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I finally got my father, 90 years old, placed in an assisted living care. He seems to do OK. But he has these bouts where he tries to bully the staff to let him go back to Pittsburgh which is 8 to 9 hours away from where he is now on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My father is 6'4" and weighs 145 pound. He can be a very daunting subject when he starts waving his hands around and demanding things. The nursing staff do with him except when he gets like this they don't seem to know what to do and they call me. Now I speak to my father almost everyday on the phone and we go see him once a week. But when he calls me in a frantic mood and they ask me to try to calm him down, I feel that they aren't doing their job. Am I right about this? Or is this how it really works because it seems to just keep me very upset and it doesn't do him any good. My husband are Sr. Citizens too. We are tired. Advice please. Thank you


It sounds to me as though the facility is inadequately prepared to handle the situation and is diverting the burden onto you. This is probably something that ought to have been addressed as a potential scenario at the preliminary stage. I would expect a good facility to understand these things can occur and to be prepared by either having a protocol in place for handling these situations or by listing conditions that are not tolerated and grounds for non-admittance to the facility. The reality is that they clearly lack training to deal with this and are not accepting the responsibility. Your father needs some form of therapy which you are trying to provide. The facility might realize they should step up their training. Although difficult, the most practical solution may be to find a more suitable facility for your father.
It also sounds as though your dad needs to be seen by a geriatric psychiattist...are these periods of agitation occuring at a specific time of day? That can be what's called Sundowning. I'd make him an appointment asap.
Is this care home secure? Does dad have dementia? Many care homes are not staffed with people specialized in providing care to those with dementia. At the very least it sounds as if dad needs to see his geriatric specialist and probably a neurologist for a med adjustment. Also, if they are an ethical facility they would have talked with you about at what point they will ask your dad to leave because his care needs are too great. It sounds as if they are at that point, thus the reason for calling you.
Unless Dad is deemed a danger to himself or others, don't answer the phone right away. Call the director back in about 30 minutes and ask who was trying to call, is there a problem? He is new, needs time to adjust. He is new to them also, they should learn how to re-direct and distract the patient any day now.
Be available over the next five days, as you take time to talk again to the director to give instructions and permission to deal with him.
He may settle in very soon.
You were right to ask before they want him out of there. If it doesn't start working, you may have to send a temporary caregiver to tend just to Dad for awhile.
There is medication for Dad. Ask the doctor.
You will be okay!
Always check for sundowner's and UTI-urinary tract infection also. A huge issue in behavior problems.
Carol Ann; to answer the other part of your question, NO, this is not how it's supposed to work. When your parent is getting the right care, you can visit as a loving daughter and leave the hands on care to the caregivers. We only get calls if mom has fallen or is ill. We have a care meeting every 90 days where her needs, progress and changes are discussed.

How long has your dad been in the care home? If he's just gotten there, this kind of confusion is often seen and can usually be dealt with by re-direction by skilled staff. But, as I said previously, he may need meds for his agitation if it continues to be a problem. Not meds to "knock him out"....meds to ease the anxiety and agitation that is common in dementia that "something is wrong" and "I need to get to the place where they're expecting me and where I'm needed". You often hear of dementia patients trying to get "home" to feed the children, pick kids up from school, fix stuff at their job. Let us know how you are doing.

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