Once in awhile he would forget to open his eyes and frantically call out, "I'm blind. I can't see!" All Jim had to ask him was, "What time is it, Daddy?" He would look at his watch and say, "A quarter past 10." LOL
He wasn't able to tell you where he felt bad. Quite frankly his short term memory loss was severe. He wouldn't remember something moments after you told him. Once in awhile he would have a flash back and remember names and people. That was cool. Just when you would least expect it.
He would ask a zillion times when he went in the car where he was going. It was worse than a toddler. Jim and Linda made him flash cards. They would put, for example, 'Going to the doctor.' When Pop would ask, he would be told to look at his flash card. That worked well for them.
The doctors sometimes would make Pop wait a long time to see them. That is NOT a good thing with a dementia patient. They can't remember why they are there. It makes them anxious. I wish doctors were more aware. Jim made them aware. And, those that didn't seem to care, well, Dad never went back to see them. If any health care provider talked to Dad without respect thinking he wouldn't know what he was saying...bye-bye doctor. There is nothing more distasteful than lack of respect.
Linda and Jim did everything for Pop. His meals were placed before him. If he didn't like certain foods, he would be offered something else. His taste buds seemed to change all the time. For awhile he would like one type of food and then he would dislike it. Thankfully, he always liked his chocolate Ensure.
His clothes would be laid out for him and his shower days scheduled with assist. He wasn't able to use the roll on deodorant, but he could do the spray deodorant by himself. He had podiatry appts.monthly and we kept his fingernails trimmed and manicured.
There was a note on the front door that said, "Please don't knock. Elder care in progress." It gave a phone number to call. Pop liked to answer the door. He might let anyone in the house with a good story!
They never could watch a movie all together, because Pop couldn't stay with the story line more than a minute. So, when we all got together we would watch Funniest Home Videos. Dad liked that. He also liked the nature channels. One time we watched a Grand Prix jumping event from Palm Springs on TV. It triggered lots of old memories of me showing my horses when Dad would be rooting me on as my greatest fan. He yelled out, "Lookie here judge." "That rider has a deep seat and a far away look." I remember grinning with delight. I had my Pop back, even for just a few moments.
Jim always made sure Dad had money in his wallet. He wanted him to have a feeling of self-worth. When Jim would order food from a restaurant, Pop would hand a $5 or $10 dollar bill to help out. It made him feel like he was contributing. He most surely was. He will never know how much! I think we all became better people for making the last of his life as pleasurable as possible.
Pop was well taken care of, that's for sure. I have tried to teach my son and grandson that the greatest gift they can give back to their parents and grandparents is respect. Honor them in their old age. It was our privilege to care for our father.
My brother Jim, me, and Pop
Bill Bew, 94, passed away on January 8, 2012 at Treasure Coast Hospice in Stuart, Florida.
Born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he previously had resided in Canyon Country, California before relocating to Sewall's Point 22 years ago.
Mr. Bew graduated from Duke University where he met his wife Betty. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.
Mr. Bew was a Manager of Engineering for 35 years at Transworld Airlines.
He proudly served our country in World War II as an Army Air Corp Captain.
Mr. Bew was an officer, a gentleman, loving husband, and the greatest father ever.
He is lovingly survived by his son, James W. Bew III (Linda) of Sewall's Point, Florida; daughter, Suzanne de Merci Anaya (Wayne) of Green Valley, California; sister, Marie Ann Somers of Tarpon Springs, Florida; three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
He was predeceased by his wife of 51 years, Betty and his brother, David.
There are no scheduled services at this time.
Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to Treasure Coast Hospice, 1201 SE Indian Street, Stuart, FL 34997.