Dad, Fire Alarms and Lunch


Tuesday I went to dad’s Assisted Living Facility to visit and take him to lunch.  I brought his groceries to his room and walked to meet him in the activity room.  He was coming back to his room when I met him in the hallway.

When he got back to his rooms, dad went to the bathroom.  Almost immediately, the most awful loud sirens began to sound.  Dad asked what it was and I said I thought it was the fire alarm.  He said he had to go back in the bathroom anyway and he did.

Soon the staff came around to get all the residents to move from their rooms to the other end of the building.  It was a drill but the “fire” was supposed to be in the laundry room so they had to go to the activity room.

I waited awhile for dad to finish in the bathroom and we went back to the activity room where he had just finished his previous activity.  All this time the extremely loud sirens were going off and it was painful to listen.  Still, I know everyone should be aware when THOSE sirens go off!

The staff gathered with residents in the activity room and I asked if we could just leave as dad was unhappy with all the noise.  He seemed agitated and I wanted to get him out of there.  Still they said to wait as soon the drill would be over.

I had picked up a warm jacket for dad while he was in the bathroom.  When I handed it to him to put on, he commented on what a nice jacket it was, and asked where he got it.  I told him I had given it to him last Christmas.  He had worn it a few times, but since he rarely goes out, it looked brand new.

Finally, we could go out, and it was very cold.  Dad was glad I made him wear his warm jacket.  We went to the same place we have gone many times before.  This time our usual table was taken and we sat at another booth away from the windows.  Our view was different and it confused dad.

He asked: “Have we been here before?”  Yes, I said.  “We usually sit over there by the windows but today we couldn’t so we are here instead.”  I handed dad the menu and turned it to the page he likes to order from.

He ordered shrimp again – what a surprise.  This time he had it with soup and French Fries.  Dad is pretty predictable though he reads the menu each time and makes his decision again.  We had a nice lunch and returned to his Assisted Living Facility.  By the time we got back there, I think he had already forgotten about the fire drill.  Things were back to normal and I went on my way.

Two days later, on Halloween, I visited dad again.  It was raining hard as I came in the door.  Dad asked me if we were going out to lunch.  I didn’t remind him that we had just gone to lunch two days earlier.  I just said that it was raining hard and we would go another day.  I enjoy my days with dad, but feel sad that he doesn’t remember the things we have done together.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and the primary caregiver for my father. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with others who are also trying to care for a family member and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues around the care of my father and the relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Dad, Fire Alarms and Lunch

  1. boomer98053 says:

    I enjoy your posts so much. I can visualize the entire scene that you describe in your articles and I feel like an observer – a happy observer because you have let me be present on your caregiving journey – regardless of the miles separating our locations.
    I know you feel good witnessing that your dad’s place conducts fire drills. The sirens are unbearable but when you think about it – I guess they need to be super loud for many of the residents to hear them. ;-)
    I love your restaurant/shrimp stories. Your dad knows what he wants, and that’s a far sight better than having to peruse a menu that might be somewhat confusing to him. What he lacks in memory regarding your visits is made up by the visits that you continue to make during which he enjoys your presence.
    I acknowledge the sadness that you feel, however, because that is a very valid emotion. Good memories bring valid emotions as well. I’m glad you still have those to fall back on.

    • Thanks, Irene. It is truly mixed feelings I have with dad because sometimes he is so present in the moment and sometimes he tunes out. He does read the menu each time. That is what strikes me so funny. He picks out the shrimp like it is a new discovery each time. He does vary the “sides” that he chooses, though usually French Fries and something else. But he eats well when we go out and is pretty picky at his ALF so I am glad to take him.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    That fire drill sounds alarming!

    • It sure was! Especially to the confused residents. Still, the staff kkew their roles and performed well. I just wished to remove dad from the noise and confusion but within an hour he forgot all about it. :)

  3. Terry says:

    Usually the ones who get hurt emotionally from his illness are family and friends. I am sorry my friend, but he does enjoy living in the minutes and this is nice you two spend time together

  4. Kathy says:

    My grandmother had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. It progressed very quickly to the point where she didn’t know who I was, and I don’t think she even recognized her own son. The last time I saw her, I brought my newborn son to meet her. Since she didn’t know who I was, she didn’t fully grasp the concept that I was holding her great-grandson. But he had this elephant that played music when you pulled the tail. She loved this elephant. I offered to leave it with her and get a new one, but my dad said it was ok. Even though she had no idea what was going on, she seemed content and at peace.

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