I am so thankful for God and His Word. In Psalm 23 he tells me that no matter what I walk through in life, down low in the valleys or high on the mountaintops he will be with me. Right beside me, holding my hand and guiding me. I have no reason to fear. Jesus is all I need. He gives me rest and renews my strength.
For several years, my husband and I, along with other family members have known that my father-in-law has suffered with Dementia. It is hard watching someone you love lose their memory, struggle with simple tasks and become agitated and angry because they perceive something that isn’t really happening. The brain can play so many tricks on a person when they are ill.
You talk to them on the phone or in person, and in a short period of time, you have heard the same “story” more times than you care to remember, but you keep silent, because you love them. They talk about their lives when they were younger, but aren’t sure what happened 20 minutes ago.
They know their brain is failing them and it is so frustrating to them. They ask how can we fix this? Living like this is horrible. And you have to be the one to tell them, there is no fix. The docs might be able to give you medications to help slow the process, but there is no cure. It will never get any better than it is now. You pray for a cure. You care for them the best way you know how, but then one day it becomes apparent to all the family, they need more can than you can give. Any child that loves their parents, only wants the VERY BEST for them, their life and their well-being.
By the time my father-in-law was diagnosed, he was in Middle Stage Alzheimer’s. I’ve read on Alzheimer’s National Organization page that many people are diagnosed in the middle stage. I am still learning about all the stages of Alzheimer’s and all the symptoms associated with each stage. It’s scary. Not just for him, but for all of us that love and care for him.
Hallucinations are hard for him to deal with; he thinks that what he sees and hears is real. He has fears that aren’t easy to calm down. It’s constant reminders that he is safe; no one will hurt him; he is loved. My husband is the oldest child of 5 siblings. He and another sibling have been taking care of his father on a constant-continual basis for several years now. Taking him to medical appointments,helping with medications, grocery shopping and other tasks he needs help with; along with staying with him on many occasions and giving basic care and support.
When their mother passed on, they spoke of how life would be for their dad and vowed to one another, he would never go to a nursing facility to live out his life. Now the time has come, where it may be the best option for him. At best, we have to do what is in the BEST INTEREST of their father and not what they think might be best. At worst, they can do nothing and Social Service organizations can become involved and make decisions on his behalf.
Job 4:2-4 New Living Translation (NLT)
2 “Will you be patient and let me say a word?
For who could keep from speaking out?
3 “In the past you have encouraged many people;
you have strengthened those who were weak.
4 Your words have supported those who were falling;
you encouraged those with shaky knees.
As for my father-in-law, we don’t know what the future will bring. We can only trust in God to guide us on this new journey. We can reach out to others that have gone before us or are still going through it and we can accept advice and encouragement along the way.
In the beginning, our parents raised us, taught us, disciplined us and most of all loved us and now it is our turn to teach our parent(s), be their rock, be their one constant in their life.. Many of us would not be the people we are today, without the loving instructions we were shown and given in our childhood days.
The one thing I know for sure is the sun will rise another day. Life will go on. Changes will occur and the one steadfast thing that will never change is Jesus. He is the same today, as he was thousands of years ago and he will be the same in the future.
Isaiah 26:3-4 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
4 Trust in the Lord always,
for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.
If you want to learn more about Alzheimer’s, please fee free to explore the links below:
Lord Jesus, As we embark on this journey of caring for our loved one with Alzheimer’s, I beseech you to give us clarity in making difficult decisions, wisdom to know what to do and when to do it and to continually be our strength and hold us up as we tread this unfamiliar territory. Please continue to be with our father and help him on his new walk. Lord, your word says that your Peace passes all understanding and we are to lean on you. Thank you Lord for your continued love and faithfulness in all areas of our lives daily. We exalt you and Praise your Name Jesus. In your Mighty name, I lay my requests at your feet. Amen
It is my prayer that if you or a loved one suffer from any form of Dementia or Alzheimer’s that you know you are not alone. Our Heavenly Father is always with you. He will never abandon you. Jesus Loves you.
Blessings today and always,