My father was a World War II veteran and in May of 2015 the Veterans Administration had reassessed the disabilities related to my father's service and I found him 100% service Connected disabled. We were informed in writing that we were entitled to receive several benefits. One was a concession for the purchase of a handicap vehicle. Another was a vertical platform lift installed in our house to give us a way to finally get my dad out of the house in his wheelchair. All our exits had stairs and the house was not configured properly so that the ramps were lifted. Apart from an ambulance for an emergency stay in the hospital, he had never been able to leave the house in the last 21 months of his life.
After months of constantly pursuing the VA and overcoming the hurdle behind the hurdle to get promised benefits, I spent over 600 hours advocating for my father from May to February, the vehicle was finally approved and delivered in early February. My father and I had spent the previous spring and summer months fantasizing and discussing where he would like to go once he had a way out of the house and being mobile again.
My father had lost all his previous doctors once he got trapped in the house, and I could not help but wonder how things could have been for him if the VA had not dragged the process while they did and we had been able to follow Taking my father to see all his medical specialists during these lost months.
Before being my father's lawyer I had no idea of the horrible bureaucratic nightmare most of our veterans are forced to endure routinely while trying to get their benefits! No veteran should ever be forced to have to constantly fight for and then wait on the long unholy waiting lists to be able to get what they earned and deserve to defend and serve this country! Now that I am much more educated about veteran affairs, due to having to be the voice of my father to him, I find it absolutely appalling to see how our veterans are treated more often than not!
We finally got the vehicle was bittersweet as we still had no way out to get my dad out of the house. My father wanted to enjoy his new car and I was not going to wait for the VA to finally deliver on the elevator so he arranged for some of us to get together and hand carry my father out of the house, down the stairs in a Harness, to the car.
Because of his Alzheimer's, none of us knew what his response might be when we asked him where he wanted to go on his special day. I was surprised that his only request was to go and buy flowers and bring them to be placed in the tomb of his parents. My father never went to the cemeteries.
I have found that many people, including "dementia professionals" along with non-professionals, routinely declare many "rules" on how to treat someone with Alzheimer's and / or dementia. Much is also said about what topics are considered appropriate for talking or not talking to someone with dementia. A topic that is constantly referred to as inadequate to discuss with them is to talk about previous deaths of their loved ones. My personal experience and opinion is that no one can know for sure how an individual with dementia will react to any particular problem on a given day as each one reacts and responds to things differently and in their own way!
Obviously, for my father, it was critical for him to be able to recognize and show respect and love for his mom and dad and he was well aware that the concept had died and completely understood. Perhaps at that moment, somewhere in his soul, he was well aware that he would return home soon to join them, perhaps his clarity at that time during this trip to the cemetery was far more important than any of us had been able To Make That Day! My father passed away 12 days later.
I feel blessed and grateful to have been part of that meaningful outing with him on that special day.
Waiting for Return – Atlantean Twilight
By Kevin MacLeod is licensed under
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Video credits to Painting To Remember YouTube channel