Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Alzheimer Road to Hell

Prognosis for the number of demented in Europe until 2030

My dotty dad has an advanced stage of Alzheimer's. Actually, I don't think of him as my dad really any more. He's a zombie, a physical shell that looks like my dad, but the inside is empty. He's more-or-less doubly incontinent but refuses to wear pads (imagine the washing), prowls around looking for chocolate and biscuits to eat and means of getting out (to where?), stands too near getting in the way and watches what you do, blankly, but can't help, stands with his hands on his hips being high and mighty, looking stroppy and refusing to do anything, not because he doesn't want to do it, but because that's the attitude of the moment. He can't feed himself, can't get a drink, can't go (or even find) to the loo unaided. Yet he goes into the loo to flush it, empty. He gets up in the night and opens every door upstairs several times. Getting a good night's sleep is impossible. He can't dress himself or undress. He is totally and utterly dependent. He would die if left for a week, surrounded by poo. He has no memory, no speech, doesn't recognise his family or anyone else and is turning nasty and menacing.

What is the point of this person? Beyond existence for the sake of it, that is.

His wife, my mother, is having to care for this man who fucked up a large part of her life, who she doesn't love, and who is now fucking up her old age. He is in the peak of physical health what with good meals, comfy home, treats out, no stress. It's the perfect illness for the lazy man. My mother is at her wit's end with anxiety, fatigue, exhaustion, loathing, various serious physical ailments and the drudge of cleaning up after disgusting accidents. He is driving her to an early grave.

But what is the point of him?

Does she want to lose her home to finance care for him in the lap of care-home luxury? No, she doesn't. Does she want to live in a crappy old tiny flat because that's all she could afford after he fucked up and the equity release taken out to cover him has been paid back? No, she doesn't. She reckons she's given enough already. She's 76 and it's her turn. Her turn to live the life that's left to her, in her own home.

Is that too much to ask?

What is the point of keeping someone alive who has no concept of anything? Assisted suicide doesn't even come into it because he's way too far gone to even know what life and death are. What is the point of him now? Apart from killing my mother.


  1. How sad. The reverse was the story with my grandparents; my grandfather looked after my grandmother who had Parkinson's - eventually my grandfather took his own life. Perhaps the governments that keep people alive should look after them in order to keep their partners alive.

  2. It's a huge issue that governments are avoiding here. They just hide behind 'sanctity of life', 'human rights' and other bollocks that seem to apply one-way to gonner Alzheimer zombies rather than compos mentis carers. Where are their human rights?

    Read the Alzheimer's Society to see how nauseating their attitude is. "If your (dotty) spouse gets violent, try removing yourself from the room and find out why s/he gets like that". Bollocks. If s/he gets violent, call the police and have him/her carted off to a cell like you would a mugger, or any other loony.

    Oh, but that might cost local authorities a penny or two, so better send him/her home until real damage is done. It's like the way they deal with dangerous road bends. Wait until a serious accident and then, grudgingly, spend some money to fix it.

    It makes me vomit.

  3. There is the problem, isn't it? Your Father is in a world without worries or cares, and your poor Mum is having to cope with this horrendous situation and is stuck - it must be terrible for her.
    It seems there is a 'push it under the carpet' attitude to Alzheimers which could affect any one of us, like cancer, but it won't go away because we don't talk about it - indeed the problem is getting worse ever year as the Baby Boomers slip into senility...

  4. I've just put up a couple of links on my blog which appeared in today's Telegraph ...

    Louise x

  5. Thanks, DD, they were very interesting, and scary!

  6. That is the most moving thing I have read in a long time.
    It sounds like your poor mother is "caring" for someone that she doesn't even like which seems like one of the worst torments to me.
    There is no person there as you say just a zombie.



  7. Thanks, Nick. You're right, she hasn't cared for him for many many years, but that generation didn't consider divorce like we do now. My mother said that wedding anniversaries felt like a farce.

    It's what you're subjected to, have to endure that is so much harder than anything you take on determinedly yourself.


Comments are bienvenue.