Stu and Petra
My husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 61. We have an 18 year old son at home who is having a very difficult time with dealing with his father’s illness but he is also trying to help me the best he can. I have turned into the breadwinner for our family which is a huge burden on my shoulders. This creates a situation where Stu spends a lot of time at home by himself. He is registered for a Day Program twice a week but the rest of the time he spends sitting at home watching golf or the weather Channel on TV. His only real highlight of his day is taking the dog for a walk around the park. Considering that he used to be a pilot and the Operation’s Manager for Westair in the 90’s that flew the air ambulance out of Vancouver, it is a very sad life now in my opinion. He used to enjoy woodworking but I am concerned about his use of the tools anymore, especially if he is alone. He also had an interest in playing golf. But now all his friends have gone away and he spends a lot of time alone. We have homecare coming in but they are limited in what they can do and they only come for an hour or two. It is a bit of socialization but not much, they make sure he has eaten and dressed himself appropriately. He needs to get out and do things and be stimulated mentally. He is still physically healthy and active if given the opportunity, it is just his memory and speech that he is having problems with. I wish I could stay home with him and get him more active but I can’t afford not to work, someone has to pay the bills. We still have a mortgage, debts, etc. Then I look at what my husband has to look forward to when I have to place him into care and that scares me even more. It seems to me he would end up on a locked floor with a lot of old people without any access to the outdoors. It is like putting him into Jail for no crime committed except that he has Alzheimer’s. I just can’t see it happen. This is just not humane; we treat our sick animals better. There has to be a better way.