Thanks to VTech and the Mom It Forward Blogger Network for partnering with me to make today’s post possible. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.
I live 5 1/2 hours by car away from my father. The distance never really seemed overwhelming until last year when he was diagnosed with dementia. I spent the better part of the last year in the first stage of grief: denial. I think I was able to stay in that stage for so long simply because I was so far away from him. When we chatted on the phone, I sometimes caught him when he was having a rough day with his memory, but I would also often catch him when he was doing just fine.
I was fueled by those “just fine” conversations, and decided that anything else was a tiny little blip. But the tables have turned, especially in the last two months, and now the “just fine” conversations are the blips, and the “not so good” conversations are becoming more normal. We spent Thanksgiving with my father, and I was so sad to hear him ask, the morning after our holiday feast, if Thanksgiving had already happened or not. He honestly just couldn’t remember.
Dementia is some heavy stuff, you guys, and I promise I’m not trying to bum you out. But there are hundreds of thousands of people who are very close to someone battling dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease as well. And it’s a battle with a known outcome. Our loved ones aren’t going to win. Kind of puts a damper on holiday shopping for them, not gonna lie.
Honoring the Wishes of a Loved One with Dementia
My father is steadfast in his desire to lead an independent life for as long as possible. We are working very hard (my older brother, in particular) to honor this wish for as long as possible, keeping in mind that we have to keep him safe at the same time. So this year I’m looking for a few gifts for him that might help him feel independent in some way. One of the gifts that I’m most excited about is the VTech CareLine Telephone System.
For me the BIG standout is that the primary phone set, as well as the accessory handset have large photo spaces so that the person using it can just push the picture of the person that need to call. Very simple, very effective.
Additionally, there’s a portable safety pendant that can be worn around the neck or clipped to your waistband, and it has speed-dial capabilities. You guys, this is HUGE to me. My father fell in his home a month ago and just laid there for who knows how long (sounds like 3o minutes or more) before he had the strength to get back up. If he had been wearing a device like this, he could have gotten immediate help.
Honestly, it’s issues like my father falling that make me the most nervous about him being home by himself. The day is going to come when he is going to need to transition to some sort of assisted care situation. But devices like the VTech CareLine Telephone System can help make that time a little bit further away. And since my father wants his independence more than anything else, I’ll do anything I can to help him get it.
If your loved one doesn’t like to answer the phone if they don’t know who it is, or if they are even in a different room when the phone rings, another great feature is that the Caller ID announces who is calling. It can go up to 40 decibels, so if hearing impairment is an issue, it can be addressed. The device is also hearing aid compatible and has a low battery indicator so that it can be recharged before it runs out of energy.
Finally, I am very appreciative of the fact that here are no third parties involved in order to make full use of the CareLine. That means there are monthly monitoring fees, installation costs, contracts, or any of that stuff. The costs are kept reasonable for that peace of mind that people in my situation are seeking.
There’s so much about dementia that is just plain sad. I’m honestly relieved to have something to put under the tree for my dad that is going to help him feel supported and cared for, and like his wishes are being heard.
Win it!: One lucky Stuff Parents Need reader is going to win a VTech SN6197 and SN6307 (same as featured above!). This combo has a retail value of $169.90!
After you’ve entered here, be sure to head over to B-Inspired Mama and to A Mom with a Lesson Plan. They are also doing giveaways, so you can increase your odds of winning! 🙂 Also be sure to head over to Your Modern Family for tomorrow’s giveaway!