Dad and the Lady Friend – Continued…


After staying away from dad’s ALF for almost a week because of the quarantine due to the GI bug,  I returned this week.  Dad was glad to see me, but still a bit glum.

I brought him some new slippers and a few other things.  I asked him to go with me to his room so he could try on the clothes and have room to spread out.  The lobby is sometimes too full of people for us to easily sit side by side.

Dad tried on the slippers but they were too small.  I would have to take them back and exchange for a larger size.  The other clothing seemed to fit OK.  Dad sat back in his Lazy Boy and picked up the picture of himself and Mary.  He showed it to me and again asked if I knew who she was.  I said yes, that was Mary.

“Where is she?” he asked.  I told him again that she had moved to the memory unit.  “Can I see her?” he asked.  Again I didn’t know how to respond.  Twice they came in contact recently – once in his ALF and once in the Memory Unit and both times she did not recognize him.

I told him I thought it might make him sad if he sees Mary and she doesn’t recognize him.  “Oh, she will know who I am!” he declared.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I told him I didn’t know if he could see her or not.  I would talk to the management and find out.  He sat looking rather sad the rest of my visit until it was time to go to lunch.

While he went to lunch, I mentioned the situation to the director again.  She said I could take him to the memory unit if I want to, but there are no activities planned for the rest of this month that would bring together the people from both units at one activity.

I told her I was hesitant to take him there, partly because of all the snow and ice on the ground.  I have enough difficulty walking from my car into the building without trying to take dad on his walker – even though we would just have to go to the car in the parking lot and from the other parking lot into the building.

Also I am afraid he will be directly rejected if there is no activity and I just tried to have him visit her.  I guess I am overwhelmed at this time of year with so much going on and all the bad weather that I am not ready to add on one more thing.

I said for the time being we would wait.  I wished I had told dad Mary was gone far away and he couldn’t see her any more.  But I didn’t want to lie to him.  I try to always tell him the truth.

But the next time I went to the ALF I brought dad the new slippers I had exchanged for the ones that did not fit.  I told him I would put his old slippers in his room and he could just stay in the lounge while I did that.  While I was in his room, I slipped that picture of Mary into my purse.  I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but I thought: “Out of sight – out of mind”.  Maybe he won’t think about her so much if her picture isn’t right there by his chair.

I feel guilty taking the picture from him in case it brought him comfort.  But it seemed to just make him sad, so there you are!

I don’t know what I will say if he asks about the picture.  I don’t even know if he still remembers Mary’s name, as he always just asks me if I know who she is.  I will see what happens in the next week or.  I think I might try to find time to print some old pictures of mom to bring to his room and set on the table beside his chair.  He knows she is gone, but it might bring him some comfort in his memories.

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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 Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Companionship, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare, Lady Friend, Memories and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Dad and the Lady Friend – Continued…

  1. M says:

    God be with you in this tough time.

  2. jmgoyder says:

    I know this is going to sound like I am an awful person but, for the sake of Anthony’s feelings, I have told many lies. When he asks me about why various friends/relatives don’t visit him, I will say things like, “Oh I think they’ve gone to Europe for a holiday”, or “they have the flu” – anything to alleviate his hurt feelings. It is the first time in my life that I have discovered how lying can be a kindness. I don’t like it but it makes him feel better so that’s why I do it. I hope this helps!

  3. boomer98053 says:

    There is no right answer because each day – each moment – could bring a different response from your father. (As long as your father doesn’t accuse a staff member of taking the photo of Mary, you should be fine.) As a caregiver in this circumstance, you simply need to do what works in any given situation. That same action may not work the next time, to be sure, but it’s a trial and error scenario for which you need to be creative – and you are being creative. Bless you.

    • Thanks, Irene. I change my mind so many times. But today I brought a picture of mom and put it on the table by his chair. He was in the lounge and I was bringing his snacks to his room. I hope that was a good choice. I will find out if he asks me again about his lady friend or her picture. I just feel bad for him now as I think he is lonely with her gone.

      • boomer98053 says:

        This just proves to us that companionship – connection – is so very important to the human spirit. I hope your father is able to find peace at this time. The good news? He has you.

      • Yes, I think companionship is extremely important. That is one reason I think dad is better off in a congregate living facility with other people near his age. He has activities and people to keep him stimulated. I am glad to visit several times a week, but I also notice he sits more in the lounge and with others when I visit less. He goes to activities he used to ignore when he and mom lived in an independent senior community. Companionship combats loneliness. I am just sorry mom is not there also to keep him company!

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