Taking Care of Mom & Dad
James Silva sleeps a lot these days, but when he's up, there's no telling what he'll do. Sometimes he'll carry boiling water around the apartment, forgetting that his three small grandchildren may be underfoot. Sometimes he'll carve imaginary chickens with butcher knives. And sometimes he'll escape, slipping out the back door and onto the Brockton streets, walking aimlessly until the police haul him home or someone else finds him. Once his son Ken found him wandering through the Combat Zone.
Now there's a gate in front of his bedroom door that locks from the outside. That lock was Barbara Silva's idea. She was going crazy chasing her father-in-law around. But she knows that the lock is merely a Band-Aid. As Alzheimer's disease creeps deeper into his brain, 75-year-old Grandpa James understands less, functions less. At night Barbara puts him to bed. In the morning she cleans up the urine puddles he leaves when he misses the toilet. During the day she shoos him away from the stove, the knives, the china, anything that he could hurt or could hurt him.
The Silvas know they can't go on like this.