Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Zen and the Art of Elderly Care

Just a quick post prompted by spending the weekend with my Dad.  He has dementia.  Last week he got a bad infection that meant he had to be taken to a different hospital for treatment.  While there he picked up a dose of noro-virus.  Great.  It is one thing after another when you enter care.

I did get a chance to spend time with him though, which was great.  What struck me most in those conversations was the way in which my Dad is living totally in the NOW.  Yes he is confused about the past and his location, but his own immediate past means nothing to him.  All that matters is where he is NOW, who he is talking to NOW, who is holding his hand, laughing with his jokes, helping him dress.....NOW.   It is Zen-like I suppose and made me think about the nature of time, eternity and our experience of it.  Lots of philosophies talk about mindfulness and the need to be aware of the present moment as all we have.  Even in Christian theology eternity is outwith time.

That is where my Dad is now.  The moment is all - yes the past is swirling around him, but he is really only affected by what is right here right now.   It is a lesson.  Most of my life is spent worrying about work or family, busy with plans and regrets, but the NOW can pass me by.  My Dad does not have that problem, but his NOW is a difficult situation.    I need to grab the NOW and live it.

Related to all this was a post that Nigel put up today abou the way in which old people in Care Homes are chronically starved of sunlight.  They need their D. 

I would not normally give people cakes, pastries and sugary drinks.  I think crap food is a huge problem responsible for many health issues.  However now I happily give my Dad cakes and pastries - he enjoys them and it is too late now for him.


Mountain Evan Chang said...

Your blog continues to surprise me in good ways. Great post. Best wishes to your father.

Brian said...

Chris, I'm sure your father is getting excellent care, but has he tried either of these two natural substances to help his condition?

How to treat dementia with coconut oil

Niacin therapy

I'll keep you and your father in my thoughts.


Chris said...

I am trying to get my mum to give him coconut oil but really it is too late now

Sifter said...

I"m supposed to visit my father, also with dementia, this weekend out of state. Similar, though at 93 he has cumulative WW2 injuries compiled with the dementia. Finding now that concussion, even little ones young men shrug off, can exacberate things later on in life. Best wishes to your dad and family.

Chris G said...

Chris I noticed this with my Mum when she had a similar condition. Whenever we took her from the home say in the car to the hospital to see the specialists the entire experience would be a source of wonder to her Everything was a new experience it seemed.

I remember browsing in 4 Hour Body in which Tim Ferriss recommends cycling Creatine for a couple of weeks every couple of months. I think he suggested it could delay or prevent early onset of Alzheimers.

FeelGoodEating said...


You're a good. Man!

Interestingly enough my town was hit with an outbreak of Noro, it's all over our state as a matter of fact and affecting the cruise line industry heavily.

My son had it....he dealt with it for a day, both my two girls nor I got it.

Stay in the now and love the shit out of Dad while you can.


Anonymous said...

You are a good son. Enjoy your dad while you can, and rest assured he is enjoying life, too, having you around. I lost my mom in '06, (Dad back in '67) you'll have these moments for the rest of your life.
And you people who actually believe that you won't get old and frail if you take the magic nutrient of the month, or the latest exercise protocol, are simply delusional. Illness and death come for us all.