Friday, August 6, 2010

Worrying about Dementia

A post on a blog I like to read mentioned the horror of feeding dementia patients with a feeding tube.  This person knows thereof what she speaks of.  I've never had the honor of being a caretaker for someone with dementia and I pray I never am.

I know I am wandering a little bit from "autism" but there is something in common here-how we treat the most helpless of our society will bear on how we treat those with autism-some of whom need a lot of help (and some who can function quite well, thank you.)

When I think of this tube feeding post, I think of three people.

First, the sister of a work friend.  Said sister is in a nursing home, suffering from early onset dementia.  She is in her 60's and her mind is totally whereever the mind of a dementia patient goes.  We like to go walking sometimes, that workmate and I, and sometimes she excuses herself because she needs to go to the nursing home and help feed her sister.

Next, another work friend whose husband is in a similar situation, thanks to several strokes, and finally he too was moved to a nursing home after years of her caring for him at home.  She too is totally devoted to her loved one, visits him constantly, spends many of her non-work hours with him, or advocating for him.  Or thinking of him.

Finally, a cousin of my husband's, who cared for her father, in his 90's and with Alzheimers, until he died.  She never put him in a nursing home.  She did whatever she could, including partial home health aide coverage to give herself a chance to get away.  She even was treated for breast cancer during this caretaking period.  But she was bound and determined to be there for her Dad and she was, to the bitter bitter end.

And then I think of this blog post.  Who has brought us to this?  The insurance companies?  Won't pay for nursing homes to treat their residents like human beings?  [that being the case, what do group homes do for their residents?]

And you know what?  One day this generation of children with autism are going to age, and find themselves in nursing homes.  (shudder)

May someone care for me enough to save me from this fate.  And spare Bil, too.

UPDATE:  I may write more about this topic later.  But not now.  I decided this would be a bit off-topic.  So back to autism, Bil and Mil in my next post.

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