Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease for everyone involved.  The other day my father was evicted from Benton House Assisted Living in Clermont because he was violent with staff.  He twisted a caretaker’s arms twice and punched a caretaker in the ear after a diaper change.  It happened with a night nurse that I never met before so I don’t really know what happened other than word of mouth.  I have never witnessed any of this violence in any way from him but more than one person has told me and it is a known side affect of the disease so I believe it.  When I see him, he seems so unstable and weak getting up and down that it seems hard for me to see him having the strength to hurt someone.  I’m sure he was being sedated at Evergreen Manor in Safety Harbor, FL to help make his behavior more manageable.  It’s tough to know he is healthier not being sedated but I also understand that he can’t be hurting staff.  There has to be a balance with the medication so that he is only getting the minimum amount to keep him manageable.  After what happened, I understand that his medication will need to be increased.  I spent the night looking up Alzheimer’s and violence.  It is usually caused by fear.  The best way to handle it is to try to alleviate their fear.  The fear could have been from past traumas, the current situation or fear from a change in surroundings because Alzheimer’s affects the short term memory where the long term memory is still available.  A person with Alzheimer’s can get confused, disoriented and scared in a new place because they can’t remember the new place or why they are there or who the new people are that they are surrounded by.  I wonder how much staff is trained on Alzheimer’s and violence to help alleviate the patients fear to prevent violent outbursts.  If a staff member is short or impatient during a diaper change then yes, this could create a fearful situation especially  for my father as he is so unstable with standing.  He is afraid to fall.

We were able to move him to Crain’s Lodge in Clermont thankfully and they have the possibility of converting over to medicaid after 18 months where Benton House didn’t have that option.  It’s really an emotional roller coaster with worry that I have over the situation.  I worry that he will get kicked out of his new home.  I worry about the cost.  I worry about the medication being too much or too little.  I worry about my mother’s illness with Parkinson’s.  I worry about raising my children in a way where they don’t have to worry or feel the worry that I’m feeling.  I normally write everyday but I was frozen with anxiety.  I couldn’t sleep well at night and then I was exhausted during the day.  I had to ask my neighbor to help me move my father’s furniture out of Benton House and into Crain’s Lodge.  He forgot his tools so I’m asking staff to see if maintenance has a power drill and a wrench.  I quickly move as I also have my 4 year old with me.  I ask him to follow me back and forth to the car.  Thankfully it’s only a few trips.  I load up my mother’s car with all of his personal belongings and I drive to Crain’s Lodge.  We unload everything and I keep accidentally trying to leave the facility without the nurse buzzing me out and I set off the alarm.  The facility is on lockdown with memory care because patients are escape risks.  I move everything into Crain’s Lodge with my son following me back and forth having to ring the doorbell each time and scanned out each time.  I’m so lucky that my son is such a sweet boy and listened the whole time.  The staff also helped me and they were great too.  They run to their maintenance department and get a drill and a wrench for me.  I put together the bed with the maintenance man and on my way out my son screams some of his full out soprano screams.  “What is the matter?”  I say.  “He says he’s mad at me because that’s his bed and he says that he doesn’t love me anymore.”  He’s only 4 and I know he doesn’t know what he’s saying so I pick him up and talk sweet to him and tell him that we will buy him a better bed.  I hold him but he refuses my hugs.  I feel frustration with trying to help and keeping everyone happy.  My mother has Parkinson’s which is a form of dementia as well and she is on the verge of needing care.  The cost of these facilities is outrageous.  I drop off my son at his dad’s house and go to work.

I teach my advanced yoga class.  I have to admit, it wasn’t my best class.  It also wasn’t the worst.  My students are the best and even though I’m the teacher in the class, I’m learning from them.  They work so hard and are always such good sports about trying something new.  I’m glad I could push through teaching the class as I always feel so much better afterwards.  I love connecting with my students.  After I help to teach the high school class yoga.  I could have gone home but I feel less stress at the yoga studio.  We finish up at 8:30pm and I go home. 

When I walk into the door I smell feces.  I don’t have any pets.  My house is under construction with new flooring, kitchen and bath with handicap bars for my mom.  She is sleeping in my daughter’s room.  I know she was exhausted as the day was hectic for her too.  I tell her something smells and she hurries up and goes to the bathroom.  Her stoma bag exploded.  She had her colon removed due to Crohn’s disease a few years ago and there is a lot of special care needed for a stoma.  First of all, it has to be changed regularly and if there is gas then it needs to be released or the bag fills with gas.  If you don’t change it regularly then it explodes everywhere.  My mom is in the bathroom cleaning up.  She is half asleep.  I run into the bedroom and change the sheets.  Why did I keep all my father’s stuffed animals?  I have like 30 on the bed!  Ahhhhh!  I take everything off and rinse the spots before putting it in the washer.  I rinse my mom’s cloths and wash everything.  I make the bed and leave the stuffed animals in the closet.  My mom wants me to organize them but I’m exhausted.  I have to help her change her stoma bag.  She showers.  Then, she holds paper towels over her small intestine that sticks out of her belly to prevent anything else from coming out.  We have to put this putty around the stoma ring so that it seals the bag closed.  Then we have to powder her intestine so it doesn’t stick.  It’s hard for her to powder the bottom.  Then we peel the back of the sticker off to stick the bag onto her belly.  We go to bed exhausted.  I’m glad my dad is moved and everything is taken care of, for now. 

If you have it in you to say some prayers for my parents then please do so.  Send them love, warmth, peace and anything else that can alleviate fear.  I really believe that energetically we all can help in some way.  My parents are just two people suffering with these awful diseases.  Memory care is full at the assisted care facilities and there is a whole population of Alzheimer’s patients and caretakers that also need some energetic love.  From my perspective, the more you take care of yourself, the more you won’t need help from your loved ones.  My parents diet was what I call the SAD diet or Standard American Diet with processed foods, heavy animal products, dairy, fried foods, soda, sweets, alcohol, etc.  There are many theories on the cause of this disease, round up, diet, clean water, etc.  The one aspect that we do have control over is our diets.  Nutrition plays a huge roll, no doubt in my mind.  This is a newer disease in the era of fast, processed, genetically modified, drug & hormone induced food.  I teach plant based nutrition because I know how much it helps to increase the autoimmune system to avoid autoimmune diseases.  Everything I do is because of the love that I have for my parents and so that I can help prevent others from suffering.