Caring for my parents in long term care, while living far away out of state, has brought many challenges. One such challenge is dealing with my elderly father and his dementia.
Very soon, my parents will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary! That’s a very long time to be married to the same person!
My parents’ marriage has not always been easy. Early on, my dad suffered from mental illness, with depression. In his early 20s, medical care did not know how to treat severe mental illness, so dad was treated with electric shock therapy. Because of that, Dad lost his memory of my early childhood. As time passed, Dad stabilized, was able to work consistently for more than 40 years as a truck driver, earning awards for 4 million safe driving miles! He got his GED at the age of 70 and walked across that graduation stage as if he was earning his PhD!
Now, at 92, Dad is dealing with dementia. Many experts say elderly dementia patients either become angry and hostile, or in the case of my dad, become immensely sweet and loving. Visits with him are increasingly bitter sweet. Bitter, as I see the process of aging on his body, but so sweet, as he expresses loving care towards me and my sister.
As we walk through his last days on this earth, I am immensely grateful for the many years of having my parents together, and for the opportunity to be their daughter in these difficult days