I am not a Bollywood fan, but when I watched the Piku trailer I immediately wanted to take my in-laws (who are 91 and 80 years old), and my dad (an 86-year-old child) to watch the film. Amitabh Bachchan’s “A human being’s emotion is linked to his motion” is spot on! His antics, quirks and refrains of being a “burden”, though lovable, frustrate Deepika Padukone, much like what my father does to me.
My father lives in a flat near where I stay. Anna, as we affectionately call him, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and mild dementia. He cannot run his own home, manage his finances, or take care of medical and personal needs.
When I moved him to stay near to us, I had a full time job. So I addressed managing three elderly people and two homes like a project and used all my stakeholder, project and resource management skills, not to mention patience and sense of humour. Just as I imagine working parents of young children do, I set up a schedule for my father – when to wake up, when and what to eat, when to go for a walk/exercise, take a nap, shower, take medicines etc.
This schedule register is updated almost on an hourly basis by one of his two attendants. It also has details of water intake, urine output, bowel movements, whether there are episodes of disorientation and how long they lasted and the like. So it is something like the logbook of KVS Murthi “star date” today!
Every morning and evening when I visit my father, I spend precious minutes reviewing what has happened over the past 12 hours.
The three big, big things I monitor are:
I also have to think up of meals that are nutritious and appealing. Outings that are interesting and stimulating. Conversations that recall past joys and present foibles.
But, above all else is structure and schedule. Both bring me and him a sense of being in control, though there is really no control over Parkinson’s. It will ply the course it wants to. We will manage the best we can – with as much playfulness, fun and laughter as we fit into each day.