Dementia: Haven't we done this before?

Taking care of a man with dementia is like herding ants. Just when you think you have them all under the glass, two or three or 10 escape and run for the grass. My routine with dad is predictable in its insanity: Tonight, he asks what day it is. I tell him it's Friday. He tells me I need to pay the bills. I tell him they're already paid. He asks me to move back home, since he doesn't intend to date girls anymore. I tell him thank you, but I can't. He asks me what day it is. I tell him it's Friday. He asks me what day tomorrow is. I tell him tomorrow is Saturday. He organizes his medication, because he can do it all by himself, he tells me, and I adjust where necessary. He asks me what day it is. I tell him it's Friday. He goes through his well-worn wallet, making sure he has enough money. He tells me I need to pay the bills. I tell him they're already paid. He shows me his driver's license, his American Express card, his photos, the scrap of paper on which I helped him spell ten through ninety when I was in the fourth grade so he could write out his checks properly. He still got ninety wrong. Dad has never been a scholar. He asks me what day it is. I tell him it's Friday. I finally throw away the stack of mail he's been obsessing over for an hour, because I don't want to hear about it anymore, even though I know he'll just obsess about something else. He goes through his wallet to make sure he has enough money. He asks me what day it is. I tell him it's Friday.

He's following the script in his head.

Trying to keep all the ants under the glass has been challenging, and a task ultimately doomed to failure. I miss mom for lots of reasons, partly because I wish she were here to do this.

I suck at this. Sorry, Dad.