I’m back today with another update about mom and dad and I’m so happy to say that things are SO much better than the last update I gave you. Last update, dad was still very much agitated and talked about going home every time we saw him. It was exhausting and not at all fun, but we felt bad if we didn’t see him, so we tried over and over. Mom would go over by herself and I would go to see him when I was there. We took him outside on the Memory Care side and visited with him there. Outdoors is his happy place, so we thought that might cheer him up.
Over and over he would ask when they were going home. We were so hopeful that he would settle in and right after I wrote that update, about 3 weeks ago, things started to change.
The doctor was adjusting his dementia meds right after that update and within a few days we started to see the difference. He was more calm, more cooperative, and even though he still talked some about going home for another week or two, it was without anger. It was questions and answers and discussion, but the agitation and anger was going away. What a relief it has been to mom and me. Between all the prayers and the adjusted meds, what a huge difference that has taken place in dad! He’s like a different man the last 3 weeks.
They advised her to start visiting him more in Memory Care, so she would go over and have lunch with him there and then she started going before lunch and visiting with him for awhile and then they would take him to lunch. She sure enjoys being on her side of Assisted Living for lunch and has made so many women friends over there. It’s so wonderful to see that, she’s able to be social and do all the activities she wants to do. We’re so glad about that.
So now she sees him everyday. I go about 3 times a week to see them both and Mark and I have been going on Sunday to eat lunch with mom. Their good friends have been coming once a week too. The Henrys have been friends with my parents for about 40 years and were such a sweet family in my dad’s church growing up. They have continued that friendship all these years and it’s great that they can visit them at Dogwood.
We’ve been sitting outside on the patio the last couple of weeks. The weather has been gorgeous and dad really enjoys sitting outside. He has a patio over in memory care too that he can use, but we make sure when the weather is good that we bring him over and outside to the main patio so he can enjoy the outdoors. That’s always been his happy place and before they moved, that’s where he spent a lot of time. It’s so nice that they are in such a beautiful facility that offers so much.
They are both getting the care they need. Dad has extra care in memory care and mom is able to enjoy assisted living without having the burden of taking care of dad. We had hoped that once he settled down that he might be able to move back in with her, but after having conversations with the managers there, it will most likely not happen. If he did go back with her, it would increase her stress with having to manage him day to day.
In memory care, they manage his showers and makes sure he changes clothes every couple of days if he doesn’t change them. They do his laundry and help him with any personal care he might need. He’s a pretty private man, but he’s letting them help him which is good. Of course, they also manage his daily medications too, which would have happened if he was in assisted living with mom too.
I’ve been reading more about dementia to understand it better. Mom and I are going to a monthly dementia lunch where others come together and talk about their loved ones and their experiences. Dementia is different for every family, I’m finding out. I also figured out after our last lunch and reading the materials she gave us to look at of the different stages of dementia, that dad is likely between early and middle stages of dementia. It’s helpful to read more about this disease so we will know what’s coming. I really didn’t comprehend that dementia is what will eventually kill someone, but that’s how it works. As the brain continues to deteriorate and die, those functions that the brain handles go with it and it just continues to make living with dementia that much harder until eventually the person dies from the complications. And as the body starts failing more, the chances of stroke and heart issues increase. So, we will definitely have to be informed of what’s to come and see how things might progress with dad. It’s sure a cruel disease.
Right now, we are rejoicing that dad is settling in. For the last 3 weeks, he’s been a different man, much more compliant and the anger is gone. Mom is so relieved. She was so worried about him for a few weeks and she’s so happy that he’s settled down and she can visit with him every day. He enjoys coming out to the sitting area by the fireplace and enjoying that ambience. We are so glad we are free to see him as much as we want and I can also take them out in the car whenever we want to. So now that he’s doing so much better, I’ll plan to do that soon. I know they would enjoy riding around and see our little downtown of Acworth and the surrounding lake. It’s a beautiful area we are in.
When I get him talking, he’s very complimentary of Dogwood Forest and how nice it is. He’ll say over and over what a nice place it is, they take such good care of him and he raves about the food and how much they feed him. He’s happy with all of that. So it’s good to hear him talking like that.
When they sit outside he talks about how pretty the building is with the rockwork and comments on the landscaping and how pretty it all is. He loves being outside so much. I’ve tried to take pictures every time I visit so I can remember and also to share it with you all and family. I’m so happy to report on the improvements and how good he’s doing now.
We’re realizing that as long as we talk about past events from long ago, that’s when he is the most conversational. He loves to talk about his childhood, growing up with his family, the church and when he and mom came to Georgia with our young family and he started pastoring here in Marietta. His long term memory is still really good, it’s the short term that’s so damaged. So we know that talking about old days is the best way to get him talking. I got him on video a couple of times talking about growing up. He can tell some stories! We might hear them over and over, but they are fresh to him.
I love this pic! Took this on Saturday after our Thanksgiving lunch we had with he and mom. They had a special lunch for all the family members of the memory care area and they had such a nice turnout. We had a table for ourselves and it was so nice.
The memory care side is very nice too, just not quite as fancy as Assisted Living side. But we know he’s well taken care of here, they care for all his needs and he seems quite content now.
I love how they personalized the facility to go along with Acworth history and local sights. This wall is a copy of a brick wall in town.
And this mural is our local red train that is a fixture of downtown Acworth. I’m so glad to have them 5 minutes from our house, what a blessing that is.
We had a really nice lunch together. I make sure to blur out faces for privacy in the facility. Everyone who works there is so nice, it’s been such a blessing. They know us by name now and that’s so nice to know they are caring for my parents.
Mom is so cute. She got a haircut last week and it looks so good. She went to the salon there and the lady did such a good job. She fixed it herself afterward and didn’t get it quite like the stylist did it, but she’ll get better at it.
Mom has had me bring much of her clothes to her after she kept thinking of more things she wanted. It’s so cute to see her be more interested in dressing up and not staying in her house dresses anymore. I know this move has been so good for her. She has blossomed and made so many sweet friends. There’s a lady 2 doors down from her and they are good buddies now and she has a group she does Bible study with every week, as well as bingo several times a week. She’s doing a daily chair sittercize class too, which is great. Her back is so much better since the stress has been taken off her as well as she started using a good walker and that has helped so much.
We are so glad to see all the positive changes in both of them. We are all breathing a sigh of relief that dad has finally started to settle in. Talks of going home are fewer and fewer now. He hasn’t mentioned his car in a couple of weeks. He even asked mom about the house a week or so ago and said I guess our house is just sitting there and she said yes. He told her he wanted me to take care of it and have it. I assured him I would take care of the house and figure out what to do with it. He really wants one of us to move in there, but I told him we all have houses of our own and don’t need to move in. He seemed satisfied that I would handle it and do something with the house.
Renee and Bruce are coming home this week for Thanksgiving and we will continue cleaning out the house after Thanksgiving. We’re having a moving sale on the Saturday after and hope to get most of the house cleaned out while they are home. If any of you want to come to the sale let me know. There will be tools and misc stuff for sale, but most of the bigger things have already been sold. We will then put the house on the market and sell it. It’s a big job but I’ve been selling a lot of the furniture on Facebook Marketplace the last 6 weeks and have sold quite a bit. You would think it would be sad, but I’m really not sad about that part. I’m so happy mom and dad are settled in a nice place and taken care of so well. Mom is as happy as she can be. She’s got all her favorite things with her and that’s all that matters. I asked her a few weeks ago if she missed her house and she said in a way, but not really because the house reminded her of stress and work. She has none of that now! Praise the Lord! Even though I grew up in that house, I’m not that sad to see it go. We lived next door to where they are first when I was in 2nd grade and then moved into their current house when I was 15. My dad built both houses.It will always be my teen home and that street will always be in my memories, but it’s time to let it go.
Lauren and her family are staying with me and Mark now since Renee moved away and they always stayed with her. So our house will be family central now for the holidays. I’m excited to host them and it will be lively around here with 3 girls and Daisy running around. I’ve been working on my office space, making it into an office/guest room/playroom. It’s coming together so cute and I’ll share that with you when I get it all finished and photographed. It’s a small room but very cozy with a new daybed and trundle that Parker and Iris will sleep on. I put a big armoire in there, which will hold a small TV as well as my printer and other things for storage. It will be much more functional now and I think I’ll use it more. I love going in there now that I’ve gotten rid of my other office furniture and turned it into a cozier space.
So that’s an update on my parents! Thank you all for being so supportive and loving them so much. I’ve shared lots of our visits on Instagram stories over the last few weeks and I captured the Thanksgiving prayer that dad prayed for everyone. It was so sweet! They call him Pastor and what an honor that is for him. I know he enjoys that and I’m glad they are so respectful towards him. I know for certain we chose the right place for my parents. We couldn’t be happier with Dogwood Forest in Acworth!
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. I’m picking up mom and dad and we are going over to my cousin, Brenda’s house for the day to celebrate together as a family. I’ll be sure and take more pictures of that. We always try to do a family picture in front of the fireplace too so I hope we get another one. Mark is going with his family for Thanksgiving, so we will have to take a family picture with him at Dogwood in front of their fireplace. We love our family pics!
Kaylar Page says
Oh, Rhoda – I’m just seeing your posts. I am so grateful for your honest updates on your parents and so glad to know they’re doing well at Dogwood. My Mother suffered from dementia as well and the stress on Daddy to try to care for her and keep things going at home was just too much – too much stress for both of them and us kids. Memory Care for her was a better solution as hard as it was for all of us to watch. She’s been gone for a little over 3 years now and we miss her every day. Dad is now 93 and still living in their home, but that may need to change soon. I’m thankful that your Dad has become more accepting of his new home and that your sweet Mom is getting to take care of her now. So hard, I know. You are a wonderful daughter – always remember that when the days are hard. May the Lord richly bless you all.