Growing up I only wanted to do one thing. I wanted to do peoples hair and their nails; I wanted to make them feel good about themselves. I wanted was to become a cosmetologist. But one drastic event happened, and I realized that wasn’t what I really wanted. What I wanted was to become a nurse, and help people who really needed it, like my grandmother. She was 88 years old, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, losing the ability to remember things, and was slowly fading away from us all. Then on March 22, 2009 without realizing, she woke up next to her husband who had died in his sleep.
My grandma grew up in a time when she didn’t have to work; my grandpa wouldn’t let her. She didn’t have to finish school, because her parents decided it was more important for the boys to go instead of the girls. And she also didn’t have to learn how to drive. Before Alzheimer’s, my grandma did all of the house work, she paid all the bills, she did everything that was needed to keep the home running. My grandpa wasn’t a very patient person, so my grandma did all of the necessary house things. The closer she got to showing signs, the more repetitive she was when it came to cleaning. She would clean the same thing over and over, because she would forget if she had done it already or not.
When she really started to show signs of the disease, my grandpa handled it a lot better than most would have thought. When she started losing her memory my grandpa started doing the laundry, taking them out to eat, and paying the bills. They had their routine, and they stuck to it. He looked after her, and if you were ever to see them together, it was amazing how they acted. He helped her with everything, without a complaint. My grandpa was more than cooperative when it came to my grandma.
Alzheimer’s disease is painful to watch. My grandparents lived in Kailua, on the island of Oahu, so we weren’t there to directly witness what was happening, but hearing about it felt just as bad. After my grandpa died, we had to put her into an adult foster home, basically a private assisted living home. She was in two different ones in four years. When she was first put into the home, she could still talk and move and eat on her own. She could still do things just not as fast, and sometimes multiple times. As time went on, she lost more and more functions; she started losing the ability to talk, and motor functions. She couldn’t go to the restroom, and it got to the point she was bedridden.
Living in an adult foster home can have ups and downs to it. When you put a loved one in a home, you don’t always know the caregiver who owns the home that your loved one is moving into. It’s not only hard in the fact that you don’t know the person, but prices vary depending on where you are. Sometimes until the family member has been living there for a long period of time, you don’t get to know the real person, who is becoming the caregiver. Everyone has a secret and you never know what it…