Another Week with Dad


This has been a fairly quiet week with dad, though there were a couple of things that concerned me.  When I went to visit dad on Tuesday he was at an activity.  I went to straighten out his room until he was done and then walked down to meet him.

The rooms in his assisted living facility are on four halls that intersect to form a large square.  One can walk in either direction and eventually end up exactly where you started.  I went to the lounge first as that is where dad usually sits.  From there I walked to the activity room and he had already left.

I continued around the square and could see dad about 25 feet in front of me.  I followed until I caught up and walked with dad back into his room.  He went in and sat down on the chair that I usually sit in.  I had never seen him do that before as he always sits in his favorite Lazy Boy.

I asked why he was sitting there and he looked confused.  Why not sit in this chair?  I said it was OK but he usually sat in the other chair.  Anyway we sat in that room and talked briefly and then he was ready to go to lunch.  I walked with him to the dining room and then went home.  I never figured out why he sat in a different chair that day and since then he seems to be back in his normal routine.

The next time I visited I told him I would take him to lunch.  Did he want ravioli or shrimp?  He chose shrimp and we drove to the fish restaurant.  Unfortunately after we got out of the car I discovered they were closed for vacation and we had to get back in the car and go to the other restaurant anyway.

Dad was OK with that and by the time we got to the second restaurant he may have even forgotten about the first restaurant.  The thing that concerned me that day was that dad was unable to fasten his seat belt each time we got into the car.  That was 3 legs on this trip and all 3 legs he was unable to fasten his seatbelt.  I reached over him and fastened it for him.  The main thing that concerned me about that was that this was the first time that dad has been unable to do his own seat belt.

That same day I noticed that dad’s eye looked infected so I took him to see the nurse when we returned to his assisted living facility.  This time the nurse was much more responsive to my requests and she told me there was another resident who had conjunctivitis and he probably had it too.  She would call his physician for eye drops that day.  And then the next time I saw her she said the doctor had called in the prescription right away and he started on the drops that very first night.  His eyes were improving within 2 days.

I will mention here that I got a letter from the county representative of the state health department this week.  They had completed a review of my father’s records.  The letter  seemed to indicate that they hadn’t found anything, so I called and spoke to the woman in charge.  Indeed that had found he had missed medications but they did not cite a finding.  I asked if I should just call them directly next time and she said yes.  She was very open and said such events were unfortunately not unusual and they tend to blame the doctors for not being responsive.  Still, ultimately it was the ALF’s responsibility.

She said they don’t tell the ALF who filed the complaint but since they looked only at dad’s records, they would draw their own conclusions.  I said that was fine as I had told the ALF that I would be filing a complaint.

In any case, I found myself wondering if the nurse was more responsive to me this week because of the complaint I had filed.  She didn’t say anything about it and neither did I.  I am just glad to have them respond to problems as they occur.

Today when I visited dad he was asleep in the lounge with his lady friend asleep against him.  I pulled up a chair and we spoke a little and he napped a little.  It is hard to talk to him when I am not right next to him, but often even that isn’t enough to get a conversation going.  They were watching an old movie on television though he said they weren’t really watching it.

My son and grandson were unable to visit this week so it was a quiet visit.  I did take time to talk to the aides and request that they shave him as he hadn’t really gotten much of a shave this week and looked really scruffy. The aide told me that a new aide had gotten him up this morning and just told him to shave but of course he didn’t.  I guess she didn’t realize he doesn’t shave himself and today was not his shower day.

He also needs a haircut so I asked one of the aides to request that he be taken down for one on the day when the beautician is there.  The beautician is only there once a week.  I had requested before that dad get on a schedule to get a haircut once a month.  Still, that hasn’t been happening so I put in a request for this week.

Dad asked me if he has to go out for a haircut or if someone comes in.  I told him the aides will come for him when it is time and they will take him to the room where he gets his haircut.  He has done it many times before, but he really doesn’t remember it at all.

He asked me today if I would take him to “Long John Silver’s” this week as he wanted to have some shrimp.  I told him I will take him to a fish restaurant this week but I don’t think he remembered that he almost had his shrimp last week. I don’t think we have Long John Silver’s nearby but we do have places where he can have shrimp.

After this week I can see that dad is really not doing as well as I had thought.  He has good weeks and bad weeks and even during a week like this he still knows who I am and still gets himself to the dining room for his meals, etc.  Each day we have is a gift at his age and I am thankful he is still doing as well as he is.

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About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers 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 and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Another Week with Dad

  1. Terry says:

    I was thinking as I read this how grateful Al is home and not in the nursing home any longer, then when I got towards the bottom of your post I thought of Al again. When you look at him you can see that he is ill by his weakness in his body structure, but the real disease lives inside Al and no one really realizes how sick he is. His heart can take off and start pounding at 300 beats per minute taking his life at any second. It scares me because I tend to look at Al as not so sick, but he really is

    • Sometimes I think I see what I want to see and not what is really there. It is hard to be objective with someone you know and love. Still I try to take each day one at a time as I can’t really change tomorrow. Someties I succeed and sometimes I worry anywy. 🙂

  2. boomer98053 says:

    Some visits are simply deflating, aren’t they? I remember when I had to start buckling my dad into the passenger seat. The next car drama was that dad couldn’t figure out how to get into the car, and how to get out of it. When you’re the person trying to get those tasks accomplished on behalf of someone else, it can be very difficult. I remember crying at one point because what was so natural just weeks earlier, was more difficult than assembling an atomic bomb. (I didn’t let him see my tears as I put myself together when I walked to the driver’s side of the car.)

    I’m surprised the new aide simply told your dad to shave. If she had looked at his records – which she is supposed to do – she would see that he needs assistance. I know that these paid caregivers don’t make a bucket full of money, but they signed on for the job and should do what is required of them.

    • Yes, I was surprised too. So far as I know, this is the first time this has happened. but then, he usually only gets shaved once or twice a week when he gets his shower. Sometimes he refuses his shower and/or shave so it takes longer for him to get shaved. I know the young women are afraid of cutting him when they shave him, but I keep hoping they will get more confident. He had one woman who was good with that and even lathered him up while he sat in his Lazy Boy as he was more cooperative that way. Unfortunately, she moved on to a different job that I bet paid better!

      It is hard to watch dad when he gets confused. I try to keep things simple, but as you noted some things that were simple will all of a sudden be harder to do. I was hoping he wouldn’t live long enough to deteriorate fully as he is in his mid-90’s now. But all I can do is watch and hope it doesn’t get too difficult for him.

      Thanks for your insightful comments.

  3. jlsm697 says:

    You write like I do…love your posts.
    Putting on my nurses hat, simple tasks are forgotten at times. It’s hard for family but we try to go with the flow. That is the way with Mom and washing her hands. Gentle reminders. Something is just not firing correctly, like sitting elsewhere.
    I’m glad the nurses were more responsive, they should be as if it would have happened to me. I would darn well make sure it didn’t happen again. Every day for us and our loved one is different.

    • Thanks. I try to go with the flow… Each day is a bit different. I agree about the nurse. I have dad in ALF because they have skilled help. I expect them to respond to his needs and to keep up with his medications. But now I am monitoring more too.

  4. I just discovered your blog. Your writing beautifully captures what it’s like to care for elderly parent. I’m helping care for my 91 year-old dad so understand some of the challenges and emotions you are facing. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  5. tersiaburger says:

    Hugs and healing prayers.

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