She began having [physical] therapy, but she fell again, and that was just the beginning of the end. We got to the point where they had gotten to the point where they weren’t going to be able to take care of her any more. Alzheimer’s patients have difficulty swallowing, and they can aspirate, and they can get silent aspirations … I remember she was so sick and so sad. It was hard to know, because she was very uncommunicative, it was hard to know if she knew what was wrong with her, but I remember thinking to myself, “I will never do this again. I will never put her back in the hospital,” so after that we called in hospice and she was able to stay with my dad.
It was very hard for Daddy to understand, and this is what you have to understand about him. He cared for my mother. He got down to 125 pounds. My dad is 5’8”, he’s not very big, but he was so frail-looking, and it was from taking care of her and not realizing. They were sharing a meal … like one meal. And he didn’t realize he wasn’t eating enough, and she didn’t realize. When we went through all their things, we realized all his clothes were worn out because my mother hadn’t been shopping. My dad was doing the laundry, and I was thinking he could take care of himself while she was in the nursing home. That was our plan – that he could stay at home, and I said something about doing the laundry … I said, “Dad, you’ve been doing laundry for years.” He said, “I just do what she tells me. I don’t know how to do it.” He didn’t even know how to put the soap and water in, and when you have Alzheimer’s you can’t really learn new things, so I couldn’t show him because he couldn’t remember.