A heart-rending video posted to social news site Reddit has revealed what life is really like for victims of Alzheimer’s disease and their families.
One user of the site has posted a home video of an ordinary day with his father who is currently living through the moderate stages of the disease.
The 39-year-old man, who goes by the name ArthurDigbyS on Reddit and volleybrad on YouTube, posted an 11 minute clip earlier this week showing his father attempting to work around the house on simple tasks.
Simple though the jobs may be, the retired police officer and Vietnam veteran requires constant supervision.
“Sufferer's don't just sit there in a chair saying "Who are you?". It's a lot of work for caregivers. In my case - I pay a in-home care professional to come by the house while I'm at work, but apart from that it's all on me. It's difficult for me to cook, mow the lawn, take a shower, etc while also having to keep him from dumping garbage in the toilet or whatever else he gets up to,” ArthurDigbyS wrote.
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“I am uploading this to help dispel the notion that Alzheimer's disease just makes you forgetful. It is a Fatal disease that slowly kills your brain over the course of years. There is no cure or even any treatment to slow the progression of the disease.
"My dad served his country as an infantryman in Vietnam and then served as a police officer in the city of Detroit for 15 years before having to retire on medical disability after his patrol car was hit by a drunk driver.
"He does not deserve to spend his retirement like this."
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The clip has already garnered thousands of views and hundreds of comments from people who have shared similar experiences, or who simply wanted to wish the family well.
In the video, the man’s father is shown attempting to throw rubbish out by flushing it down the toilet before struggling to remember how to empty the cat litter. His son is forced to keep constant watch, assisting his dad to wash his hands before he continues to try to settle him.
“My father clings to some the sense of doing chores, but just wanders around the house constantly doing things like this,” the son wrote.
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The daily struggle goes beyond supervising chores though.
According to the poster, the father owns too many assets to qualify for assistance from military benefits or his police pension, and health insurance would allow just a few months in an aged care facility.
Despite the high costs, the son says he has to hire professional help to care for his father while he is working and he spends the rest of his days trying to cook, clean and maintain the home while also trying to keep his father safe and as healthy as possible.
“Proper care is big bucks and insurance doesn't cover a whole lot,” ArthurDigbyS wrote.
“I think my dad's insurance plan (which is pretty dang good) would only cover a few months of nursing care. He could be like this for years.
“Right now I'm fortunate enough that he receives a good enough pension to cover the costs of in-home care while I'm away at work.”
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The story has struck a chord with viewers on Reddit and YouTube who have flocked to express their support and share stories of their own experiences with dementia.
“I've learned more from your video, than I have everything else in relation to Alzheimer's,” wrote one commenter.
“I can't offer you anything else but love and hope for your family, and to tell you that you've helped educate a bunch of people about something, that may become relevant to them.”
“This is very frustrating to watch; I feel his frustration; I feel your frustration. I can't imagine how I'd handle this responsibility,” wrote another.
To view the full 11 minute video, click here.