Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting out.

Months ago, at Dad's old facility, the administrator asked if we would no longer allow Dad's aide to take him out more than once a week or so. They were convinced that Dad became increasingly agitated and angry upon returning from an outing. He went to all the doors repeatedly, testing them and trying to get out, being aggressive to the staff. They swore it was because he was becoming overloaded by the outside world, that this eventually happened to all dementia patients. Well, I swung by Dad's new home to drop off some pants the other day and he was out. Every time I call to check in on him, he's out. He gets out more than I do, now! His aide and the other caregivers are taking him out shopping, to the park, walking, playing tennis, lunch, and a bunch of other places. And he's doing just fine. He's calm, non-aggressive, doesn't try the door when he's home, and seems quite content. This leads me to wonder: what was causing the problem before? It obviously wasn't the outings, and now I'm sad for all the enjoyment Dad could have been having if I hadn't listened to his old caregivers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What a difference a place makes...

I went to visit my Dad today, and bring over the remaining cupcakes from my birthday party last night(39! Yay.). As usual, the house was clean and calm and everyone was happy to see me. I sat with Dad on the couch quietly for a while, and I don't think he knew me; he seemed a little irritated. But when I joined him and two of the other residents, both lovely people, at the table, he seemed to warm up. As they ate their hot dogs and onion rings, we all talked about where we had lived, what jobs we had done, things we liked to do. And Dad started to remember things about himself and his life, correcting me on the name of a city where he had lived as a boy, and laughing with me about his old love for skiing. And he seemed to remember me, talking to me about our family and my sister. In the old facility, there would have been a bustle of caregivers feeding and cleaning up, too many other residents talking or yelling, and an overall feeling of rush and tasks to finish. Here, all was calm and leisurely, there were no schedules or tasks to be completed, only people who needed to be fed with respect and in comfort. It was lovely.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So Far So Good...

The reports keep coming in; Dad is doing great in his new home! I am beyond excited. Apparently he has settled in just fine, is enjoying the food and many walks around the neighborhood, and is sleeping well. I'm not entirely sure what I envisioned could happen, but I never dreamed it would go this easily. It looks like we found exactly the right place, and I'm really grateful. Greg, the owner, and his wife, are the nicest people; they truly care about the people in their care and are committed to what they do. Thank god there are people in the world like that. Let's hope that the happiness continues!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Personal Post

Well, stage one is done. On Wednesday, we successfully moved Dad to the new AFH. The owner kindly helped us with the move as we ended up being a man down on the day. It was actually a fairly quick process; we packed for two hours, deciding what to send over and what to throw out or donate. Del took Dad out for the day so he wouldn't get unsettled about what we were doing. Then we drove the short distance over to the new place and unpacked Dad's familiar bed, horrible oak headboard and armoire, and everything else. We hung the pictures and that was about that. It was a little odd, actually. I was certain when I moved him into Brighton that it would be the last place he ever lived. It was hard enough getting him in there, that I never wanted to contemplate another move. But this move was quick and easy, and a place that was his entire environment, his whole life, filled with the people who cared for him hourly, is no longer. His old room is empty, his new room is waiting.