Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The M is in Houston. Her father's mind is unravelling with Alzheimer's. It is emotionally difficult for her. He thinks he can stay in his house, but this is impossible. He no longer has any concept of time and calls people in the middle of the night. He takes a week's worth of medicine in one day. He can no longer take care of his own basic needs. He has become a child again.

Just as a child doesn't always want what's best for him, neither does he. So not only has The M experienced a role-reversal, becoming the parent, but now she must force him to do something he doesn't want to. All her siblings are coming to Houston to do this together this weekend. I am concerned for her. Last night she cried over the phone with me. She cried as hard as I have ever heard her cry. My ability to comfort her in this is so minimal in this situation.

She and her sister visited Alzheimer's care facilities yesterday. She said they were terribly depressing. So far, none of the ones they have seen in Houston is as nice as the one we have here in town, and they are more expensive. But all his doctors are in Houston, so they are looking there as a first choice.


Redlefty said...

My father-in-law works as chaplain in a hospice group in Houston and I know his team provides excellent care. It doesn't sound like your father-in-law is to that stage yet, though.

My prayers are with the whole family.

Anonymous said...


I read about your father-in-law's situation, and I was wondering if I could ask you more about it. I wasn't able to find your contact on the blog, so I'm writing here. I'm a researcher for an HBO doc series on Alzheimer's.

You can email me at aspadill@usc.edu.


Carol D. O'Dell said...

I faced Alzheimer's (and Parkinson's) with my mother, and as exhausting and frustrating as caregiving can be, what hurts more is that you can't reach them, they're not who they once were--and compounded is when you can't get them the help they need and deserve.

I was able to bring my mother in my home, and with the help of my husband (and even our teenage daughters), we must, must, must find a way to get help to families who so need it.

Love each other the best you can. Accept the bad days. Be grateful for the good days--that's how I got by.

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Mothering Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir
available on Amazon

Grafted Branch@Restoring the Years said...

:( So sorry.

I pray for the family's ability to discern God's best in the situation, and walk confidently and contentedly in the steps He has ordained.