Florida Winter Diary – Day 66 for the Alzheimers Snowbirds I Love

After TWO months I am with my hubby Dennis again!!!! We have been honeymooning since Sunday night!!!!!! We have been in Mom’s travel trailer while she and Pawpaw have been settling into their new Winter Home away from Home.

There are Lots of Alzheimer observations from this experience for me to share once I get the chance to write again. I did not realize that Have I NOT written at all during this time since Dennis arrived in Florida!

We have Both been helping with Alzheimers stricken Pawpaw, but I certainly Have Been Focusing on my honey not on writing or anything else. Two months away from a spouse is a long time. Nothing like our service men and women experience but a long time all the same!

We, Dennis and I, together have been focusing on my mom, the tired and worn caregiver of my dear sweet stepdad. AND we focus on Pawpaw who really needs someone with him almost every minute of the day. We have been busy!

My Dennis has a heart of gold and has been busy doing honey-dos for mom. Since Pawpaw’s health issues began in 1987 with his debilitating stroke she has had to hire help unless some of her children were around.

Mom is a great cook which Dennis adores her for, and she uses as an incentive to encourage her worker bees when we are around. In exchange for time and effort she has cooked homemade southern cooked meals of pot roast, chicken pot pie, pork roast, chicken salad and topped them with chocolate covered strawberries, brownies and more!

She teased Dennis for days about not letting me go home at all and THEN Dennis surprised us, called his supervisor and got 2 more much-needed days-off. We are still in FL!!! He has to be back Wednesday so we will leave Tuesday and drive straight home in about 15 hours.

First thing tomorrow mom and I are demonstrating her Brother Sewing Embroidery machine for the Silver Threads Quilting and Sewing Club at the Home Show here in the park!! We have our bags packed of our work completed while I have been here (completed SeaScape thread art wall hanging, quilted Palm tree wall hanging also completed, monogrammed towels, kitchen towels that say: Sue’s Kitchen, towels for the grandkids that have their names, of course the Christmas stockings I started in January….). I am taking my crochet work too! Pictures to come soon!!

I have so much writing to do when I get back to my world. I have my observations and many stories to share about Alzheimers, learning how to move from the working world to the world of retirement, snowbirding here in Florida, and enjoying and appreciating whatever life God gives us.

When I return home I will find computer time to be part if my day again and I will fill in gaps I have left undone while living this rocky yet rosey road helping my aging parents. I do need to concentrate when I am writing and being with Pawpaw does not allow uninterrupted concentration time.

Being with an Alzheimers patient requires patience, concentration and determination to remain patient even when you answer the same question 5 times in a 15 minute span. It requires thought to answer that same question in a different way on the 3rd, 4th and 5th times with a pleasant tone. Answering in a little different way may actually register with Pawpaw when for some unknown reason my first answer did not compute in his brain.

Tonight while mom and Dennis left the house to pick up a last load from the trailer, Pawpaw asked me 5 times where they had gone. None of my answers satisfied him or diverted his concern. Finally I was saved from that question and its repetition when mom and Dennis pulled in the driveway.

Our caregiving ended at about 10:15 tonight. Pawpaw wanted to shut the door to the screened-in porch, no one else wanted the door shut, mom suggested he go ahead and call it a night and he did. He gets cold very easily and the rest of us stay hot trying to help the temperature be comfortable for him.

I will close with one observation of change in Pawpaw’s abilities in these two months. In early January I realized he had forgotten how to get into bed. He did not know how to turn back the covers and asked us for help, what do I do?

Since then one of us makes sure his bed is turned down so he could just get into the bed. Last night mom took him to bed set him down and left him to undress and crawl into bed. After a few minutes, he asked for help. Mom had to remind to undress.

When he began to do that, he stood to remove his pants which he has been unable at do since his stroke is 1987. He fell. Tonight mom went with him and helped him through the whole process andtucked him in. Time is moving quickly and he is losing capacity quickly.

I know Alzheimers patients are different but I have heard some eventually forget how to chew their food….. we are not there yet but I can see how the progression of the disease takes away memories and capabilities on a daily basis.

The Alzheimers Road is tough, and rocky but full of love. Pawpaw has thanked me every day for staying with him. He kisses my cheek and smiles many times.

Today he told me many times, “I sure am going to miss you.”

“I am going to miss you too Pawpaw.”

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