As we take the Alzheimers journey with my Dad, I need to be there more often to take up some of the 24x7 care requirements that my Mom and Sister are shouldering now. So I've just applied for a 3-day workweek, with Tuesdays and Thursdays as my days to take care of Dad. I suspect this will go well.
Currently Dad is mostly just in the forgetful phase of dementia, with some difficulty finding the right words now and then, and just having his brain kinda fade in and out. (It "gets muddy" he says.) The full on hallucinations and seeing me as his old friend, were a one-off event. (This time.)
We are moving forward with establishing a relationship with a local senior memory-care facility, so when the time comes, he has a place to go and get the care he needs and deserves.
This is particularly hard for my sister, who is an expert and consultant on dementia in seniors.
She knows that everyone waits too long to put their loved one in a senior care center; people try to keep their loved ones at home for as long as possible, and to care for the person themselves for as long as possible, too.
But with dementia, there is a point where the brain cannot adapt to new circumstances and changes. So getting a patient into the facility early, while they still have some cognition and higher brain function to adapt to the new environment, is absolutely critical to the patient's long-term happiness and health. Wait too long for admission to the facility, and the person cannot physically adapt to the environment and will be constantly unhappy for the rest of their life. Get them in early, and they can adapt and enjoy the care they will receive.
My sister knows this. She consults with people on this every single day. But now, it is HER dad, and she doesn't want to do it. She's really torn between her professional knowledge and her personal experience.
My Mom has woken up next to my Dad for more than 55 years. She doesn't want him sleeping somewhere else, and waking up in an empty bed.
But, my Dad is an extrovert, a social butterfly, a story-teller. And nowadays he sits in his chair in the front room of the house, barely engaging with the newspaper or a book, and napping constantly. If we go out to a coffee shop or a Dr's appointment, as soon as there are people around, he lights up and engages with them, and becomes the Santa Claus everyone loves.
And he'd get that social interaction in a senior care facility. He'd have that every day. And people his age to talk to and connect with. And tell stories to! :-)
So I'm dropping down to a 3-day workweek so I can be with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays, go out to meetups and happy hours at various senior centers, and just generally keep him moving and engaging with the world outside the house.
... and while all of this is happening, I am thinking about being the last of my line. Neither my sister nor I had kids, and the family ends with me. I won't have kids to do this for me when I get old and experience my phase in that genetic lottery ...