Ron, caring for his father

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. At the time, my family and I knew little about the disease and its progression, but we wanted to keep him in his home and allow him to continue doing what he wanted to do in life while finding solutions to challenges as they arose. As the disease progressed, the challenges became more difficult. Although my dad forgetting my name made me emotional, my biggest worry was his safety, and this fear was eating away at my ability to be a confident caregiver.

That fear became a reality when my dad went missing and I had to call the police. As his caregiver, I saw that as a failure on my part, but instead of turning away, I started looking for solutions. Without confidence as a caregiver, I was anxious, unsure, and unable to make decisions about his care. Assessing situations where my fear would be at its highest point, I looked for what I could do to increase my confidence as a caregiver. I put signs in the house that would say “stay home”, I installed cameras in the house so that I could see if my dad was safe and put a sensor that would alert my mom and I when the front door would open very late at night. I used every tool and strategy I could think of to make sure that he could continue living, safely, at home with my mom.

But you don’t need fancy gadgets or tools. To further ease our worry, we informed our neighbours, our local coffee shop and a corner store he would frequent often to call my mom and I if they saw my dad lost. Building that community kept my dad safer.

My dad passed away peacefully in his sleep at home 10 years after his diagnosis. At the end of it all, my experience as a caregiver made me closer to my dad and mom. I learnt that with caregiving, all that matters is that you did the best you could, and you did it with love.

Failure, which happens in caregiving and life, is an opportunity to: Find Another Important Lesson Under Review of the Experience.

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