Words of Encouragement #88: New Threads
by Kimberly Shaw
This past February my father, who had been living independently in a small Catholic Charities apartment that provided meals, light housework, and laundry services, moved in with us. This came on the heels of an incident in late January, where he was found incoherent – two weeks’ worth of uneaten meals in the fridge, and the oven left on. We also learned that he had been doubling up on his medications! While my dad spent 15 days in the hospital recovering, we finally came to a full understanding of the monster that had been wreaking havoc in his life.
My husband and I had just become empty nesters and were in the process of figuring out what was next for us. I had recently quit my full-time job to help support my husband’s growing business, but in the wake of my dad’s hospital stay it became clear that caring for him was how my time would be spent. I have toiled the last five months putting supports in place for my dad. These supports are key to my ability to successfully care for him in our home. AFTD has been an immeasurable help to us, providing information and resources to assist us on this journey.
My dad’s financial situation was precarious before FTD entered the picture, and this disease has robbed him of any remaining ability to make sound financial decisions. My care for him now includes managing his finances. Through my research on AFTD’s website, I discovered the Comstock Grant program. Within a few months of becoming dad’s full-time caregiver, I applied for the Quality of Life Grant. The application process was easy, and although I made a few mistakes when applying, I received responsive, kind, and encouraging support from AFTD staff to complete the application.
When we were awarded the grant, I was so excited. I knew exactly how my dad could benefit from this blessing. For the past few years, he had continued to wear the same few outfits repeatedly, and their condition was quickly deteriorating. I decided I would use the funds to take him shopping for new clothes.
Outings with my dad are often challenging, but the perfect day to go shopping presented itself. Dad woke up in good spirits, and the rainy weather made it an ideal occasion for shopping indoors. In preparation for our adventure, my dad pulled on a dark blue long-sleeved shirt and blue pants with holes in the knees – comfortable and familiar clothes. I chose our destination thoughtfully – a smaller shop where he’d be less likely to get overwhelmed, and where I knew the soft cotton clothes would be comfortable and fit him well. With the Comstock Grant gift card and bit of family help, I was able to help my dad purchase enough clothes to mix and match into a variety of new outfits.
Dad was elated, and thanked me several times. Once we arrived home, he immediately cut off all the tags and proudly changed into his new threads. FTD steals so much from its victims, but when we look good, we feel good. With the added confidence my dad felt wearing his new clothes, I could see he regained some self-assurance. The AFTD Comstock Grant enabled me to give my dad back a sense of dignity in spite of his disease, and for that I will always be grateful.
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