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Getting old and losing your independence is kind of drag. I would love to share my exact words on watching a loved one get old but we are a G rated blog so my words of choice wouldn’t be appropriate. -ha. When I tell you I am shocked at the response from my post last week about our new series on the blog, “Dementia Diaries“, I am not exaggerating. The comments and emails you all sent were so kind, sweet, funny, some sad and most importantly, helpful. For those of you who didn’t see the blog post, I shared how my grandfather is experiencing (well has been for a while now) symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Sundowning is a term that I had heard before but since my grandfather is experiencing these symptoms more often than not lately, I decided to read up on it and ultimately decided to start sharing our experiences here on the blog. An online diary called, Dementia Diaries. I considered sharing over a year ago when things were really stared to decline for my grandfather but every time I would start to write, I would cry. Now I guess I am just use to it, tears still fill my eyes as I write but it’s getting easier.
Growing up, my brother and I spent a lot of time at my grandparents home while my parents worked. I remember my grandfather always being a super sharp and very strong. He had a small barn where he had a few cows, goats, chickens and barn cats. I loved to head to the barn with him, sit on the stacked bales of hay, and just watch him. He was tough, sometimes mean (never to me) and very stubborn. He was always in charge and made the decisions when it came to my grandmother. They were so old school. My grandmother never worked outside the house and never had her drivers license. I always thought that was kind of strange. My grandfather worked multiple jobs and always made the decisions on everything. Although my dad was always and still is, the only kid he listens to. My dad is the one (he has two sisters) that my grandfather will take advice from or listen to if my grandfather needs to do something. Sometimes I reflect on how much time as gone by and never in a million years did I think I would be writing about my strong and sharp as a tack grandfather, getting old and losing his independence. I certainly didn’t think I would be sharing it with the world to read. -ha.
My dad and son with my grandfather
A couple of weeks ago while taking my grandfather to the doctor, he told me how happy is with dad and how thankful he is that my dad takes care of him and my grandmother. My grandfather was in a bad way before the holidays last year (his diabetes was out of control) and it was then, that my dad told him we were taking over his meds and when he could leave the house. You see, my grandfather still works. Yes, I know that sounds crazy but he still goes to work. He sweeps the floors at the construction company that my dad has worked at for over 30 years. The owner is a close family friend and loves to give my grandfather something to do. Don’t worry, he is only there for 3 hours and takes many breaks. -ha. The problem was, my grandfather’s symptoms of Dementia, sundowning and diabetes was wreaking havoc on his body, brain and ability to make good decisions. Prior to the holiday’s last year in 2015, he started leaving the house at 2 am and heading to work. He started taking his insulin 6 hours apart instead of 12 hours apart. He would come home from working his 3 hours, take a nap and wake up thinking it was the next day and head back to work. Sometimes I had to laugh because the things he was doing were so outrageous, they were almost funny BUT when it started happening more often than not, it was time to make a change. Stay tuned, more on losing your independence and getting old later. Oh and I got through this post with only a couple tears ;).
What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.