Dad Has Dementia

Week 17: Cautiously Optimistic

Last updated: May 07, 2010


In the end, it wasn't so bad.

The representative of the caregiving agency came on Monday to do the intake assessment. Dad was polite, if not enthusiastic. After the brief initial interview, followed by inconsequential chit-chat, he took a nap in the living room while Bob and I signed all the paperwork.

Afterward, Dad asked me what I thought of Bob.

"Oh, I thought he was nice," I replied. "What did you think of him?"

"I didn't like him," Dad said matter-of-factly.

His response didn't surprise me. "What didn't you like?"

"Well, look at it from my point of view," Dad said. "I mean, I'm looking for someone who can make me a hot lunch, and that guy sure didn't look like someone who could fry a hamburger."

I couldn't help laughing. Dad had a point. I explained Bob wasn't the caregiver; he was merely an administrator.

Hearing this, Dad brightened considerably. "I'd really prefer a woman helper," he said. I reassured him he would have one.

Bob and the caregiver will arrive on Monday, and I'm optimistic but still feel apprehensive about how Dad will respond.

I often feel haunted about whether I've made the right decisions concerning Dad. Is it wrong to begin locking the medication box whenever Dad's to be left alone? Is he more functional than I think, and I'm being too hasty in hiring a caregiver?

The day after Bob's visit, I arrived home from work to find all of Dad's pill bottles sitting on the kitchen table. My stomach twisted as I tried to remain calm. I tried not to think about the fact there are enough narcotics and sleeping pills in that med box to take down a Thoroughbred. What pills had Dad taken while Lee and I were away?

Anxiety churning in my belly, I went in search of Dad. I found him placidly putting clothes away in his room. My breath returned as I realized he looked...normal.

Apparently, he had been in search of pain pills earlier in the day "“ this, despite the fact I set out clearly labeled pain pills for him to take at specific intervals. Dad said he had been "afraid" to take the pain pills I'd set out because "then they'd be gone, and then what would I take if I needed it?"

I didn't know what to say to that.

But I did feel comforted in resolving that the med box will always be locked when Dad's alone, now. And I feel very confident in my decision to hire a caregiver.

Maybe I'll finally get a good night's sleep tonight.