Personal story of dementia and old-age
My personal experience with my father-in-law has been an up hill battle for over the last four years. Prior to retiring from his transportation business in 2013, he was actively out of the house, actively exercising through his love for weight living, and also just more active in the house. When he retired from working completely, he tended to watch television, engaged less in weight lifting, and slept throughout the day. Due to poor hygiene and a poor diet, he began to experience more health problems including a few instances of sever sickness that landed him in the hospital. Due to a domestic violence one day with his former wife, he was forced out of the home to live elsewhere, which made things worst.
My wife and I had to make many trips to monitor him in the places that he rented. During this time period, we had to monitor his medicine and food-intake because he was resisting to take his medicine on a daily basis and eating enough. There were time periods when my wife and I took turns to go see him nearly everyday of the week. Eventually, my wife was able to hire IHSS (in home support service) to remind him to take his daily medicine and to encourage him to eat food and to warm up his food. By this time, approximately 2015, he was enrolled into On Lok, a day care and medical organization that took over the role of Medical benefits. Once enrolled and normalized, a great deal of stress was taken off our hands and his overall health improved tremendously, in part because he was out of the house attending day care starting with 3 days a week, and eventually 5 days a week, which suggests that daily activity is crucial to overall mental and physical health.
When we thought things would only get better, his landlord started to complain about his abuse with doing laundry, over heating food in the microwave, or leaving the stove unattended, turning the television volume too loud in his room, or kicking against the wall during his nightmares. This was his third place of rented after being forced out of his ex-wife’s home, and the possibility of him losing another place added more stress to our lives, which occurred in November, 2016. Eventually in December 2016, we were able to move him into an independent living group home, where he had to share a room with another person, which began another chapter.
The problems that occurred at this group home was a mixture of his own personal problems and that with the other members of the household. There was one incidence of violence. Due to being agitated by a roommate, physical violence broke out. In time, there were instances in which he would leave the house and being lost. At least two occurrences resulted in reporting him to the Santa Clara police as being missing. With the continued assistance with IHSS and day care at On Lok, his overall health was steady for the two years of living at this home. Turning the television on too loud was resolved my removing the speaker wire from inside the television, forcing him to use wired headphones. Through the time periods of 2013 – 2018, multiple attempts were made to convince doctors, social workers, and On Lok that he needs to be in a nursing home or assisted living facility. The break through occurred after him being lost for the third time in October, 2018, which initiated the On Lok social worker to find him an assisted living home. The first attempt was unsuccessful because this particular home feared of him wandering again. Since it is not a locked down home, he may wander and get lost again. The second attempt was made at Fremont Village Assisted Living Facility and Memory care. After several weeks of correspondences, he was successfully placed into there memory care wing in October, 2018, which now begins another chapter in his life.
Now more than ever, the day-to-day responsibilities and concerns of my father-in-law has gone down tremendously, allowing us to resume a more normal life. That being said, it is still not trouble-free.