So this past weekend I had an interesting experience going to visit my Grandfather in his new home at the demtia care facility. My grandfather has been living with the disease of Alzheimer's for the past few years. Anybody who has had experience witht his disease knows just how difficult it can be for both the parient and family.
The care facility my grandfather is in has only about 30 residents so the staff have the chance to connect with each patient, which puts family member's minds at ease that their loved ones aren't just a number. Atleast it did mine and my grandmother's anyway.
When I arrived their with my Grandma for the first time I was a little nervous about what I would find. But to my suprise it was a very cozy and clean facility. Walls painted a warm yellow that feels inviting. My grandma gave me a quick tour of the facility.
I remembered the way back to my Grandfather's room was to take a right at Margaret's door. This stuck in my mind mostly because the first day Grandma kept telling me when we passed the door she had yet to meet Margaret yet. It's odd the pictures that stick in your mind during moments of stress or difficulty, lol.
My biggest concern or nervousness if you will was how I would handle the state my gramps would be in when I saw him. The first day wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. He spent a lot of time closing his eyes while we talked and only responding minimally. Ofcourse it was obvious he didn't quite know who we were other than we were important to him. Leaving was when it got hard because he got confused and sad that we were leaving. He didn't quite understand. It did break my heart a bit.
The second day was much more difficult, as staff alerted us to the fact that he was having a 'difficult' day. One in which staff had found him waiting at the door with pictures of his family in his hand.....wanting to go somewhere, but not knowing where.....obviously missing someone, but not knowing who. =(
But eventually Grandma & I were able to talk him out of his neighbor's room and into the dining area for tea & cookies. I attempted conversation that he probably didn't totally understand, but I think he enjoyed the effort. However when I mentioned I met a woman at church that day that He had taught to swim, gramps lit up! Just the same as he would have if he had been lucid and he laughed! It was music to my ears and heart!
This was also the time Grandma & I met Margaret. A lovely woman in a wheelchair who talked non-stop about something I didn't understand, but I enjoyed interacting her & seeing her smile :)
It was a difficult thing to see my gramps lost the way he is, but out of Respect & Love I will continue to visit him. No matter what the emotional cost is to me, it's worth it for me to know that I can give that much to the man who did anything he could for me to make sure I was safe & happy my whole life. Now is the time for his family to give back to him, knowing if the tables were turned, he'd do the same for us.