Her dad began hallucinating, she said, imagining others were in his home.
He tried to get out of the home in the middle of the night, according to Brenda, describing her father’s state of mind as “mass confusion.”
Caring for her father eventually became too much for their mother.
“Mom was home alone with Dad,” she said. “I work in Goose Bay and my brothers are in St. John’s, so there was no support for Mom. I can’t imagine how she did it for so long.”
Jack was placed in the protective care unit at the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Centre in Botwood three months ago.
Over 200 kilometres separate the health centre from the community of Baie Verte.
“Mom doesn’t have a license,” Brenda said. “She never did drive.... this has really devastated her.
“The first couple of times I visited Dad (in the hospital), I left with a terrible sense of guilt. I felt like we were abandoning him, but I also knew he was in a place where he was getting the care that he needed.”
Alzheimer’s is the most traumatizing disease a family can go through, according to Brenda. Losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s is like losing someone twice, she says.
“We are no longer his family to him,” she said. “He doesn’t know us anymore. So, we feel like we’ve lost him now. Mom is going through the grieving process because she’s all alone. Then, of course, when the time comes for him to go, we’ll lose him again.”
Before retiring, Brenda said, her father — who is now 76-years-old — worked as a heavy equipment operator at the Advocate Asbestos Mine.
An avid walker, he walked several times a day for about 15 years.
“This is a really emotionally draining disease,” she said. “But, we don’t have to sneak away (from the hospital) anymore now. I don’t know if that’s better or worse.”