Dad never ceases to amaze me. He has been living in an assisted living situation for over 2 years now. Even before that, his main occupation has been to sit back in his lazy boy, though he used to listen to music while doing so. For the past year, he seemed to just sit and think or sleep with little else to occupy himself.
In the past few months, he has been spending time in the television lobby rather than staying in his room. I thought that showed great progress. Until recently, I didn’t realize that he was starting to get involved in other activities as well.
Last week, he showed me a little Thanksgiving turkey that he had made with Styrofoam balls and pipe cleaners the other day. I mentioned it to the aide as I thought it was the “lady friend” that was getting him involved in more activities.
The aide told me that they had a new activities director, a young man who has been successful in getting dad to take part in other activities that he had shunned up until recently. However, while I knew he was getting up and out of his room more, I was still surprised when I got today’s mail.
Dad has a cash “bank account” with the ALF administration. I put in $80 when he first moved in over 18 months ago so if he wanted money for any activity he would have access to it. Each month for the past 18 months, the ALF has sent me an audited statement showing that dad still had his $80 in his cash account.
Until now. Today I got an audited form showing that dad had accessed his account twice in the past month. Dad has apparently taken part in two lunch excursions on the shuttle van with his peers. He went to the Olive Garden once and to a local Beer Garden for lunch once. Both times he had lunch and a drink, and I received copies of his receipts today.
Wow! I was stunned. After all these years, dad has finally gotten up out of his chair and out of the building and joined in some outside activities! I was pleased as punch. I had been pleased to see he was taking part in craft activities, but this was even more surprising. I am so happy for him. I hope he will keep this up, though I will have to remember to deposit more money into his cash account!
(I will point out that three years ago when I visited mom and dad down south, I had a mobile home in a nearby park. One day I had a friend drive mom and dad to visit me so I could have them over for lunch. And dad refused to get out of the car and go see my mobile home! Dad was already set in his ways – and that was 3 years ago! So you can see how far he has come now that he is willing to go out on activities with his ALF!)
I can’t even convince dad to come to my house for lunch, though I take him to restaurants a few times a month. I don’t know if he is afraid I won’t bring him back to his room or what! Nevertheless, I am pleased to see he is now going out with a group for some activities. I hope he will continue to do so.