Dignifying Dementia Essay

Submitted By JaclynGig
Words: 1321
Pages: 6

Jaclyn Gigliotti
Observation & Analysis
October 23, 2013

Fading Away

In the past I was able to look up to my Pepe (grandfather) for anything. He always knew the right things to say to make any situation better. He was dependable, and hard working. Pepe worked the same job for 44 years as a Postal Clerk, he hardly every missed a day of work. All the employees he worked with knew that they could always turn to him for advice, encouragement, on almost anything. He was also a part of the city council for 14 years. The committee would always turn to Pepe first because they knew he was the hardest working member. He would always get the project or issue taken care of as quickly and efficiently as possible. Pepe also had quite the sense of humor. My Pepe was always in the best shape. We would take many trips to the park down the street from his house. I remember always struggling to keep up to his pace. He would be holding my hand dragging me from behind him. I was basically running to keep up with his energetic body. Keeping up with him was all part of the fun. I constantly looked forward to going to see my Pepe. It didn’t matter where I was going to see him all that mattered was that he was there. I always had a wonderful time with him and never wanted it to end. He had been there for me but slowly began to disappear. Now he has been stifled by an unbelievable amount of confusion. He has days so bad that he can hardly form a single sentence. Pepe is now the dependent one. He looks towards everyone else around him for the directions to the most basic tasks. He needs someone to remind him to do just about everything. It could be something as simple as taking medication at the same time each day or to being reminded to take a shower or change his clothes. The mornings are usually a barometer for the rest of the day. He may get out of bed with a smile on his face and a basic sense of reality. The next morning may begin minus the smile, but with the addition of glazed, staring eyes and a look of helplessness. He is basically living in a state of limbo now, not so aware of everything going on around him, yet aware of the fact that he can’t remember how to fully communicate his needs and feelings. Not “crossed over” to the other side, yet still not the man that I remember. I was not going to use the term “just a ghost of the man”, but when faced with this situation it fit too perfectly. The “other side” is a state of pure hell for my Pepe’ as well as everyone else around him. The delusions take over any chance of being close to reality. Executive reasoning is out the window as well as verbal ability. Attempted conversations consist of mumbling, nonsense words and pointless sentences. His laughing at nothing, TV commercials, the dogs, is sudden and brought on by what ever is going on in his head at the time. He then experiences a sense of frustration when he realizes that he is not making sense and has no control over what is happening. We cannot do anything about it either. We just have to watch him physically and mentally deteriorate. This frustration can cause Pepe to viciously whip his cane across the kitchen island and knocking everything off, or yelling at everyone. Blaming things on someone else while denying any fault of his own. Each day and each burst is always at a different level. We go day-to-day wondering how extreme or moderate each day will be. Pepes’ dependability on others takes valuable time away from everyone’s lives, their work and leisure activities. My father and step mom have to be on task every second that Pepe is awake and moving. My father has had to take multiple days off from work to go to the hospital or because someone needs to be home to watch Pepe, take him to doctor appointments. Taking vacations depends upon whether or not my aunt has time to watch Pepe. Vacations are also shortened to two or three day periods instead of extended times. My father has had to give up being in a band,…