One Step Forward… One Step Back

So I had a small triumph tonight. I’ve found a great and affordable Alzheimer’s care facility for my dad, one that specializes in veterans. The only problem is we don’t have his service documentation to request his VA benefits. My parents both have dementia so nobody knew where to look.

After working full days caring for them, writing, running errands for them and chasing after legal documents, I’ve been spending late nights at their house going through boxes of papers. There are about 40-50 bins and boxes of papers collected over the past 50+ years.

My folks are pack-rats and don’t throw anything away so the  term needle-in-a-haystack rings true. I’ve filled their HUGE recycle bin with junk mail three times now.

Note to hoarders: Please do your kids a favor and toss out the junk mail, old receipts and manuals for answering machines from the 1980’s.

This evening when I settled in for the evening, I intended to complete a writing assignment before starting my nightly box sorting, but two particularly ratty looking boxes temped me. I told myself I’d do just those two then get to work.

I quickly went through the first box with no luck. The second box however, had some very old files dated in the 1950’s with official looking documents. Jackpot! I found what I was looking for… enough detail about my dad’s military service to begin the process with the VA. Victory!

My dad was a very skilled aircraft mechanic. After reading some of the documents, I was feeling proud  of the man he used to be, when I noticed a slow moving shadow coming down the hall. My dad wanders at night so I wasn’t too surprised. The surprise I did get however, involved ushering my dad into the shower immediate and then spend about 45 minutes scrubbing the entire length of the hallway carpet.

My dad rarely realizes what’s going on, so he wasn’t at all fazed and won’t remember the incident after about 60 seconds. I guess that’s a good thing. I sometimes I wish I could forget unpleasant situations.

Although the evening ended with an unfortunate event, now that Dad is safely tucked into bed, I know I’ll still be one step ahead in the morning… well I hope so. The nights are VERY long here, anything can happen.

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