This week I met with the new companion that will be visiting dad while I am on my winter vacation. She is a retired nurse and is just looking for part-time work to fill in some of her free time. I feel fortunate in that she has done this type of work before. She was recommended to me by a friend.
We met at dad’s assisted living facility and I showed her around his room while he was sitting in the lounge. I showed her the thermostat where I have been finding the temperature settings have been changed. I asked her to monitor that regularly.
I showed her his refrigerator and told her the extra items he likes to have in it, like Coke or pretzels or cheese. I introduced her to dad and they spoke briefly. As usual, dad wasn’t very talkative.
Today I met my son and grandson at the assisted living facility. My grandson wanted to play games on the iPad and I sat him in front of the end table near dad so dad could follow the conversation. Still, dad didn’t seem very engaged. I just have to satisfy myself with the fact that he can be stimulated by our presence.
My grandson was excited to be there and to play the games. My son had promised to take him shopping at Target afterwards, so he was ready for that too. Some days my grandson acts very shy though today he did very well. However, he didn’t want to go up to his great grandpa to say goodbye. Even though he visits a lot, I think he is still a bit afraid of great grandpa because he doesn’t talk that much.
Whenever I try to talk to dad I always have to repeat myself partly due to his hearing I think, but also because I think he doesn’t really focus. When I arrived today I first checked dad’s room while I put away the snacks that I brought him.
Again I found the thermostat set to cool while the temperature was set to 90 – as high as it would go. I took some pictures with my cell phone. Then I reset the setting from “cool” to “heat” and I set the temperature to 75. I asked dad when I got back to the lounge if he was resetting the thermostat himself. I showed him the pictures I had taken. He didn’t know if he was doing that or not.
One of the most frustrating things about Alzheimer’s disease is that there is no way for me to know what dad is able to do and what he can no longer do. I think it is possible he is changing the settings himself in an effort to warm up or cool down the room. However, since there were times when the actual heating unit was unplugged and the back door was open, I am pretty sure that dad is not the only one turning off his heat.
I sent another email to the director asking that they just check his room and reset the thermostat regularly. And since she offered to lock the thermostat, I said maybe now is the time to do that. I feel like I need to be checking it many times a day and I just can’t, so I have to find another solution!
So here I am, still stressing along, even as I make plans to get away for awhile. I will still be here until the end of the year, so that is time to keep checking on this issue and anything else that turns up.
On the one hand, I am most anxious to get away and just walk on the beach. Our weather has turned cold and rainy and I get depressed as the days get shorter and darker. On the other hand, I know I will want to be able to check in on dad and will feel the stress of being far away. I am never totally stress free, and maybe I never will be. I just need to learn to take one day at a time and not pre-worry about what is ahead.
Dad does seem healthy and that is a very good thing. I had a nice visit with my son and grandson and that was very nice too. In a few weeks dad will have his first visit with the neurologist who will be evaluating his Alzheimer’s disease. This visit will be just one hour for them to open a file and determine what to do next. I find myself wishing that would be sooner as I am confused about where dad is heading right now.