What do I do if my dad, who has Alzheimer’s, decides to “call it quits”?
This is a good question for Alzheimer’s patient caregivers since it’s not an uncommon scenario. At some point, you dad may decide he’s ready for death. This could be verbal, but if he can’t talk, you still might be able to sense it. By this point, no doubt, the disease will have been a tough battle. He could be very tired. As hard as it might be for you or other family members, you have to let go and allow your father his wish, and the peace he is seeking. Death is, after all, a part of life. For him, death is a good thing. For those left behind, it can be difficult. It is never easy, no matter how long the disease has been around or how much you’ve prepared for a final good-bye. By this time, you will already have lost a lot of your father along the way, yet it is tough to come to grips with because it is so final. Let yourself grieve. Talk with others around you — friends, family, professional counselors, clergy, etc. Continue to speak with your father. Reminisce together. Sharing your feelings and thoughts can be a healing process. Of course, contact your father’s physician if you sense he is ready to die. The doctor might order hospice care. It is a wonderful service that will not only help your father but also you and the rest of the family. Hospice workers’ goal is to make your father comfortable, peaceful and pain-free. They also want to support you in your time of grief and lighten your load. They will allow you to rest and recoup energy. Hospice is there to help the entire family in the grieving process. An excellent resource is “The Indispensable Alzheimer’s Resource Kit.” It can be downloaded at no cost by clicking here.