Today


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.

 

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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, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare, Memory Care Facility and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Today

  1. jmgoyder says:

    I can relate so much to this in so many ways but especially the heating issue. I almost always have to turn it on myself and Anthony is permanently cold. I wish you all the best with your decision my friend.

  2. SwittersB says:

    Hello dear friend…are you familiar yet with the costs, wait lists, location(s) of another memory care unit? That would be most disruptive to you to coordinate with little notice. Perhaps a little homework, if you haven’t already, on those considerations. I would think, if Dad’s faculties are even partially there he will be anxious over new surroundings and this will require more from you for some time to make sure he and you are comfortable. But, he may suffer the same discomfort and stressors right where he is. So his comfort, safety, caring staff, location, costs, demands on your mind/energy might best be considered now. Can your son help you sort the details or help you chart out the research? Just suggestions. Don’t mean to overwhelm you. I will say this…a full 2-3 years after our journey with my Mom and then my Aunt…we are still suffering from numbness, depression, fatigue etc. It took a very subtle toll on us and later, now, it is so evident. Always best wishes and prayers for you!!!

    Gary

    • Gary, You are so right. There are so many considerations to a move, which is why I have tried to just wait for the past 3 1/2 years. I would be content to continue waiting if I could be sure they will not force my hand. I have heard of a woman I knew in dad’s facility who was forced, with very little advance notice, first to move to their affiliated Memory Care facility, and then 6 months later to get out. The second time, I know they were given just a few days notice during the week before Christmas. I don’t know the reason, maybe she was severely disruptive, but the pressure on the family was tremendous. Luckily they found another facility they are very happy with.

      I have toured 3 Memory Care facilities in my area in the past few years. The Memory Care unit I am considering now is fairly new and had a long wait list. However, last month they called me to say a room was empty and did I want to see it. I did want a complete tour as my last tour was incomplete — it did not include a room nor some other sections that I saw last month. I told the marketing person though that I was just looking “in case” I needed to move dad and I was not ready to move him at that time. It seems they have had a lot of turnover due to the age and health of the new residents. So I think the current wait list remains short now. The cost is higher than we pay now for dad’s ALF but they have fewer residents and a much better staff to resident ratio.

      I do worry about the disruption to dad’s life and to my own. But I worry even more about a sudden call that I must move dad immediately without knowing someplace is available for him to move into. Dad has seemed stable for years but lately he is more confused. I would rather make the move on my own terms than to have them call and tell me he must move right now. I just don’t know how to predict when that call will come. I hesitate to ask at his ALF as I feel they have their own interests first and would not be totally open and honest with me. I don’t want my questions to precipitate a call for him to move, so I am trying to explore the option a bit blindly.

      Last night my son told me again how confused his grandfather had seemed earlier that day. I don’t know if it was due to the fact that he had been napping before we arrived, or if he is continuing to slide. I am thinking of calling the case manager I met with 2 years ago to get her opinion on this situation and to learn what she can do to help with the move. It would be difficult and my son doesn’t feel he could help much as he doesn’t have a truck and has less experience in this than I do. He did help me move my parents into their first ALF and knows the process. We would have to purchase some furniture or obtain it on Craig’s List or something since dad is “borrowing” furniture in his current ALF. It would be a big job. But it would be worse in a few months when the weather turns bad and I am preparing to leave to go south for awhile. I want dad stable before that if possible, either where he is or in the new place.

      As you note, it is a very stressful process. You also put a lot of work into cleaning out the houses. I will have something similar as I still have my hoarder sibling in dad’s own house. Separately, that is going to happen soon too as I need to sell dad’s house to get the money to pay for dad’s care over the long run. He has enough for now if he doesn’t end up in a nursing home. But, if I have to move him into a nursing home, I want to have a backup of the cash from dad’s house. I am working with a lawyer on that as it is more than I can do myself.

      Thanks for your input. It is a lot to think about. If I could make dad stay OK, I would like to keep him where he is. I just have this fear that this is the winter that his decline will become more severe and a decision will have to soon be made.

  3. boomer98053 says:

    Lori, if you feel a storm approaching, batten down the hatches. There’s no harm in doing some boots on the ground research for memory care units in advance of your father needing one. Such a move is best initiated when you’re an informed consumer, rather than in the heat of the moment. I sincerely hope you’re able to find some peace of mind before the colder weather hits. As a former long-term care ombudsman (advocate for vulnerable adults in ltc facilities), please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

    • Thanks, Irene. It is always good to know you are there. One of the reasons I decided to post this discussion is that I know many of my followers are experienced in these issues. The hard part is that I still feel I need a crystal ball to determine what dad’s needs will be in the near future. I will keep you in mind if I have specific questions. Lori

  4. Joy Johnston says:

    It’s so tough with this disease because it becomes harder and harder for our loved ones to communicate their needs, if they are in pain or discomfort, etc. While it’s true that a disruption in routine may make symptoms flare up, a better environment for him ultimately might be worth it, for his care and your conscience. Best of luck whatever you decide and don’t be too hard on yourself.

    • Thanks Joy. It is very difficult as my preference is no change. But predicting what change may be forced upon us makes it even more difficult to decide whether to gamble on the status quo or go for a Memory unit now. I guess I will sleep on it for another night and then maybe call for help from a local expert.

  5. Angela S. says:

    I just came across your site, and it resonated with me. Thanks so much. It helps to know that someone else understands how difficult this is. My 84 year old dad has Alzheimer’s, and my 86 year old mom is his primary caregiver. Sorry to hear your dad is having a temperature issue – so is mine. I’ve been researching ALFs, and my hope is to find something that will help relieve some of the stress that my mom faces with his daily care, including his outbursts due to being cold or frustrated. It’s so hard to see a parent cognitively decline. As a friend of mine always tells me: you’re doing the right thing, you’re doing the best you can, and your dad is fortunate to have you involved in his care. I look forward to reading more of your posts. Thanks again.

    • Thanks, Angela. My mom took care of dad before she passed away too. One problem at that time was she didn,t understand his Alzheimer’s and got impatient when he couldn’t still fix things the way he used to. It does help to hear I am doing the right things, and I appreciate your comments. Welcome to my blog.

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