Caregivers Community

A Cowboy at Heart | Son Returns the Love to His Father with Alzheimer’s

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
03/26/12  10:00 PM PST

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest

Story by John M.

“I care for my dad, who has Alzheimer’s. What a terrible disease. Who would have ever thought that I would be in reverse roles with my dad, but what a privilege!

Dad is a cowboy. He has belt buckles and trophies to prove his horsemanship and his rodeo days. But now he is lost in his world of delusion and forgetfulness. To spend time with Dad is great! He may not know what day it is, but he knows how to ride a horse with the best of them. He puts his clothes on wrong, but he can still rope a steer in no time. Memory is different for all simple things in life that are hard for him, but not ranching.

To care for Dad is a mixture of emotions. Pleasure because he gave so much to me in morals and love. Sadness because I know there is no cure for Alzheimer’s and knowing one day he will forget me. Compassion and the ability to love and have patience in his everyday needs. To have him feel safe and in control, but at the same time to really listen to him. To make sure he knows he is still a wonderful dad and not to treat him like a child. Self-respect is the key.

I have been told that I will receive my reward in heaven. I just reply, this is my reward– just spending time with my dad. He taught me well and he did it out of love. Now it is my turn to give out of love to a man I admire! My dad!”