“Charles, why are there a dozen bowls of water in the backyard?” she asked. “The dogs are thirsty,” Dad explained. He always was a soft touch—dogs could always hustle the last bite of cookie. Now he was seeing friendly dogs everywhere. As he sank further into Parkinson’s dementia, however, the hallucinations turned to bouts of paranoia. Mom hid both kitchen knives and new door locks to prevent his wandering. As his problems with eating, sleeping, toileting, and medications worsened, her health began to decline. She couldn’t continue.
At a friend’s suggestion, she called someone who connected weary caregivers to willing “live-ins.” Lesya, a Ukrainian who’d left her young daughter in the care of others to make a better life in America, moved in the next day. Mom didn’t ask many questions. She didn’t check for Lesya’s green card. She paid in cash. A year later, pneumonia sent Dad to the hospital and he died soon after. Read more »