I think he had some health issues to start with that aggravated the dementia or caused it's acceleration. As I look what I wrote I'm realizing that the word "elderly" is now self-descriptive,lol. I'm lucky that while I live alone in this huge building that there are folks that do a " Hey, what you up to " if they don't hear from he pretty regular besides my immediate family who are all within 50 miles and incredibly enough we all still talk to each other........ Institutionalization was about all there was left for this guy. I fear dementia much more than cancer. I'm still stunned that I'm here long enough to see it affect people I grew up with. I was at a veterans benefit dinner of some sort and talking with a guy I'd known forever for about 10 minutes and we were sharing stories and events and he suddenly stopped talking and started to sob. I waited and he explained that the whole time we had been talking he was trying to remember my name and that that was happening more and more often to him and he had gotten lost on the way home a couple weeks earlier. He knew he was in trouble. Then another political friends father was getting a lifetime achievement award from a veterans group and we had to bring my friends father up the back steps of the post as he was having one of his bad days and was oblivious to all around him for the most part and didn't talk to anyone. We walked him to the podium to recieve the award, back to his chair and then at the 1st break back down to the car and home. A week later my friend was reelected mayor to his 9 or 10th term or something so I went to the HQ to congratulate him and his dad was there in full suit and tie looking as dapper as he always did in the old days and when he saw me he came up and said " Hey Ed, boy wasn't that great last week?" I almost burst into tears when I realized his body and brain were so out of sync that he could be fully aware yet not able to communicate outwardly on occasion and it was happening more often to him with each advancing year. It finally got to the point where he died essentially because he forgot to tell his heart to beat or his lungs to breathe. I just hope his brain wasn't still an aware prisoner of sorts for the last few years when he had no more good days of being able to communicate ..... how cruel of a disease to fuck with our cognitive abilities in such a way
The ravages of dementia and related disorders is more difficult for my mind and heart than cancer, for the very reason you describe. I'm glad you have gratitude for your situation and I hope you keep writing.