Yesterday, we took our first trip to see Pops since he began living with Joyce and Kenneth a couple of months ago. I last wrote about him back in May (The 36 Hour Day) when we saw him at home and realized we were going to have to find a place for him to live long term. After a month at Eastern State Mental hospital where he was miserable and after weeks of searching for a suitable place, a miracle occurred (and I do not use that term loosely). We had just about given up hope of finding anyplace really good in either Ohio or Kentucky. No nursing home wanted someone who wanted to and was physically able to wander off. The mental hospitals are no place for an Alzheimer's patient. The ombudsmen in Kentucky had given us little hope, etc., etc. Then, we found out about Joyce and Kenneth. Joyce and Kenneth are in their mid-50s and 60 and have been taking in men who need a place to stay for 35 years. It's not a job to them, it's a calling. And Joyce and Kenneth are angels. Angels are messengers from G-d and that is what they are. You have never in your life met two nicer people. I only met Joyce face-to-face yesterday. But, she's one of those women that when you talk to over the phone, you can feel the sincerity in her Kentucky accented voice.
The trip down was the trip from hell. A two hour delay on I-75 due to an overturned truck and a mishap with the GPS made a 3 hour trip take 5-1/2. But, the trip was worth it. Pops was doing so much better yesterday than the last time we saw him. Of course, the Alzheimer's is progressing and his cognitive functions are not what they were. He looks and acts like an old man now. It's like someone turned on a time machine in the last 9 months. But, he was not agitated. He was not paranoid. He smiled and laughed and was part of the conversation. Pops, when he's in the city is like a caged animal. We all dreaded what he would be like in a nursing home. Even though his memory is failing, I'm sure he was miserable in the mental hospital, missing the rolling green hills he's used to. He always wanted to live out on land (even more isolated than the home he built for his family). Kenneth and Joyce have about 30 acres and three farms. He teases and jokes with them (as he has always done). We could tell that he loves them and they love him. He goes with Kenneth out to the farm. He can always go out in the yard and look around at the woods and fields he loves. Pops is in a place that's a little slice of heaven for him. And that is really cool.
Here are some pics: