Caregiving, Blogging and Dad’s Broken Tooth

Last week when I published a post, a message popped up telling me it was my 250th post!  I was surprised though I have been writing this blog since December 2011.  When I started, dad had recently been discharged from the hospital and nursing home after an illness.  I was stressed and looking for support from all of you, and you sure have come through for me.  I have found a lot of support and information from my readers and am truly thankful for that.

Dad took awhile to recover from his illness and get back his self-sufficiency.  Over the first 6 months he became more and more independent.  He started to sit in the lounge more and later he began to take part in some community activities.  For awhile he seemed to be signing up for most of the offsite luncheons.

Now after 30 months, dad is slowing down again.  He still sits in the lounge a good part of the day, but he rarely signs up for trips outside of his ALF.  His hearing is deteriorating and so is his vision.  He seems content to just sit in the lounge.  He rarely watches television or reads a newspaper though he is often sitting in front of the television while one program after the next plays out in front of him.

Dad always enjoyed visits from my son and grandson and probably still does.  However, in more recent months, dad has not been very communicative during those visits.  His hearing makes conversations difficult, even when I mute the television which is always running.  I think he still likes to have my son and grandson there even though they don’t do much talking.

This week my grandson was playing computer games while visiting dad.  The little guy refused to go over and say “Hi” to dad or to give him a “High Five”.  But dad watched him play some of the time, and seemed “spaced out” at other times.  My grandson gets shy around dad because he doesn’t respond the way he used to.

Sometimes I feel like I can have easier conversations with dad when it is just me and him.  However in the past month I have also found that difficult as dad asks me to repeat every comment about six times before he understands what I just said.  So often we just sit in silence watching the television.

I try to bring pictures and other conversation starters to keep dad responsive to my presence.  Still, I was most successful last week on the day we went out for lunch.  Dad ate very well and finished his entire entre for the second week in a row. (Usually he just finishes half.)

His appetite is better when he eats out. He has his favorite meals and almost always orders the same thing.  However, often the next day he won’t remember that we had eaten out at all.

I was feeling encouraged until I noticed his tooth was chipped.  I commented on it but dad didn’t want me to look at it.  He insisted it had been like that for awhile, but I knew this was a new problem.

I felt frustrated as things were finally starting to calm down.  I know dad would just like me to ignore it, but I can’t.  This is a pretty big chip.  I called his dentist and made an appointment which is for tomorrow.  I hope there is an easy fix but wonder what it would be.  The chip is big but I know he wouldn’t want to sit still for a lot of dental work.

This is his front tooth so I prefer not to have it pulled.  I think he would have a hard time learning to use dentures at this point in his life.  He would forget they were there!  Anyway there is no sense in worrying about it as we will have to deal with it tomorrow.

I have to admit I miss my “old dad” for his sense of humor and interactive conversations.  Yet, I am glad we are still able to get together regularly for lunch and some time for conversations, brief as they are.


About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiving, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Caregiving, Blogging and Dad’s Broken Tooth

  1. Terry says:

    Oh my dear friend. The words hit me when you said you missed your old dad. How I missed my dad too when his body was so sore from bone cancer I could never give him the slightest hug or touch him in any way. Even laying my hand over his hand would break his bones. My brother was thankfully there in memory but seeing him for three months not be able to move or laugh because the pain was so strong. I hate it that you have to go through these feelings. I wish I could make everything better. I guess all I have to add is enjoy every visit, even if you have to repeat yourself so many times. Big hugs

  2. I too was frustrated when my mom had difficulty talking. But as I try to express in recent posts, the time we spent together, sitting in silence, became an even deeper expression of our bond. Even if she could not express it in words, her eyes said so much. I look back on those interactions with a fondness I cannot capture. I am sure just knowing you are by his side is a soothing balm for your dad. Also, re the children, I remember an HBO special on ALZ a few years ago; there was a segment on communicating to children about what we happening to their grandparent. I imagine it would apply to all relationships where the elder person becomes withdrawn. I hope this helps, even a little, Hallie from A Swift Current

    • Thanks, Halle. I think dad enjoys when I am there even when we are not talking, but I feel the loss.

      As for my son, he is grown with a son of his own, so understands the situation. It is just harder for him to sit and not talk to dad because of dad’s hearing problems. Having my grandson there makes it easier for then dad can just watch the little one and enjoy his activities and the rest of us can just watch and feel present.

  3. dementedgirl says:

    Congratulations on reaching 250 posts!! 🙂

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