Are Your Parents Having Memory Issues?

In the end it was a great visit, but it was certainly frustrating in the planning.

You are not sure that your father or his wife have Alzheimers, but they were both certainly confused when you were in the process of planning the latest trip to go visit them. You realize that they have a tendency to forget details so you actually called your father to tell him that you and both of your daughters would be driving in to see them early on Thursday evening. You felt the need to explain that you would not be arriving until early evening because your older daughter was taking a CPR class that did not end until 1:00 pm.

That explanation was wasted. In your father’s 87 year old mind anyone who came to visit would start their travels by 7:00 am at the latest, certainly arriving well before lunch. This travel mantra was nothing new. For decades, your father has always thought the same thing. If you say you are driving in for a visit, he assumed you would arrive early, because on ly an idiot would travel later in the day.

For a brief moment, however, you thought he understood and he suggested they would drive into town and meet for dinner. By the next morning, though, he called, demanding to know where you were. He remembered you were meeting in town to eat, but his internal clock erased anything his mind may have remembered and by default he assumed you were meeting for lunch. His call came at 10:00 am and you explained it would still be another three hours before you left, plus the three hours drive time. He adjusted and again said they would meet you and the girls for dinner.

Memory Care Centers Offer Specific kinds of Care for Alzheimers and Dementia Patients

You really cannot imagine your father yet living in a home care for Alzheimers patients, and he has not even started the process of getting a diagnosis, but as you consider his wife, this move to a care certain seems pretty likely. In fact, when you finally left home that day for the three hour trip to visit, your younger daughter called and Grandma answered. She indicated that yes they would be meeting you for dinner, but hung up without indicating where. As you got closer and you knew that your dad and his wife would need to be leaving if they wanted to be in town on time, your older daughter made a phone call. Again there was confirmation that the grandparents would be meeting you for a meal in town. In addition, a restaurant had finally been selected. The third call, when you arrived, however, confirmed that Grandma was still sitting in her chair; they had not even left. Like every earlier phone call, either you or one of the girls tried to call your dad. He never answered the phone.

In the end, after waiting for nearly 30 minutes at the designated restaurant, you made one more call. You tried your Dad’s cell phone first, hoping that his wife would answer because they were on the road. When no one answered the cell phone, you tried the house for the fourth time that day. Grandma was still sitting right beside the phone. On this call, you changed tactics. You simply stated that you were coming through town, and asked if there was anything that they wanted you to pick up. The answer was no, you left the restaurant parking lot, and started the last part of the drive. You worried that, as his wife stated, that your dad had been outside mowing in the heat this entire time. When you arrived, both your dad and his wife were in the house, and immediately asked if you all wanted to go out for dinner!

The fact of the matter is even if you do not have Alzheimers or need dementia care, nearly 70% of Americans turning 65 will need long term care at some point. In fact, 40% of assisted living residents receivedassistance with three or more daily activities. For these reasons, it is important to have conversations so you understand their wishes and what they want when they can no longer live on their own.

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