My Grandfather had early Alzheimer's for quite some time before we knew
the diagnosis. In hindsight, as it usually happens, I see that the signs
were there long before he came to live with us.
He and my Grandmother lived in the Midwest, we in Colorado. Unfortunately, in 2002, after a lifetime bought with untreated depression, and an overwhelming responsibility to care
for her 101-year-old mother and her husband with Alzheimer's, my
Grandmother committed suicide. Family members who lived locally took my
Grandfather in and later passed him on to other relatives, but some are able to be
caretakers, and some are not. No fault to anyone. We moved him to
Colorado and have been blessed by him ever since.
Being a caretaker has been somewhat of a historical journey. My Grandmother took with her the
knowledge of what he was allergic to, his medical history, financial
obligations and possessions, and the details of the progression of his
My Mother and I have spent two years piecing together the
pages of his life in order to care for him. We have learned a great deal, I
must say the hard way, about the disease and dealing with the medical community,
Medicaid, legal issues, the Veterans Administration and all of the
other obstacles that stand in the way of caretakers.
We are now, September of 2004, preparing to admit him to a nursing facility. Not because we are
ready, not because he has completely forgotten who we are, but because
of his physical needs and danger from his increasing sundowning.
It is because of sites like this that we learn about the way to proceed, from those
who have walked before us. If you are walking with us. I applaud you, I
weep for you, and I pray for you.
Lunny and Carrie Faye
Click to enlarge photo