• See Pain More Clearly Team

Father's Day & Dementia

In our latest article, guest contributor Linda Bates Lawson shares her Fathers day memories.


With Father’s Day coming up, I am thinking about my father, Aubrey Bates. He was, in every sense of the word, a family man. His family was the most important thing in his life. He and my mom had two sons and three daughters. We grew up in the 50s, 60s and 70s. I have fond memories when we kids enjoyed lots of freedom playing outdoors with the neighbourhood children. Dad was home at dinner time most days and was involved with and proud of all of us. As we grew up and moved away he was happiest when we returned with our children to visit. He loved being the cook for our backyard barbecues best.


He and Mom both developed Alzheimer’s in their 80s. However, his love for his family never wavered. Throughout his illness he still delighted in visits from his children and grandchildren, and then his great grandchildren. He did spend the last few years of his life in long-term care. With every visit from family he lit up. He was fortunate that the long-term care home he lived in was small and our family was welcomed as part of his care team. Because we were able to visit Dad frequently and because the nursing staff knew him so well, together we were able to pick up on any irritability or subtle changes in his behaviour that would indicate he was in discomfort or pain. He did struggle with bedsores on occasion as he experienced extreme fatigue and wanted to spend most of his time resting in bed. The staff was able to treat him quickly and effectively. Thus he was able to enjoy his time with family.





The photo is of me with Dad, who was meeting my grandson, his great grandson, for the first time. Despite having dementia he was feeling well and was clearly delighted to meet this little guy. I love this photo as it is wonderful to remember my dad being so happy. He would say that family is everything.


I hope that all long-term care homes adopt effective assessment tools for identifying pain in people with dementia. To be pain free would allow our seniors to enjoy time with family and friends. I am thankful for Thomas’ research and his team’s assessment tools as I feel that everyone deserves to be pain free. And as our Canadian governments review standards of care in long term care homes I hope that using these pain assessment tools will become standard practice. Our seniors deserve no less.


- Linda Bates Lawson


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