Dad has been living in assisted living facilities since mom passed away over a year ago. At first he stayed in the unit he shared with mom. I temporarily stayed nearby so I could be sure he was all right and to also vacation in that warmer climate he had spent so many winters in. He was ready to move to my city last spring even though he had never lived there before. He wanted to be closer to me and my children and grandchildren. It wasn’t my city either since I had moved to be nearer my family after I retired.
Dad still has Alzheimer’s and forgets much of what happened in the recent past though he remembers 50 years ago pretty well. He enjoys visits from family especially the small children. He doesn’t participate in many activities in his new assisted living facility but he knows the aides and they know him. He has become more comfortable there. In fact, he had just started to spend more time in the common lounge area, talking to people when he suffered his big setback two months ago.
On that day an aide called to tell me dad had to go to the hospital in the ambulance and I should meet him there. We spent the day in the ER – until after 9 in the evening – and then he was discharged with instructions to see his primary physician the following Monday. We had to stop for a prescription on the way home – not an easy task on a Saturday night, but finally we found an open pharmacy. Sunday he seemed OK though he had no memory of spending the day in the ER the day before. Monday I picked him up early and already there were signs of a problem. He couldn’t stand to walk out with me. I had to borrow a wheelchair to take him to his doctor. She looked at him and told me to take him back to the ER where she wanted him admitted. How will I convince them? I asked. She said she would call and tell them to admit though they had to make the decision. Again, we spent a full day at the ER and when I left, almost 9 again, I was told he would be admitted “for observation” though they were still waiting for a bed.
In the end he spent 10 days in the hospital though I still didn’t have a good diagnosis. They wanted to do more tests on an outpatient basis after he was discharged and then would know for sure what the problem was. The entire time he was in the hospital, I was worried he would go downhill fast, as mom did, and that I would have no way to stop them from doing more tests than were appropriate. In the end, that didn’t happen. I was prepared for the past, but not the future.
He was not back to baseline when he was discharged, so his assisted living couldn’t take him right away. They only had a nurse on duty 9 AM to 4 PM weekdays with aides there weekends and evenings. They were afraid with his dementia he could do something to make his condition worse. Instead I had to have him admitted to a nursing home. That brought a whole new set of problems.