Today I took dad to the thrift store again at his request. As usual he commented on what a big store it was when we got there. We have been there many times but each time it is new to him.
As we walked in, he turned to me and asked which way he was going. I pointed out that books were there on the left, in the back they had furniture and electronics and on the other side they had household items. The middle of the store held many racks of clothing for men, women and children.
I asked if he wanted to start by the books. He said yes and headed over to look at used books. Within a few moments he had picked up a box of software to make cards and brochures. He asked if I could open it and I pointed out that it was brand new and taped shut. He said he wanted to buy it.
“But dad”, I said, “You don’t still have a computer.” He looked at me with surprise. “I don’t have a computer? Yes, he said, he was sure he had a computer.” So I just said “It’s OK, you can buy it if you want it.”
The fact is that almost a year ago dad was hospitalized. Before he was discharged I was told he would have to move to a nursing home permanently. When dad moved into the nursing home, I took almost everything from his ALF and either brought it home (to my garage) or put it in his smaller room at the nursing home. At that time, I brought home all his clothing, his television, his computer and pictures from the walls.
I waited for my son-in-law to come to help me move out the rest of the furniture in his van. Then after a visit with dad’s doctor, I was told he would be able to return to his assisted living facility after all. I had kept his room at the ALF so I could slowly clean it out and in the hopes that he would be able to return there.
When the doctor said he would be able to return to the ALF, I stopped trying to clean out the room. We never moved the larger furniture out. Then when he moved from the nursing home back to his ALF, I started bringing his clothing and other belongings back to the ALF.
But, by this time I was exhausted from the hospitalization, nursing home, moving and stress. I decided since dad never used his television or his computer I would just leave them in my garage. (Dad had never used his television in the 9 months he was there. Likewise he never turned on the computer.)
When he first moved to his ALF, I had spent quite a bit of time and money getting his computer set up. But I was unable to set up a dial-up connection for his internet. Because he had a cable telephone and television, he had to use cable for his Internet connection also. However, the ALF wouldn’t allow any wires to be strung from the cable box to the computer desk. And his desk didn’t fit near the cable box. So we had to set up a wireless system so he could use the computer at his desk.
When we got the computer set up on his desk, dad asked for a printer, and I brought in my old one which worked fine with his computer. Dad asked for paper and I brought that in too.
Previously, Dad had accessed his email via a dial-up connection. Now he had to go in a different way using the Internet cable. The computer consultant and I worked it out so he could still access his old email account. But the change in the way to access email confused dad. Basically even after I showed him multiple times, dad just never turned on the computer or accessed the Internet.
A few months ago, dad asked if he could go to the thrift store and buy a television. I told him he had one in my garage and I would bring it in. I reminded him that he had the television last year and never used it but he wanted it set up because he might want to watch the news or something. I had the cable company restart his television service. He even wanted 2 sets, one in the bedroom and one in the living room, which he now has (and never uses.)
So now, as of today, dad has television cable with 2 television sets in his apartment and doesn’t watch television. He just bought software for a computer that is still in my garage. When I dropped him off back at his apartment I didn’t mention the software or the computer. (I had been hoping he would forget to take it from the car, but he kept it in his lap and brought it into the ALF with him. By the time I visit him on Thursday, dad will probably have realized he doesn’t have a computer and he wants one.
Honestly, I don’t have the energy to set it all up again. The computer is heavy and I need help moving it. The printer is even heavier. Then there is the keyboard, the monitor and the mouse. It would take a lot of energy and time to set it all up. And then, do I hook up the internet cable again? I don’t believe he will ever even get that new software installed. Actually, he will probably never even turn the computer on.
I don’t want to do this. I don’t like to argue with dad because he can’t remember that when he had these things he didn’t use them. But I would need help to get it all set up again.
Today I am a tired and frustrated caregiver. I don’t know what will happen next.