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My dad moved into a skilled nursing facility several months ago, after 20 years of care at home due to a brain aneurysm. (He's now just turned 71). It was a very difficult decision for our family, but even with full time care at home he was having repeated falls and other wound care issues due to diabetes, his poor diet, and his overall sedentary lifestyle. (He hadn't left the house except for annual hospitalizations for over 10 years.) The skilled nursing unit he is in (which will likely be his permanent home, since he is unwilling to do any PT or make any changes to help him towards assisted living) is not a very big nor is it a private space. We did bring a few small things from home (a few photos, some plaques, and a few personal items). Recently he's been asking for more and more stuff from home, and it's been heartbreaking and we're not sure what to do. (Things like old model trains, CB radios, etc.) There's no place to put any more "things" in his room, and because of his condition he can't really use them anyway. (His dexterity is very poor, so he is unable to pick up the train by himself.) Of the few items we have brought him already, the nursing home has already said that he's caused problems because he is very territorial and screams at the cleaning staff when they try to dust around it. I feel very sad that my dad wants these things, but I don't know a nice way to tell him "no" so that he'll understand. I am completely empathetic, I understand his life has become very sad and his world has become very small, and really all he does all day is look back into his past and wants things from his past for comfort. He brings it up every time I visit, and has become more rude about it every time. Any suggestions?

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I was going to suggest something similar to lsmiami, try to find a small display case for his things ( a curio cabinet?) so they will not have to be moved or touched and change them once in a while.
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Take pictures of his stuff and use those to replace the stuff. Don't have him in the room when it is being cleaned.
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He will continue to ask, and you must continue to say no. He cannot turn on a CB radio in a small, shared space. Maybe you can ask to set up a small bookshelf an rotate some things....certainly not a complete running model train.
All I can suggest is you pray for patience before you enter. His world has become small and boring, I do understand that, unfortunately you cannot fix it.
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There is a nice way and a way that's compassionate and respectful and a way that doesn't require medicating your dad.

Your dad becomes upset when his things are handled. Can you put up an attractive sign that reads something like, "Please don't touch"? It doesn't have to be a big sign, just a sign that you can place on the wall over his items. Make it a decorative sign so it doesn't seem angry. You can even make a sign and address it to housekeeping. I wouldn't think the NH would have a problem with housekeeping not dusting a WWII model airplane (or whatever your dad has in his room). Families frequently put up signs for staff.

I'm assuming your dad doesn't have dementia since your profile only mentioned the nursing home. If he doesn't have dementia you'll have to explain to him that he can't have everything he wants from home in his room. But what if you periodically switched out things? Take that WWII model airplane (or whatever) out and put something else in its place. Kind of like rotating his things around regularly. Make it a surprise each time, something your dad can look forward to and anticipate. As long as he understands that you're trading things in and out and not just adding to.

When you go to visit your dad and you're empty-handed bring him a treat. A hot fudge sundae or some magazines. A nice, new shirt or some loose photos to share with him that you have laying around the house. Something that doesn't take up much space or cause your dad aggravation if moved. Get creative.

Let the staff know that you're working on this situation.

It's about providing your dad comfort. That's what he gets from his possessions and if you can provide him comfort without bringing in everything but the kitchen sink he might not remain so territorial and unyielding on his objects.
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There is no nice way. But you need to medicate behaviors or they can't keep him there. Talk to the Head Nurse and resolve the issue before they send him to a memory care/psych unit.
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