I believe an Assisted Living Facility has to contact the resident’s family each time there is an official “incident”. I am not sure of the definition of an incident, but two have been reported to me in the past month!
When the ALF lost electricity after the hurricane in late October, the ALF manager called to inform me that they had lost power. They were using generators at the facility and this provided sufficient electricity to operate the kitchens, common rooms and kitchen and bathrooms in the residents’ rooms.
The second incident occurred this past week. I received a telephone call from one of the evening aides. She said she had to inform me about an incident that had occurred the day before. She was a fairly new employee and had just learned that she should have reported the incident to me the day it occurred.
It seemed that dad had been involved in a dispute about his “lady friend”. I have written before about “Mary” who sometimes sat by dad on the sofa in the lounge area. See “Dad and A Lady Friend” and “Another Sunday Family Visit at the Assisted Living Facility“. Dad enjoyed Mary’s company, but Mary was a bit forgetful or fickle or something.
Frequently Mary was with another man (I will call him “OM” for “other man”) I had seen Mary with OM many times in the past, and was surprised when she began spending time with dad. Dad introduced Mary to me one day and told me she was his friend. But after that, I often saw Mary sitting again with OM, and dad sitting alone.
I heard rumors that OM considered Mary to be “his” and he didn’t like it when she sat by dad. Apparently this relationship issue came to a head the other day. Dad was sitting in the lounge where he usually does, on the sofa in the television area. Mary and OM came into that lounge and decided to sit on the same sofa next to dad.
Dad requested that they sit with Mary in the middle as he knew her and he didn’t know OM. Mr. OM took great exception to that request and began to shout. He said he would sit wherever he wanted to. And while he spoke, he waved his arms in the air near dad’s face in a typical Italian American fashion. (Not to appear prejudiced, as we are all Italian and I also talk with my hands ;))
Anyway, dad saw these hands coming towards his face and he reacted by punching OM in the face. By that point, the aide who was right behind them handing out medications stepped in to handle the situation. She reminded them that they could all sit on the sofa, and that dad should not have hit the other man in the face.
“He started it”, said Dad, in a typical 7-year-old fashion. The aide said yes, she saw the whole incident and knew that the other man had begun to shout first. Dad is a very quiet person and has never been involved in a fight so far as I know. The aide said that it was true that OM had confronted dad, but it was wrong of dad to hit him. Dad explained that he thought OM was about to hit him in the face, so he punched him first.
Here I will note that OM is heavier and appears younger and stronger than dad. He is louder and quite possessive of Mary. Dad agreed that he would not hit OM or anyone else any more.
I asked the aide who phoned me if this would have repercussions for dad. Would they want to throw him out or anything because of it? She didn’t think so, but the manager and the nurse (who must be officially second in command) are out for the weekend, so I won’t find out any more until Monday.
Today, when I went to visit dad, I saw he was sitting alone on the sofa and I was thankful for that. Mary was in the nearby lounge with some other women. OM was not in sight. I talked to dad first about some family issues. Then I told him I heard he had been in a fight a few days ago. He said it wasn’t a fight, it was an argument. I said I heard he hit the other man in the face. He insisted that he didn’t hit the other man. I reminded him that he can’t hit people. He said it wasn’t much of an argument and he couldn’t even remember what it was about. I think that is probably true. After all, dad has Alzheimer’s disease and I think probably Mary does also. I am not sure about OM, but he clearly believes he has a proprietary relationship with Mary!
I hope this was a one-time conflict and that Mary and OM will go back to sitting in the other lounge where they have always sat in the past. I had thought it was great progress for dad to be spending more time in the common areas and less time in his room. Now I’m not so sure!