the frustration, anger, sadness, or the loathing of the disease can be cured with a mind adjustment on the part of the care taker. Not that this will work for everyone. Not everyone needs to be in this position. This is for those that are and are going through the same symptoms I did. It is not the easiest thing to change but it can be done.

– I have grown greatly from this experience.
– I have grown a great amount of patience with my dad and with other situations.
– I have become more kind because I have had to become more kind to my dad.
– I have become more easy to be around for my dad, hence easier for others. It pays to make positive changes for those that we love. It has changed me on many levels.

 I will always be grateful to my dad for many things not mentioned, but I will be especially grateful for the time I have spent with my dad while he has had Alzheimer’s. It has made me a better person.