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BONONSENSE Posts: 553
4/19/12 11:51 P

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You have been on my mind as I wondered how your visit was. Children are the best therapy, and it sounds as though the twins made your Dad happy. The picture frame sounds great. When I worked on the alzheimers' unit we would encourage families to provide photos with information as to who was in each picture. It not only allows the resident to look at his family, but also helps staff stimulate conversation and memories. Often times the photo albums would get lost, so your idea of the electronic frame is perfect.

I applaud your realistic acceptance of the nursing home. Our Mom sleeps so much during the day, refusing to join activities, which many of them do. I volunteer one morning a week to assist the activities staff in coaxing the residents to join group activities. It is really difficult to persuade the men, though, to leave their rooms unless food is being served. I always bring treats for them, which gets them out for a few minutes. If the activity is interesting they will stay, even if it is to watch. Like you, we are happy that Mom is eating well, taking her meds regularly, and receiving better care than we could provide at home.

Edited by: BONONSENSE at: 4/19/2012 (23:52)
PETUNIAPIG's Photo PETUNIAPIG Posts: 428
4/19/12 4:15 P

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Hi all - I'm back from my trip and it went better than I expected thankfully.

It was very hard to see my dad in this condition (I haven't been home for a year). I started crying within the first hour - it was so heartbreaking!

It seems he has gotten past the begging/demanding to go home phase. Although it is obvious he hates it there. He kept saying over and over how terrible it is there and how the others are "a** holes". Most of the time when he requested to go home it was jokingly, like "any room in your car?"

He really loved seeing the twins and we got some great photos. When we left on the first day he told my mom, "make sure to bring those kids back!" He also asked about them just yesterday during a visit with my mom. I wish he could see them more often.

He never said my name, but I think at times he knew who I was. It was strange to see within an afternoon's visit how he would be "with it" and then "lose it" all within a short span.

I had one of the electronic photo frames installed on his wall. I uploaded about a 100 pictures from past and near present. My uncle had digitally scanned B&W pictures from his childhood and younger days and I put them on the photo frame. It just keeps changing the photo every couple seconds. Unfortunately he doesn't even notice it. If anything it is a conversation piece for visitors or the nurses.

His activity level is nearly nonexistant. He does not have any interest in any of the social activities (bingo, cooking, coffee hour, etc.). The nurses say he pretty much just sleeps all the time except for meals/snacks. They really have to urge him to get out of the room.

It is sad he has to live there but this is best for him - he is eating very well, is warm, clean and getting his meds regularly.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." -- Joseph Addison


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SLIMCRUISER Posts: 1,047
4/14/12 12:23 P

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Knittingnan,I am a family child care provider of MANY years and live next to an Alzheimer assisted living facility.The activities director and I became GREAT friends.... Every week I visit with the infants and toddlers in my program. The residents love to see the children....even nonverbal and "grumpy" residents come out of their shells! It is so wonderful to see. Several times over the years I have seen completely nonverbal patients have conversations with children using 2 or 3 word sentences!! (bring the ball...come here...stop that) It is amazing. I have always had the dream of opening an inter-generational program. The children love going as much as the elders love seeing us.

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BONONSENSE Posts: 553
4/12/12 3:10 P

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Your comments and support have already helped me in talking more empathetically to my Husband about his Mom. He has no other family support members available to assist in makng decisions or relieving him of some of the burdens of the caregiving. Because of my many years of experience with this disease I guess I am rather matter-of-fact in addressing the behaviors.

My Mother-in-law was very strong-willed and actively involved in her church, family, and neighborhood. She was always the caregiver and handled things so well. So after her husband died we were shocked to notice subtle signs of dementia. Many of you mentioned observing the same behaviors in your loved ones. However,my dear Husband allowed her to continue making her own decisions until realizing that, even though she told him she was making meals and doing the laundry, we never found signs of either one being done. She'd greet us at the door wearing the same clothes for three or four days in a row and the food we bought her (which in the end were mostly microwave dinners) never disappeared. She would get so defensive and angry at us for interfering. Then we walked in on her in the process of fixing a meal. She had a bowl of cold soup with mandarin oranges floating in it, and she was frantically trying to find cereal to pour into the bowl. My Husband finally agreed that she needed to be moved out of her house.

Now that I am a family member, walking into an alzheimers' unit, the same one I worked in for 20 years, I find myself being very critical. For instance, Mom not only has an impaired memory, but also is slowly losing her vision and hearing. The combination has caused many problems for her. We were called at 10pm one night to inform us she was being moved to another alzheimers' unit because she climbed in bed with a male reident. They treated her like she was Hester The Molester. In fact, she couldn't see the room number, hear anyone's instructions where to go to bed, and was confused enough to think she was in bed with her husband. I was furious that they moved her to another unit, rather than document her impairrments being the cause of the incident. Her poor son, my Husband, was so embarrassed. It has been difficult for me to reassure my Husband that he should not feel guilty for placing his Mom in a nursing home. nor should he be embarrassed by her behavior.




JRAUTIO's Photo JRAUTIO Posts: 1,704
4/12/12 8:36 A

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KSROMAN: I have been snickering to myself about the lovely plum sweater your mom found to wear! We were marveling at the pair of jodphurs my mom showed up in one day! emoticon

~~Julie~~


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JRAUTIO's Photo JRAUTIO Posts: 1,704
4/12/12 8:34 A

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KNITTINGNAN! I am so happy to see you've joined our team and can lend your wisdom from both sides of the fence! I can only applaud ANYcaregivers, but especially those dealing with dementia patients. I don't think anyone could ever be compensated enough for the many demands of this job -- housekeeper, actress, nurse, disciplinarian, maid, babysitter, etc! I'm always awed watching the patience and creativity these remarkable caregivers come up with! I definitely want to watch the documentary you mention.

I'm sure your husband is in terrible shock with the changes in his mom. My mom was actually completely functional in her own condo (at a diminished capacity, of course, and we were there throughout the day) before we moved her. She totally refused to consider moving or having anyone in, so we were forced to make that decision and take action without her prior knowledge or agreement. I think it was Day 3 at the memory care facility when Mom had the crying, screaming, begging, meltdown that it sounds like your mother-in-law had. She threw herself on the floor sobbing and pleading and all 3 of us kids about lost it. I think that was the last time we saw any semblance of our real mom. Since then we have battled inappropriate behaviors, psych hospital stays, medication change after medication change etc. Probably the worst part is that she is no longer coherent, so this once-commanding, well-spoken woman can't even communicate when something is wrong or bothering her.

Such a heartbreak! Thank goodness you are equipped with the skills and knowledge to work with your m-i-l. Your hubby has to be comforted by that, at least! Thanks for joining our team and lending your expertise!

~~Julie~~


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BONONSENSE Posts: 553
4/11/12 11:50 P

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Hi! I just found this team, and am so relieved to see it. Two years ago I retired from working as an activities assistant on an alzheimers' unit in an Illinois nursing home. It was such a rewarding job, and I received extensive training to perform it well. Every day was a new experience when I arrived on the unit. It was so fun anticipating how I would be received and who I would have to be each day. PBS has a fantastic documentary, filmed entirely on an alzheimers' unit from the point of view of one of the female residents. You can find it by going to pbs.com, and specifically to Independent Lens.

Meanwhile, why I joined this team is because my Mother-in-law recently was placed in the nursing home and on the same locked unit where I formerly worked. This has been devastating to my husband, as she declined so quickly. He doesn't understand the change in behavior that occurs, not only from day-to-day, but also from minute-to-minute. He felt so guilty when she begged (demanded) him to take her home, saying she (at 95) would get a job and take care of herself. I had to use all of my skills to calm her.

Don't argue. Validate whatever they say by asking questions, making them feel that they are still able to make decisions (even if they are bad ones). I had Mom write out a grocery list and look in the want ads for a job, which was so overwhelming to her that she soon asked when dinner would be served. Of course, we had to endure tears and anger, which wasn't her personality at all.

The twins will definitely be therapeutic because children bring out the best behavior in alzheimers' and dementia patients. My daughter takes her two little girls to visit once a week. Lately Mom doesn't recognize them, but gets so happy to see children that she smiles and plays balloon volleyball with them. She also will sit and color with them. Ask the staff if there is an activity that will alleviate the tension of your visit if you do feel awkward.

As far as applying for public aid, the social service department should help you with that.

Good luck to you, and feel free to contact me for support.

KSROMAN's Photo KSROMAN SparkPoints: (0)
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4/11/12 2:05 P

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Julie's right. I had to give the staff a list of things missing from mom's room (2 pillows, her snack jars, etc.) when she was in the hospital and rehab. I even had to report that someone was sleeping in mom's bed and put toothpaste on her comforter while she was gone.

Then again I saw mom in a LOVELY dusty plum sweater that fit her perfectly and looked GREAT on her . . . it wasn't hers.



I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January.

Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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JRAUTIO's Photo JRAUTIO Posts: 1,704
4/9/12 8:42 A

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Oh, SLIMCRUISER... you made me think about a word of warning. I just want to let everyone know to be cautious what you take to leave with a parent at a care facility. Since our mom was "functional" before we moved her, we took most of her precious (to her) things to put in her room to make it more home-like. Although that was a good idea for the familiarity factor, we didn't think about some other things. Remember that other residents might wander in and out of each other's rooms and take things. Not that they are stealing; they just don't know the difference between what is theirs and someone else's. Many no longer have any boundaries. And, as I mentioned before, our mom suddenly had behavior issues. Not only did she have fits of violence which included throwing things, but she starting urinating in and on things (dresser drawers, tabletops, etc). Not just her, but some of her "visitors" had the same behaviors. Honestly, we had no idea things could have gotten so bad. Anyway... back to my original point -- don't things there if they are valuable or precious to you.

~~Julie~~


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SLIMCRUISER Posts: 1,047
4/7/12 12:30 P

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If you have any, bring some family pictures, and some of yourself as a teen or young adult. When we had my mom's 90th birthday we put together a slide show of pictures of her from childhood and high school and as a young parent. She LOVES looking at those pictures so much we put the originals in a photo album. She keeps it by her bed and looks at it every day! Pictures are a great way to connect. Not knowing what to expect IS nerve wracking....Good luck, and relax...he's your dad.

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JRAUTIO's Photo JRAUTIO Posts: 1,704
4/4/12 9:29 A

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I know how scary it is for those first visits! Our mom declined so drastically once we moved her that it was shocking. By Day 3 she had unheard of (to us) behavior issues and she could barely communicate anymore. She did give us problems when we were trying to leave, but the staff was really good about helping us get out. They are used to that -- since they knew there could sometimes be an issue, we got to where we could just catch their eye to let them know we were going to try to leave and they would work on re-directing Mom so we could 'make our escape'. We still have issues leaving sometimes (it's been 9 months). I still don't know whether it's better to just TELL her we are leaving and hope for the best or whether it's easier (on her as well as us) to just fade away and then disappear without calling her attention to it. Good luck with the visit -- let us know how it goes.

~~Julie~~


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KSROMAN's Photo KSROMAN SparkPoints: (0)
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4/2/12 1:17 P

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I hope it goes well for all of you.



I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January.

Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL's Photo SIMPLELIFE4REAL Posts: 9,709
4/2/12 12:23 P

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Depending on how far gone your dad is, it might be very possible he will not recognize you. I had to tell my dad who I was almost every day the last couple years of his life and he saw me daily. I think parents remember what their children look like from much younger years.

I hope things go well for you. It's a stressful time for sure.

Kay from Tennessee



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PETUNIAPIG's Photo PETUNIAPIG Posts: 428
4/2/12 11:59 A

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My dad has been in the nursing home for less than a month now. He lives in SD while I live in IL. My hubby and I will be taking the twins up to visit next week for the first time. I'm nervous if he he's having a good day he will beg to go home. And also nervous if he's having a bad day he won't even know me.

He has never met my twins and I don't expect him to know them. He will love seeing them, though, even though he may not know that they are his grandkids.

On top of all this I was told by the home that Medicare funding has ended and now I have to go through the fun of applying for Medicaid. This is all so stressful!

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." -- Joseph Addison


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