Today I visited dad as usual for a Sunday morning. Dad was not in the lounge where he usually is. Instead I went to his room and I found him almost asleep in his chair. He asked what was new and I told him about my day so far and that it was cold out. We talked a few minutes and then he laid back his head and was half asleep again.
I took out my iPad and tried to find some pictures to show him. I didn’t find anything though. After another 20 minutes or so, my son arrived and knocked on the door. He came in with enthusiasm and dad talked to him a little. Then dad went back to resting in his chair and my son and I were having a conversation. It is hard to keep dad engaged lately!
Towards noon I reminded dad that it was almost lunch time and did he want to use the bathroom. He asked if we were going out and I said no, we were just going down to the dining room for him to have his lunch. I think the only thing that gets much enthusiasm from him lately is when I ask if he wants to go out for lunch.
But today is very windy and feels quite cold. Also I don’t take him out on Sundays as all the restaurants are either closed until 4 or they are very crowded on Sundays.
When dad got up to go to the bathroom, he still seemed confused and his walk was very shaky. As we walked him to the dining room, he seemed very thin and frail. I need to check and see what his weight was for the beginning of October, but while the aides were all in the wellness area, they would soon be helping residents with lunch, so I just left. I will ask that on Tuesday.
One of the things that was troubling today was that dad’s room seemed quite cool. I went to check the back door and it was closed and a new sign on it says not to open that door, which was good to see. I checked the thermostat and it was set to 80, but it was clearly not that warm in the room. I moved it higher and checked it was on “heat” and it was. Something was wrong.
I checked the wall heater under the window which should have been making heating noise and generating heat. It was not on. The fan button was turned to high. Then I looked for the plug. It was not plugged in to the socket! Someone had unplugged the heater! I suspect it was the person who came to clean the bathroom but have no way to know.
I walked down to the wellness center and told the aides that dad’s heater was unplugged. They all seemed surprised and were sure none of them had done it. I am getting so frustrated. I don’t want to complain every time I go in to visit dad! But how can I get them to give him the attention he needs when there are so many people who come and go in his room every day? The person who turns off the heat never stays long enough to see the temperature go down and see dad get cold. It is hit and run with them.
I know dad makes the room very warm and it is hard for the workers to do their chore – whether making the bed or cleaning the bathroom – in such a hot room. But, when they turn off the heat and then leave, or open the door and then leave – they are setting dad up to have no heat later. Then I find him cold when I get there. What happens on days when I don’t go in? Does he sit and shiver for awhile? How long does it take for someone to realize he has no heat? What do I do next?
I am starting to wonder now if I should move dad to the memory care unit at another facility before it becomes necessary. That is, before his current ALF tells me he has to move, should I make the decision myself? What is the basis for such a decision? Is it based on the fact that he doesn’t seem able to figure out why his room is cold? Is it because I expect better care at the memory unit in the medical center?
If I move him, it will be disruptive to his routine. Would it increase his dementia symptoms? Would he get much worse? The room he would move to is very small compared to what he has now. They tend to try to keep all the memory care residents in the large central room where activities take place. Would he be unhappy with that? He likes to sit and snooze. Would they make him be more active? Suppose he couldn’t? or wouldn’t?
I really can’t decide how to proceed. I want him settled into the right place for the winter if I will be moving him at all. I don’t want to have to make a change during bad weather. And I heard the facility he is at now has made some people move with very little notice – first into their memory care unit, and then out of it. This is why I will not consider their memory care unit.