Wednesday 23rd January 19 – Behaving himself

Dad is being a model resident at present, which is a good thing, he seems to have settled after his little blip following Christmas and New Year.

He isn’t jumping up and down and being the life and soul, that would never happen as that isn’t in my dads nature, but neither is he being aggressive or grumpy, he’s just being I think the word is ‘content’ or maybe it’s just more evidence that he can no longer remember or can communicate what to be aggressive or grumpy about. Yes probably. I also no longer think he remembers or misses anything from his former life, which helps.

It’s still sad, but I think I’d rather him be like that, than like some of the other residents at present who are constantly asking to leave.

Dennis was being particularly aggressive and demanding today and Kath was her usual moaning self asking anyone and everyone to take her home or to the church or the shop.  Funnily enough though on Monday when I visited dad, Kath was also in a good mood and she said she was feeling more positive, it obviously didn’t last long.

I’m not sure if there is a bit of a change in staff at the moment, especially with the nurses, I haven’t seen Steve now for over a week (maybe he’s on holiday or sick) but there have been other nurses on the unit, but they haven’t been that friendly.  Emeily is still around though and I asked her on Monday how dad was doing and she said he was doing great, everyone loves him, because he mostly sits and sleeps or walks around picking bits up off the floor, he’s also always polite, he just smiles and says your welcome to everything.

Dad seemed tired today, we went and sat in the lounge area as it was quiet in there, but also a bit devoid of chairs.  I asked where they had all gone, it seems someone keeps coming in and taking them?  Dad fell asleep almost as soon as he sat down, but the lounge didn’t stay quiet for very long as the kneeling guy came in and started going around the room shouting and kneeling. Then Dennis came in and took offence to Alan who was sat in a wheelchair looking out of the window, he started shouting at him and tried to grab him, so Alan started shouting and threatening to hit Dennis. Dennis then hit the nurse who tried to move him away. Jim (a carer) then tried to help, but he got kicked.  They got Dennis to sit down and gave him some biscuits, but they got thrown and he started trying to kick out again, so they took him off to give him some medication to calm him down.

It doesn’t stay quiet for long but for most of the time, dad stayed fast asleep, only waking because he thought he had dropped something.  I stayed a hour but there was no point staying any longer.

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Wednesday 16th January 19 – Happy 82nd Birthday dad

16 jan 19 - granddad is 82 (7)

It’s Dad’s birthday today, he is 82 years young. My youngest son and I visited dad and took his cards and presents; chocolate, biscuits, a polo shirt and a Happy Birthday balloon and badge. He liked the balloon, the rest of the items he took little notice of, lol.

I also bought cupcakes for all the residents and staff, even though he will be getting a cake later and I bought dad a little treat of his favourite chocolate muffins (he used to live on these and quite literally ate them for breakfast, lunch and dinner).  When I gave the muffins to him, his eyes lit up as he recognised what they were.  However, when it came to actually eating one, he didn’t know what to do with it, it almost ended up down the sink!  I cut it up into chunks and fed it to him as that seemed the easiest thing to do, he enjoyed it though.

A letter from the tax man arrived today for dad, addressed to him at the care home!  I should of known this would happen, when I called the HM Revenue & Customs/DWP to let them know about the attendance allowance, the person I spoke to asked where dad was and the address, I thought this was just for their records, not for them to start writing to dad there. So does this mean all correspondence now from them will go direct to dad at the care home and I have to rely on the care home to pass it on to me.? I’m still waiting for a letter from the DWP to let me know how much we have to pay back for the over payment of the Attendance allowance and Winter fuel payment.

Monday 14th January 19 –

Dad seemed in a better mood today and he seemed to have ‘acquired’ a ladies silver elasticated strap watch which he was wearing (he probably thought it was his). Jim thought it might be Marjorie’s, he managed to remove it and put it back in her room.  I asked about dad’s watch, Jim went to look for it, but it seems that the glass hasn’t been found.  I’ve brought the watch home with me, but I’m not sure if it is worth getting fixed.  It’s very likely that the watch could just end up in the wash again.

I’m now wondering if it’s worth buying dad a cheap waterproof watch, that he wouldn’t have to remove or should I just not bother? It’s not like he could actually tell the time with his old watch anyway.

Whilst we were sat in the lounge this morning, another visitor arrived with a baby girl, I couldn’t see here where I was sat, but she was just in dad’s line of sight and he kept watching her.  He even said at one point, “What are they doing with Linda?”  That’s me!

It’s dad’s birthday on Wednesday, so I mentioned this to the care home and asked them what normally happens on birthday’s.  I was told that they put up decorations and provide a birthday cake and candles and sing happy birthday to them.  It’s a good job I asked as I was going to buy dad a cake and enough cake for all the residents, but I don’t have to do that now.  I do have biscuits and chocolate though for dad to share with them.

 

Saturday 12th January 19 – missing watch

When I first took dad to live in a care home, he had thankfully forgotten that it was I who had taken him there. When I visited him he seemed amazed that I knew where he was and would ask “How did you find me?” He also, wanted me to take him back home.

On Saturday when we visited dad, we found him sat in the lounge, his arms crossed and looking quite sullen.  When he saw us though, I think he tried to ask us how we had found him, the words were jumbled and some made up, but I think I got the gist, he hasn’t done this for a long time, this however still seems to be his mood at the moment.

He was also very incoherent, he kept saying a lot of made up words, so it was very difficult to understand him or talk to him today.

We also noticed that dad didn’t have his watch on.  It’s a gold elasticated strap watch which he’s had for many years and he very rarely takes it off.  So I went to have a look for it in his room but I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I asked one of the carers about it.  We searched in a couple of the residents rooms who are known for ‘removing’ items and hiding them, but we still didn’t find it. We did find dad’s new dressing gown in Neil’s room though, I hadn’t noticed it was missing! So Craig went to look in the laundry room as sometimes (like his wallet did) they end up being washed in their clothes.

Unfortunately, this is what had happened to dad’s watch and it hadn’t fared well, it was in bits and obviously no longer working, the glass was also missing.  😦 I left it with Craig for now and he said he will ask them to look for the glass.

Wednesday 9th January 19 -Plotting his escape

It was a better and more interesting visit with dad today. I had to go searching for him when I arrived as he wasn’t in his usual hiding places.

A staff member located him in another residents room, he was talking to an empty chair!  When he saw me, he furtively beckoned me to come over and started pointing at the window and the fence he could see outside and he tried to explain and show me how he was going to get out of here and escape.  I said good plan, but I didn’t think he would be able to climb over that fence, lol!

We then walked down to the lounge area and dad headed straight for the double doors which lead out to the car park.  Dad didn’t start shaking and banging the doors to try to get them open, like some of the other residents do, he’s more subtle than that. He started pressing the bar and then using his foot to push against the bottom catch, he could see that it was moving, but it wouldn’t open.  (It’s a fire exit and it used to open by pushing the bar, but so many residents kept opening it and setting the alarms off, it now has a special opening system, which only works when the alarms have gone off, the bar is useless).

I managed to distract him with a balloon, but he soon got bored and he headed off again to try the main doors, to see if he could get out of them.  In the end I took him to his own room and one of the carers brought him a drink, so I decided we should stay in his room, so I could sort through his wardrobe and drawers.  He sat in his chair, with his drink, eating some fudge and chocolate buttons which I gave him, looking out the window trying to work out how he was going to get over the fence. Whilst I hung his clean clothes up etc and sorted out all the items in his wardrobe and drawers that weren’t his, which was quite a few actually.  There were also some other items which dad must have picked up and squirreled away, a domino piece, a purse, a couple of belts, books, a place mat and a spoon.  I returned them all to the staff.

I also charged dad’s shaver whilst I did this, I don’t think the staff use it much as they seem to give him a wet shave more often than not, but it’s there as a back up.

I noticed the chocolate was going down quite fast, so I put a few more on the table in front of him, for him to eat.  However, I found out he wasn’t actually eating them, he was picking them up and putting them in his drink, yuk! It really is like dealing with a child sometimes, you just can’t turn your back for a minute.

Monday 7th January 19 – I’m finding it hard

I admit it, I am finding it really hard visiting dad at the moment and although I want to go and see him, I find within 10 minutes I’m wanting to come away, especially if there is nobody else to talk to, like staff or other residents.  The problem is that I’m finding dad’s poor communication skills so difficult to deal with. We tend to sit in silence for quite a bit of the time, if he’s talks to me it makes little sense and when I to talk to him, he doesn’t understand, so it’s like talking in different languages.

At least today he was sat down in the dining room, drinking a cup of coffee and later I went to get him some chocolate from his room and I made him another coffee, which he drank.  He also really enjoyed the chocolate, at least it puts a smile on his face.

When visiting dad on Saturday, it isn’t so bad, because my husband comes with me, so we can talk to each other and try to make dad feel included in the conversation. He was sat in the lounge when we arrived on Saturday, in front of the TV and a cookery programme was on, so we tried to talk to him about it but he just didn’t understand, he just looked unimpressed.

He’d had his hair cut on the Friday and his hair was all spiked up and it looked pretty good, so we tried to talk to him about that, but again he just looks at us blankly. Even when I touched his hair and said it’s been cut, he didn’t understand, I think probably because he has no memory of it being cut.

The staff joked that I should get a job there on Saturday, because when I walked into the dining room taking dad’s cup in there to be washed. They were having some problems with one of the residents, I think he wanted to go home and he was shouting and starting to get a bit aggressive.  As I was walking out, he grabbed my arm and asked if I knew him and he wanted to hold my hands.  Steve the nurse and Jim the carer both stepped forward to intervene, but I said it was OK and I held his hands and told him I knew him and said his name and I told him mine, I then talked quietly to him and asked him if he was ready for his lunch and we talked about what he liked to eat and what I liked and then I got him to sit down at the table and settle. I then told him what I usually say to my dad which is I had some shopping to do, so I had to go, but I would be back and he was happy to accept that.  Both Steve and Jim thanked me and said do you want a job.  I laughed.

It’s OK to spend a short time there and talk to the residents, but to spend a 12 hour shift with them and have to deal with all the personal hygiene things and aggression, I just couldn’t do it, I think people who can, deserve a medal.

 

 

Wednesday 2nd January 2019 – Happy New Year (blues)

When I visited dad this morning, he was in a proper strange mood, he barely acknowledged me when I arrived and just proceeded to walk around the dining room and just stop and stare at things.

He was also like a magician and he kept producing biscuits out of his pocket.  A carer made him a cup of tea, but he wouldn’t even hold the cup, never mind drink from it and I couldn’t get him to sit down, he just wasn’t interested.  If I could say it was possible, dad just seemed bored and really fed up, I got the impressions he just wasn’t impressed with where he was, maybe Christmas has unsettled him in some way or he’s got the New Year blues.

Jan, one of the carers tried to get dad to help her clean up, as he likes doing this sometimes, but this morning he just didn’t seem to understand or want to do anything, apart from stare into space.

I stayed about a hour, I couldn’t see the point in staying any longer, I just couldn’t get him to engage with me, so I left before lunch arrived, I now wonder if he fed himself or if one of the carers had to feed him.

Monday 31st December 2018 – Christmas & New Years Eve reflections (Dementia)

Well it’s certainly been a quiet Christmas for us, I read my post again which I wrote on Christmas Eve and realised there was so many things I wanted to say in that post but didn’t.  It was disappointing that dad was asleep when we visited and I think that is what took over my emotions when I wrote it.

Christmas day for us was strange not having dad with us, but in some ways it was also quite relaxing not having to worry about anyone else or having to go out in the car to pick dad up and then later take him home.  Being able to relax and have a drink was a strange concept, especially also having no time constraints and planning what order we had to do things.  It was 3pm by the time we ate, then after we played some board games, which we haven’t been able to do for a few years.

We visited dad on Boxing day (Wednesday 26th Dec)  and he looked well and he was very cheerful. Not seeing us on Christmas day had made no difference to dad.  He’d received his presents from us and he’d also received a couple of other presents, I presume from the care home, the care home staff had written dad’s name on them in case they got mixed up. The staff said they had all had a good day.

We had bought him a lovely soft dressing gown, some chocolates and I gave him a picture frame with the photos of when he was in the army.  I think if anything he was really pleased to see that as it certainly sparked some memories for him, because when he looks at it, he starts to swear and gets a bit aggressive trying to explain what he did with his rifle, lol.  We didn’t buy him anything else mainly as we have found over the last couple of years dad doesn’t like being overwhelmed with too many things to open, mainly as he doesn’t really understand what the gifts are for.

My tip for anyone who buys gifts for someone with Dementia, always keep things as simple as possible, if you have bought a few smaller gifts, rather than wrap them individually, leave them unwrapped but put them in a small box together and just wrap the box for them to open.

We also visited dad on Saturday afternoon and again he looked well and was quite talkative, although what he was saying made no sense.  My husband kept saying to me to ask him a question, but when I did ask something simple, he would just say words randomly ignoring my question.  The cat that lives in the care home, kept getting his attention, so there was no way he could even try to listen to me. If there is one thing I could ask or wish for is still to be able to have a conversation with dad that makes sense, not being able to do that is one of the things I miss and the hardest thing to cope with.

Reflecting now on the past year, it makes me realise how much has changed.  This time last year dad was still at home and even though we were having no end of problems with him going out at all times of the day or night to visit the bank he still had his independence and in a fashion managed his home and we could still have a simple conversation or at least make him understand some things. It was hard for us, but for dad he was happy in the comfort of his own familiar little world.

Last Christmas was certainly different to this one and a lot more stressful (for us).  Reading last years Christmas post makes me think how on earth did we cope.

In January I finally got dad’s Kitchen roof fixed and chimney replaced after years battling with dad to let me get someone to fix it.  Then at the end of January  I discovered dad was burning himself on his electric fire.  This was the key moment for agreeing with Social Services that dad needed to be in a care home.  Just over 2 months later (April 13th) I was taking dad to ‘visit’ his new home and leaving him there, then after reaching crisis point in that home within a couple of weeks, less than a month later I was taking him ‘out for lunch’ to his now permanent care home (9th May) and in June dad was awarded CHC funding.  August dad’s house went up for Sale and sold in just over a week and at the beginning of November we finally handed the keys over and I said goodbye to my family home for good.

The changes in dad’s Dementia have also been quite dramatic this year too.  He’s totally lost the ability to communicate, he has no short or long term memory, he has no memory of his home or family and friends, however, he still recognises me as a familiar face. He’s become doubly incontinent, he’s unable to dress and undress himself and sometimes feed himself, he’s gained almost a couple of stone in weight and his mobility has slowed, he’s also now on medication to calm him.  Saying all that dad is still pretty healthy, it’s just his brain that has let him down. 😦  I do wonder though if these changes would have been so dramatic if dad had still been allowed to remain in his own home.  It probably would have been me needing a care home, lol.

Thank you for reading my posts and your comments this past year, writing this blog has helped me keep focused and sane at times and I’m sure I will look back at this blog in years to come and be thankful that I have preserved these memories of my dad, good or bad.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year for 2019.  Here’s to many more memories being recorded.

Take care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday 24th December 18 – Christmas Eve

We all went to visit dad this afternoon, my husband, two sons and me, but dad was ASLEEP!!

We took dad’s presents and we wanted to wish him a Merry Christmas, but he wasn’t for waking up, he was well away.  So we left his presents to be opened tomorrow.  It looked like there was quite a few presents left for other residents, so at least they can all open them together.

We won’t be seeing dad on Christmas Day, this will be the first time in my whole life I will not have seen dad and spent Christmas Day with him, but it’s only me that knows and understands this and feels guilty about it, for dad it’s just a day like any other day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE

Wishing you all a joyful and relaxing day

Saturday 22 December 18 – talkative

Dad was fully awake and talkative this morning when we visited him and he looked very well.  He was holding a cup of tea but he was a bit confused by the shadows and lights he could see reflected in the tea.  He kept trying to stick his fingers in the cup and pull the ‘shadow’ out, lol!  Nothing could persuade him that there was nothing inside the cup apart from tea and there was nothing wrong with it.

He seemed to want to tell me something and I think it was something he wasn’t happy about, but I couldn’t really grasp what it was,  it went along the usual lines of ‘it’s daft, men are trying to do some work, they keep moving him etc.’  I just try to go along with him and agree with him and ask him open questions, but he doesn’t understand.

I told him I went to a Christmas party last night with my friends, I said I went dancing and I pretended to dance to show him what I mean’t, he laughed, so he might have understood.