Companions Keep Dad Active


This week dad is doing very well. On Monday he again had a visit from the companion who brings her husband. Dad enjoys having a male visitor, I think.

His Tuesday companion took him to Happy Hour. There was only one seat left at the table – and it was right next to the man with whom he had the altercation a few weeks ago. Dad said he wanted to take his drink back to his room.

His companion asked why he didn’t want to take the empty seat and he said it was because there was no seat for her. That could also have been true, but I believe he remembers enough to avoid trouble.

She had also brought him bakery goods that he had requested and he ate some in his room. Dad asked his companion if she had any children. Her only son had died suddenly shortly before Christmas. She told dad about her son and dad told her about his wife (mom). They agreed that mom and her son were having a good time together in Heaven (but they weren’t drinking!)

She got dad to take a walk (which is something I am not usually able to get him to do!) and by the time they got back to the lounge it was too late to begin their usual game of checkers. She said the time went very fast. I was so encouraged about how she can keep dad talking and walking when often I can barely get him to stay awake!

When his Wednesday companion telephoned me to tell me about their visit, she said it was extremely cold there now (though dad remains mostly unaware of that because he stays inside). They talked a long time about her animals and the additional new babies and he was really engaged in the conversation. I thought about how lucky dad is to be stimulated by several different companions. I hope I can keep him engaged as well when I get home!

This week I had received a bill from dad’s ALF and I noticed that again it didn’t show any charges for a haircut. That would mean dad has gone at least 2 months without a haircut! I asked his companion if dad’s hair was getting long and she said yes. She said he looked good, clean-shaven, etc. but his hair was getting long.

After that conversation I sent an email to the Director of dad’s ALF and I requested that she have him scheduled for a haircut the next time the hair dresser comes in. The beauty shop is only open one day a week and I think that was yesterday, so it will be another week before it gets done. I reminded the Director that I had requested that he have his hair cut once a month on a regular schedule.

Actually I asked for this several times in the past and again just before I left for my winter vacation. I hope it doesn’t get overlooked again. I think dad doesn’t really care, but he is treated better when we go out to eat or to his doctor if he looks well kept up. I have some medical appointments scheduled for dad in April, so I know I will be taking him out. Also if the weather improves, I will be taking him out to lunch in April as well.

While I know that is a month away, I don’t see why they are neglecting his haircuts while I am away. I think it is “out of sight – out of mind”, and I want them to remember to do the things I had requested, even if I am not there!

All in all, I am very satisfied with the care dad is getting from his companions. And it helps me feel included when they contact me each day after a visit with him. I know he misses me. He asks on every phone call where I am and when I will be home.  But if I ask if he is OK with that, he always says yes, I should have a good time.

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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, Companion, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Companions Keep Dad Active

  1. boomer98053 says:

    I’m so glad that his companions are truly making an effort at being his companion in the true sense of the word. Just taking care of someone or monitoring someone doesn’t equate to companionship. I think the companions that you’ve arranged for him take their job seriously and care about the person for whom they provide assistance. Bravo!

    • Yes, I agree. I noticed one resident has a companion who just sits in the room and watches television all day. I’m not sure what is expected of her, but that doesn’t look very useful! I found dad’s companions through friends and that seems to be one way to know what you are getting.

      • boomer98053 says:

        That is proof positive that not every companion is very companionable. In the example you’ve provided, the companions are nothing more than seat sitters. They may as well work for the Oscars and take on the task of sitting in empty seats as attendees vacate them for potty breaks, or the occasional trek to the stage to accept an Academy Award. ANYONE can do that, but true companions are jewels.

      • Yes, dad’s companions are jewels. I feel fortunate to have found then!

  2. Terry says:

    This reminds me of when Al was in the nursing home those short months. I had expressed he get a hair cut once a month, but it wasn’t being done. I kept on them and then they decided they had enough of my mouth I guess. They cut Al’s hair at 10.00 a cut. For the next two weeks they cut it again each week and charged the same amount. I finally had to go in at an earlier time and wait for the hairdresser. Then I had my words and from then on he had a hair cut once a month.

    • Wow! They were getting back at you! So far they cut dad’s hair OK (at $12 per cut) but only after I remind an aide to take him there for the cut. With me away, no one reminds anyone. I guess on the scale of problems that could occur, this is minor, but I would just like them to build it into the schedule!

      • Terry says:

        it would be nice wouldn’t it. I had to always be on top of everything when Al was in the nursing home. Although it is rough here at home, I at least can over see his care, but for you, your Dad has a lot of living to do yet. I am glad he has a place to live where he can interact with others his age

      • Yes, me too. Dad is happy to have the social aspects to his living situation. He likes to spend most of his time in the lounge with the other people. I think a lot of it is people watching, but sometimes he seems to enjoy the attention of the ladies too!

      • Terry says:

        I hope I get as lucky as your dad is when my turn comes to be in a nursing home. He seems so happy

  3. jmgoyder says:

    Those companions are wonderful!

  4. Joy Johnston says:

    These companions sound wonderful and they are obviously doing your father a lot of good by keeping him socially engaged. This frees up the staff to focus on their jobs … from my experience the staff often became bogged down by lonely patients who just wanted some personal attention, and in the meantime someone wasn’t getting their meds or wasn’t getting their diaper changed.

    • They do give extra time to the staff. But in my experience the staff is not that overwhelmed. They often have time to sit around and talk though there are times when a lot happens (like the time when they pass out medications.)

      I don’t want to make them sound lazy, but at dad’s last ALF the aides were on the go all the time. Now at this ALF they seem to have a lot of time to chat among themselves. Maybe part of the time they are on break, but it just seems they don’t have as much to do as at the last place.

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