Glad to be part of this wonderful family

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Stella Boakye, Accra, Ghana

I lost my job last September due to economic hardships and a month later, my father was diagnosed with dementia.  Though we have tried to manage him for the past seven years, his situation became worse by the day.  Fortunately for the whole family, I was available to be with him. I have to bathe him twice or thrice a week.  I also have to feed him his breakfast, lunch, and sometimes a beverage before bedtime.  My dad's situation is a bit difficult because he does not tell you when he is hungry, therefore, I have to think fast between his meals to know whether or not he is hungry or else he would sit down the whole day without food.

Normally, he wants to go out on his own, so when I am not ready to go for a walk with him, I have to lock up all the doors in the house and keep the keys in my pocket. One weekend, whilst I was away for a program, my sister allowed him to just walk to the nearby shop where he normally goes to sit during the day and before they could say jack, he had got up and joined a moving bus. We were only lucky because they dropped him at the nearby bus station where my sister went to pick him up.

I think my dad developed this sickness when my mother fell seriously sick and died. Since that time, he could not communicate well and we could not understand his actions, but we took it as a result of depression.  He used to like reading a lot but he is unable to read anymore.  When you give him a book to read, he would just read out the title, flip through the pages, read some parts out loud and keep it on his bed.

Though it seems difficult as a caregiver for a dementia patient, I see it as fun and I am blessed to be the one taking care of my father because I think I am doing it perfectly.  I feel very much fulfilled to be available for him when he needs me most.  Although I do not have a job now, I see this job as the best job for me at this point of my life and I give Glory to God for the opportunity.

I love my dad more now because growing up, I never had the chance to love him because I was not his favourite child.  However, I see this moment as a time for us both to connect more as father and daughter.

I pray for more strength and patience each passing day to be able to give him my best.

Thank you.