I was in the middle of a tennis match on Friday morning when my cell phone started ringing. And ringing. I didn’t recognize the number, so I waited to retrieve the messages until after the match.

My heart sank as I heard the woman’s voice: “Please call back as soon as possible. We need to talk about your father’s behavior.” It was a call from the director of one of Dad’s respite programs. I wasn’t too surprised, other than having her call my cell phone instead of the home phone. I’ve been getting weekly calls of complaints for over a month now.
It’s taken over a year to find a good balance of respite programs for Dad. Finally, finally! We created a perfectly planned week for Dad. MWF at one program, TTH at another. Dad enjoyed having his “work” to go to, and the county bus picked him up and dropped him off. Mom had a little bit of her life back, since the bulk of Dad’s day was occupied.

It lasted two weeks. And then it all fell apart.

The TTH respite care booted him out. They said that he was bothering the other participants. He’s always, always in a hurry, and he has gotten into a habit of trying to hurry along the program. Things like…telling the guest speaker to go home. Things like…telling the director she talks too much. Things like…rushing everyone through their snack and stuffing the paper cups in his shirt to take home. (He has a sizeable used paper cup collection in his room at the Board and Care, I noticed.)

So, we’re back to finding another respite program. All in all, our family is in a much better situation managing Dad than a year ago. There’s a team in place, now.

But Alzheimer’s has got to be one of the most challenging diseases to deal with…it’s such a marathon.

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