This started about a month ago. Dad is 88.5 yrs old, in a wheelchair and down to less than 145 pounds. Some how he removes the fire extinguishers from the walls and one time pulled the pin and was spraying all over the floor. These are large fire extinguishers so for now they have been removed from the two exits he is at the most. His routine is to wheelchair walk to an exit and stare out the door. He never was a fireman, or in a fire. His AL doesn’t know what to do. About this same time he started carrying a blanket, or a pillow in his lap. This is not consistent behavior though. It occurred to me to try either hang something red or something else in that location to see his response. Any ideas would be helpful.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I understand, my dad also had these behaviors at the Nursing Home.
Dad thought he owned and managed the building and called the city and his old
employees in an attempt to have the trees chopped down. He stared at the trees
out the window and decided they had to go. We always agreed with him to keep him calm.
Helpful Answer (1)

This really surprises me, not b/c of his behavior, but b/c the place hasn't upgraded to automatic sprinklers, which has been the case in the rehab units which I chose for Dad for the last several years.

Yes, it's mandatory and precautionary to have units in the room, but if those are the only units, that means that someone has to activate them in the event of a fire. This could leave a gap in coverage and activation, especially if a fire occurred at night when the patient was sleeping. I'm sure though that there's some kind of alarm system? Is there another backup system to detect fires?

That might have been one of your father's concerns.

With automatic sprinkler systems, there are detection methods to activate w/o someone using an extinguisher.

During my father's last rehab syncing into hospice, on his first day there he observed that the placement of the sprinklers would only cover a certain area of the room. He had analyzed how the water would be sprayed, and the approximate radius it would cover. Once he explained his theory, I realized he was right.

Perhaps it was planned that way though, as the sprinklers should have a great enough spray radius that the patient would be in that circle of spray, but the short "hallway" in the room as well as the bathroom would not have been in that spray radius. Then the question would arise whether any staff could get through the short doorway from the corridor to the patient or the patient would be trapped in the room until the fire department arrived.
Helpful Answer (1)

At one nursing home that I worked at, we had a little old lady (in her 80's and CUTE as a little girl) who would pull the FIRE ALARMS. Of course, that activated the automatic alarm at the fire station, and of course, the firemen were required to come to the nursing home (even at 3 AM). When the firemen arrived, this cute little old lady would snuggle up to one of the firemen and smiling lovingly into his eyes. We finally had to put clear plastic boxes around the alarms and hide a key on top of the box so that anyone (who is authorized) could open the lock and pull the fire alarm.

Like Ahmijoy, I am concerned that no one noticed what your Dad was doing. Having said that, if this occurred during a busy time such when the nursing staff was having to toilet other residents or were in other residents' rooms doing cares, then I can see how your Dad could have gone unsupervised for a length of time.

I do find it curious that the "AL doesn’t know what to do." I wonder if they are trying to put the responsibility of controlling your Dad in your lap? Why? If the AL staff think hard enough, they can come up with solutions. Is your Dad needing more physical care than what the AL staff usually offers? Maybe your Dad needs to go to a Nursing Home Memory Care Unit and not to another Assisted Living facility?
Helpful Answer (0)

Obsession is a big part of Alzheimer’s/dementia. My mother’s roommate carried around a baby doll all the time. My mother had so many obsessions I lost count.

It does concern me, though, that your dad was unobserved for so long that he was able to lift a heavy fire extinguisher off a wall above his head, ferjiggle around with it long enough to pull the pin and spray the contents around. You said the AL is stumped as to what to do. Perhaps he needs more supervision? I’m sure that now they know what he’s capable of, they’ll keep a closer eye on him.
Helpful Answer (4)

It appears he has gone back to his childhood years. The extinguisher is his way of having fun. Maybe a toy fire extinguisher may peak his interest.
Helpful Answer (1)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter