Yesterday is the day I finally moved my father into a nursing home. 10 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer, 6 years after my mother died and him living on his own for better and for worse in various places, it was time for someone to take care of him better than we can.
He had been previously living in an assisted living center, basically free but with meals provided and some basic services… but it was turning out to be not enough. He would go wandering around at night, opening other peoples’ doors to their living-rooms, stealing stuff, getting aggressive, climbing out of windows and walking around on the flat roof, walking into the village and getting lost, not showering, not cleaning his teeth, not changing clothes, doing strange messy things with food, and the list goes on.
I was approached by the living center last December that his interaction with others was becoming a real problem and it would be better to put him to a nursing home (a closed setting) where professionals can take care of him.
Yesterday was the day of moving him and a very few things (such as a chair) to the new place. It’s pretty far away from where we live (62 km), but for this short notice, good enough. The moving itself went alright, better than I thought it would. An assistant helped me wake him up and dress him while I was busy getting his clothes and other things into the car. On the way he was half-asleep most of the way (except for one short exciting moment when he released the seat belt – niets gebeurt).
At the new place, we first had an intake with a few questions, and of course the actual move-in itself. During which Ron walked around a bit and tried to find his bearings. For sure, it is still too early for the questions, such as “Where am I?” and “How long do we stay here?” and “When can we go back home?”. I expect that will take a few weeks or months for him to settle in. Also he needs to share the bathroom with another person, which will probably be a bit strange for him (as he used it while I was putting some furniture together, but went out through the other door… hope that works better at night time).
I didn’t hear from the nursing home (no news is good news, right?), but I will be going up there on Thursday afternoon to talk to his new doctor – I expect Ron will be also be starting to ask the usual questions.
Generally, he seemed to be settling in. Already he was sitting with the other people in the common room for a morning tea/coffee, so they made him feel welcome there (For me that was also a good time to slip out). I will bring him some things for distraction on Thursday (e.g. magazines, perhaps another CD with classical music etc), but not sure that is really effective to let him calm down a bit.
They have an interesting program including physiotherapy, which might be suitable for him (perhaps 3 – 4 times per month) as he is still mobile and it might be interesting to do something different than his usual odd stuff and wandering around. Might also channel his aggression. Perhaps Yoga!?!