DARCE FARDY: Family discussion on going into care closing in

Six years ago I wrote My Story, a story about my life, to give the grandkids some idea of what it was like in my day. I read it again recently and aced it. I remembered everything.

Dorothea and I have now volunteered for another project. Home-based older adults and their care team … with a monster title: Caring Near and Far, a multi-province investigation of remote monitoring technologies connecting community-based older adults and their care team.

It’s a project of Dalhousie University. It took a few hours for a member of the investigative team to explain it to us. We are told this study will evaluate whether remote monitoring of homes to allow those in care to be in their homes would be efficient.

Sensors would be placed in the home and monitors would be installed to track unsafe behaviours of older adults … and to relieve family or friends. It would show if the person had taken her/his medicines or, for instance, opened the fridge door that day.

We have agreed to support this plan.

I think it is agreed doctors should advise dementia patients that they should not drive. One doctor agrees it represents a loss of autonomy, a loss of self.

Another expert is astounded that people see no connection between driving and dementia. You can’t drive anymore, as dementia delays your reaction time.

Not driving may be a loss of self but it’s not worth the risk, in my view.

I gave it up and it is a damn nuisance. But I considered issues like kids on bicycles driving by your car. Limiting your driving to short trips is not enough.

We need a public health campaign discussing the issue. Physicians should prepare dementia patients, because giving up driving presents a tremendous emotional impact. The afflicted have to reconsider what were once regular mundane tasks, like getting groceries and visiting friends. Driving is indeed a ticket to freedom.

Otherwise how am I doing? I read Maclean’s and other magazines regularly. I have found myself rereading an article I had already read. I was into the story when I realized I had already read it. Same with Halifax Magazine. Not encouraging, but I continue to read.

I think I have lived too long. The last four years have brought on arthritis as well as advanced dementia. My parents didn’t live that long and I don’t remember them dealing with the problems I am.

My arthritic fingers knocked over a cup of tea in the den. We concluded that the mishap caused more of a mess than necessary as Dorothea and Carol were on their knees cleaning up.

Proof positive of my memory loss came when I forgot my lotto numbers.

I guess my regress can be noticed in my columns, which this newspaper has been so kind as to accept. Sometime I may settle in and reread. The decline may be obvious

Eventually, perhaps sooner than later, the family will gather to discuss going into care. I am determined to do that for Dorothea’s sake and to ease pressure on the family. And I will not expect daily visits, especially if it comes to me not recognizing them.

I am encouraged by people contacting me … often to tell me about their family’s experiences.

I’m still on Facebook and text daily. It’s a good distraction.


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