Thursday, July 25, 2013

Enjoying the Sunshine

2 weeks ago my folks flew out to Arizona from Colorado to move in with my family and I.  It was the hardest on my mother because she has lived in only 2 places her entire life.  The first 23 years of her life were spent in England where she was born.  She moved to America in 1960 and began the next part of her life in the state of Colorado and for all but about 15 years of the next 53 years she lived in a town called Longmont.  My stepfather has lived in several states and even a few countries.  So the move wasn't as hard emotionally for him.

The reason for the move was due to my stepfather's health.  At 85 years of age, he has lived a long, full life.  In fact he regularly went to the gym 3 times a week until October of last year.  He was suddenly tired alot and not motivated to go the gym anymore.  My mother and I figured he had finally realized he was 85 and not 35, unaware that he was suffering from something more.  He seemed fine, as fine as you can at that age when my family and I visited for Christmas.  He joked and laughed and got around fine, just not as much energy as he used to have.


Christmas 2012

He finally went and saw a doctor after the new year and it turned out that he had suffered several mini-strokes which had in turn brought the onset of the early stages of dementia.  After more tests they found that he was actually suffering from vascular dementia, or the hardening of the arteries in the brain, which was causing a disruption in how the brain functioned.  The easy tasks you and I take for granted became harder and harder for him.  My mother went from being a wife to being a caretaker in a matter of months.  From having a husband to having someone that was more like a child or an infant.  At 76 years of age that was more than she could handle by herself.  So, after looking at all the options and the costs involved it was mutually decided they would move out here so that I could help and ease some of her burden.  That decision didn't come easy for her and we wanted to make sure all the options were covered and carefully considered.  After all she was leaving the town she has lived in for over 2/3 of her life.

Thankfully, I think she has begun to settle in and they should be moving into the mini-apartment area we are getting set up for them this weekend.  It has been hardest on my stepfather as change is hard for him to handle with the dementia and can be overwhelming.  There have honestly been a day or two where we we didn't think he would wake up.  But we have had plenty of good days as well.  He likes to sit outside and enjoy the warmth of the Arizona summers....okay maybe not warmth...HEAT.


But the heat does make him more tired:



But he is definitely, not the same man he was 6 months ago.  There are good days and bad days, but we try to focus on the good ones and to encourage him with those good days.

Enjoying a nice warm day in the backyard.

At least he is starting to take an interest in television again. He seems to like the action movies the best.

Watching Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible

So, we get through the rough patches and enjoy the sunshine when it shows up.  We are just believing for more sunshine.......even in the Arizona heat.