Went to see dad today.

mikeandbarbOctober 13, 2008

When I walked in there was a couple that the home had come in to entertain the residents, they are singers and was really good. I seen my dad sitting there with everyone I could not tell if he was enjoying the entertainers or not but when he seen me the only thing he could think of was telling me how awful the home is and he needs to get out ASAP. I had to go see the nurse and one of the other workers so I told dad I'd be right back I did what I needed to do and went back and sat down next to dad listening to them couple sing.

It wasn't long and they were finished and dad wanted to go to his room to talk and I excused myself telling him I needed to go talk to the nurse again, that I had to check on his medicine. dad thinks that they aren't using his own medication or something. Of course I know this isn't true dad is trying his best to come up with anything to get out, he even told them this morning that he was having chest pain and it would not stop even after they gave them his nitro pill and he told them that he needed to go to the hospital....this is the second time he's tried to come up with something to get out. When I went back to sit with dad he forgot all about wanting to go to his room to talk and just talked about what he had to say in the living area. Boy does he ever have a good imagination, he told me that the guy he rooms with was hitting the window with his walking cane and told dad he was next. Now I have seen the guy around for the past 3 weeks and all he does all day is sit out in the living area or in the office when someone is in there. I know something's dad says is true but I have to watch and see for myself what is going on at the home and it's is one of the best.

They are looking into getting me help with dad in taking him to the doctor when needed.

Dad keeps asking why other residents get to go out and he doesn't and I told him that there is a transition before he can go out with me. I told him I'll ask if he can go get an ice cream next time I come over and he asked when will that be.

The problem is that dad's mind isn't that bad it's other problems like not holding on to or retaining info. he sometimes has trouble with conversations but most of the time he's ok, so being around people that are far more advanced with dementia is hard for him to see or watch. He thinks some of the people there are ok and he can talk to them. Today he told me that one of the new guys is from his area of town and worked at the meat company Swift so they had a lot in common to talk about.

Tomorrow they have their monthly meeting and I will be going, it will be good to hear from other family members on what they have to say about the place.

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Barbara, it sounds like you handled yourself well. I'm glad your dad found a friend. Give him time and he will eventually gravitate towards the people that are closer to his cognitive level. It all takes time. Just keep reminding yourself of that. And the complaints will never stop either. You just have to take it all with a huge grain of salt. This is a better situation for him than being on his own. You've done a good thing.

If I could interject, today I'm moving my mom into the memory care wing of her assisted living facility. I'm taking her out for lunch while the place moves her stuff to her new room. I'm dreading it and anticipating reactions similar to your dad's. Now I'll have to follow my own advice. But, like you, I know this is the best for my mother. She keeps trying to escape so she can go across the street to visit her parents who died over forty years ago. She needs to be somewhere secure.

Like you, my head knows what's best. But my heart doesn't always want to go along with the program.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 12:13PM
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Yes, we are in the same boat with our parents. You will be able to relax more knowing that your mom cannot get out and roam the streets. In one way I feel better knowing that dad is safe but sad that he's lost his independence.
It sure does not help when they tell you how bad it is in the home, my dad tells me...IF you knew what went on in here you'd get me out... I just look at him and then try to get him to talk about something else but he is not easy to get subtracted from what he wants to say, not yet anyway. That day will come along with many more of what we're going to go through with our parents. Sadly I'm doing it all alone. Dad is very mad at my son but I believe he's mad that he's not young and able like his grandson so for right now he's venting his anger toward him, plus my son is the type of person that is very carefree and what will be will be where dad was on top pf things taking care of what he could when he could and he think's my son should be the keeper of the two homes, watching guard over everything.
I still am fearful that if I take dad out he'll want to go to his house and I cannot take him there cause I know he'll want to go inside and I'd never get him out without having to call the police to take him out and have them take him back to the care center. I have not told him that the doctor told me to take away his cars and right now there's no need to it will just upset him even more to hear his life being taken away from him.
Dad asked why his mom and dad didn't have to go into a home like him and I told him that granny was able to take care of grandpa when he had his pacemaker and then my uncle dad's brother took care of granny. Even though my uncle didn't take good care of my granny. He left her alone all day and she wasn't able to get up out of her chair. I once called Adult protective services and they didn't see anything wrong but of course they didn't cause they don't see what is really needed to be seen when it's happening. I felt so helpless in not being able to help my granny, my uncle took over everything had granny's money in his name and the house.
Most of the time dad is very calm but he does have moment's when he get's upset.

I hope your day goes better then you think and everything will be ok.


    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 3:03PM
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Barb, I think you are right about not taking your dad out. Put it off as long as you can. With winter coming on, you can always use weather as an excuse.

During the last 18 months, every time I took my mother out somewhere, she got more and more confused. With the confusion came agitation. I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't worth the stress for her or for me.

The only reason I took my mom out today was so that the staff could move all her things into her new room. I had to stretch our time away from the facility, so I ended up also taking her clothes shopping. She enjoyed it for a while, but after the the 2nd store, she got totally exhausted.

So far, so good. When I left, she was napping in her new room. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Keep up the good work with your dad.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2008 at 6:36PM
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Thank you Shambo, I'm glad to hear thing's went well with your mom today.

The meeting went well tonight. I got some answers that I needed to questions and some that I hadn't even thought of.

The lady at the home told me about dad talking to one of the women residents at the AL and said they talk quite a bit. He had told me of a women he was talking to but didn't make much out of it. Maybe his mind will be more wrapped up it his new lady friend than me. He has sure worn me out LOL.
I thought maybe I could just take him for a short drive to get an ice cream and go back and we could just sit outside in the car.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 12:46AM
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Barb, please don't even think about taking him out for ice cream or anything else just yet. What would you do when it came time to take him back and he refused to get out of the car?

My grandfather on several occasions got angry with my mother and opened the car door while they were traveling. What would you be able to do if your father got peeved at you about something and interferred with your driving?

Give him at least a month until the new place becomes his accustomed place. He will be much easier to handle and less likely to cause problems. You really, really don't want to get him upset about anything if you can help it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 8:29AM
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Oh dear that does not sound good at all. I don't know how he'd do. What if I took him out in the back of the home where they have a garden to walk around in?
At least I'd have someone from the home to come get him. He knows he can't walk far and he knows he has no money or his house keys.
I already promised him I'd take him out and with the way he's acting right now anyone that does not up hold to a promise is a witch LOL. Yep he's acting like a child.
I can't hold him off by saying I'm sick cause that would just casue him worry and fear.
I know he does not see how he's acting, he thinks he's normal.
He does ask over and over why he's there and I tell him because of the pacemaker he just had put in and he needs someone to watch over him. He hasn't talked about what happened last month when he went into the hospital.

Last night the director of the home told me she thought that dad was going into another faze of dementia and in his case he could. I've been told by many people that a person that lived in the same place all thier life go down fast and he lived in the same place his entire life. His mom and dad bought a home in 1932 and then grandpa bought the lot next door and dad had a house built on it in 1955.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 10:44AM
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Barb, I know you think that he knows that he can't walk far, and that he doesn't have his keys, but I'll be willing to bet that imagines (and to him that imagination is the truth) that he can. He will also figure that somehow or other he will be able to get in the house.

You see, the problem is that you have no way of knowing just how bad his judgement may be. At times, he may feel that he is strong and able and capable of doing anything he wants to. And three minutes later be completly incapable of completing a sentence. Dementia works very strangly.

All of us do things by habit without think in familiar surroundings. Think about how you cook....let's put you in a strange kitchen with pots and pans that don't look anything like what you have been used too. You don't know where anything is, or how the stove works. Could you manage to put a meal on the table without getting yourself all frustrated and nervous? It's the same with your father and his new surroundings. He doesn't have those habits from his old daily life to keep him going at his old speed. We forget how much we do is merely habit without any thought.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 1:24PM
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Walking in the facility garden would be fine ONLY if they've got a secure fenced in area. Most care facilities have their outside gardens fenced in, but they may not be locked. My mom's two AL's had unlocked gates but the memory care wings were secure including locked gates & high fences in their outside garden/patio areas.

Unlocked fences or gates could be a real problem. Your dad could easily open the gate and just start walking away. You'd have to get the staff to help you and even then, it might be a struggle to get him to cooperate.

That's the main reason my mom had to be moved to the secure memory care wing. She'd head out the doors of the AL wing, determined to visit with her long dead parents. The staff would follow her, but she would refuse to return to the AL. They never laid a hand on her, so someone would just stay with her and try to talk her into returning to her apartment. Several times I had to go down there to finally get her to return to her room. Those incidents lasted over an hour. And my mom couldn't remember what she originally wanted to do, so she ended confused & agitated & embarrassed.

Believe me, you wouldn't want something like that to happen just because of your good intentions. Don't feel bad about putting off your promise, and don't make any more promises. Don't make any more excuses, just change the subject. Or leave. It's really for his own good. And, again, you don't want to have to deal with the kind of situation Agenspuffin or I described.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 1:46PM
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Barb, I was talking with a woman at my mom's nursing home the other day. Her Husband is in the Alzheimer's unit, which is a locked unit so the residents can move about freely, go outside to the totally enclosed courtyard but can not get out of the unit without supervision. Anyway, she was telling me her husband did the same thing your dad is doing when she first brought him there. Wanted to know when he was going home, was upset with her for being there, wanted to go out all the time and so on. However the wife remained strong knowing her husband was no longer her husband and would never be able to go home. She said she just changed the subject or just got up and walked away for a while, when she would return he had forgotten all his anger. It is hard but like she said, it has to be done and it is the families responsibilty to be mature and level headed through all.
Hang in there dear lady, your a strong woman, you just don't know it somedays! Take him something to eat, whatever his favorites are, like maybe cookies, candy, or pizza or whatever, that will take his mind away from things for a little while. And remember, even if he is on a special diet, those little treats are not going to hurt him in the long run.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2008 at 7:44PM
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