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Yesterday was a bad day visiting my dad in his nursing home. There aren't a lot of bad days, but when they happen they can really knock me down. And I never know quite how to react or handle things.


He generally seems very content there. He has favorite aides and favorite nurses (though I'm realizing now this may be part of the problem... that nobody can measure up to the favorites) and likes the activities.


But yesterday... it was like a 'got up on the wrong side of the bed' situation.


He was mad that nobody got him up until 10:05, which is not uncommon for bath/shower days (even when his favorite daytime aide is there), and even phrased it as "I didn't see another living soul until 10:05." Then he complained that the aide asked him at 11:05 if he wanted to go to the exercise, which seemed to offend him greatly because they would be almost over. Then he told my mom and I that "Nurse Ratched" blew him off when he asked about why he hadn't gotten anything for his hand (which the doctor had looked at), told him he needs to wear his hand brace type thing more (he has contracture of his left hand), and walked away before he could say anything more. Then he both complained that the "subpar staff" doesn't know how to put the brace on (except for his favorite aide) and said that he doesn't want to wear it much because it's uncomfortable.


It turned out that everything he'd told us the doctor had said she was going to do for his hand (ointment for an ingrown nail, which the first nurse had told him it might be) was actually what he assumed she'd do. Because yesterday he said she hadn't said ointment at all, that she had said something about fungus and wearing his brace.


So it's like he decide what the problem is and how to fix it and is now upset that it is not being fixed that way, probably because it's not actually the problem, and he wants my mom and I to do something about that. And what are we even supposed to do?


I'm sorry to go on so long like that but... if anybody has advice for enduring the bad days and keeping patient and calm and doing the right thing... I'm all ears!

feeling; Okay. Thank you and I did see that others had asked that- dementia.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I can also relate to what you are experiencing. I would often drive home from the Memory Care Facility after my visit with Mom, who passed on Dec. 23, in tears and just uncontrollable crying. I sometimes would cut my visit short because I just couldn’t beat the abusive treatments and moods from my mom. Then on my next visit she would be a totally different person, so I valued those times instead. Everyone would say it was the Dementia talking, but it still hurts and is frustrating. God Bless!
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Reply to Lala1958
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I can tell you what I do: I gather my facts, take them to the right people, and check to see that things are handled well.

But at the same time -- or, actually, before that -- I take these hurts to God--I rely on my faith a lot. I know that I can't always be in the facility to watch over my dear one, so I ask God to do it. I am a Christian, so I believe that God hears and cares, and can do ALL things. I pray for the patient ("Lord, please give them the right care, please give them your protection, please give them your peace and contentment, let them know they are in good hands, and in Your hands") I also pray for the staff -- that God give them tender hearts, willing hands, a sense of true compassion.

Having a loved one in a facility -- or BEING a loved one in a facility -- can be so hard, in my opinion, only my faith in God's ability to intercede gives me hope and peace about it all. May God bless you.

OH-- and one more thing! I suggest that you take comfort in knowing that YOU are doing all that you can do to ensure that your dear dad is in good hands. You are visiting, and listening, and caring, and advocating -- and these are HUGE works of mercy and goodness. You can take peace in knowing that you are walking alongside of him in this hard time.
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Reply to ConcernedSisA
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Feelinglost8

My Dad complained about everything in his facility.
At first I believed it but quickly found most of it not true. He was refusing to get up. The staff left him to sleep longer , then he said they did not wake him. The next time he would say he was made to get up at 6am which was untrue. He managed to do fairly good in dementia tests.
One GP said he may have frontal lobal dementia!! which occurs in early onset. Fast forward he got brain scan. Established brain damage due to 2 fairly major strokes in the past. Damage at front lobe. So he has vascular dementia.
iMoods still up and down. Now leave if bad day. I don’t take up any of complaints. Just say I will check with nurse on way out. He forgets by next time. It’s not easy. I prepare for worst at visits. If good day it’s a bonus. Stay strong.
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Reply to Patience13
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feeling: Darn. I apologize. I was afraid this might happen, but when I saw that someone else used the dementia word I chimed in.
Truly sorry.
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feelinglost8 Feb 15, 2020
No need to apologize, Llamalover. You're absolutely fine. I do realize that it still could be that, be some form of dementia. One nurse said the more tired he is, the more confused he seems. And I experienced that before he went there and while he's been there. I don't know if that's a sign or a symptom of anything. And a hospitalist did mention something about NPH but a neurosurgeon said he didn't think it was that, because of how rare that is but said there was a three day test that could be done. The doctor at the NH (who has been there since the late 1980s, I believe, and cared for two of my great-aunts and my grandfather... so she's someone we know and trust) basically told us "what you see is what you get" until something goes wrong. And I think I'm learning to accept that.

But you're absolutely fine in what you said. Someone pointed out I didn't have a bio written in my profile and I know the story I told sounds like possible dementia things, so it was a perfectly fair assumption to make. Please don't be sorry.
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I like what GardenArtist has to say. If there are solutions or even possible solutions to suggest to him it may put his mind at ease. He is like anyone else who needs to have a sympathetic ear from time to time.

Of course, certain things that are perhaps not all that important, apparently are important to him, including his favorite people.

Don’t we all have favorites once in awhile? I am not overly picky but I have to say there was one particular person who was very good at drawing my blood in the hospital when I needed continual lab work.

She told me to ask for her. We clicked. She had enormous compassion for me going through fertility issues because her sister went through issues too. She understood and I felt comfortable with her. So, I would cut your dad some slack on this, especially since he rarely complains.

We all have off days periodically. If something isn’t a pattern I can handle it. It’s the chronic day to day annoyances that gets to me.

You are very considerate of his feelings to care about how he feels. Yes, it is disturbing to see him upset.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Dementia is in control of his mind, not him. Remind him what the doctor says and he is to abide by it - IF his mind lets him.
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feelinglost8 Feb 14, 2020
He's never been diagnosed with any sort of dementia. In fact, the NH staff has said he does very well on all their cognitive evaluations. And my mom has asked numerous people, numerous times about dementia (more to be reassured than because she thinks he has it.) One nurse said the more tired he is, the more confused he can seem to be. And he was tired the day I originally posted.
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A previous writer had mentioned the parent’s actions were due to them not having control of their life. It is typical of a toddler without the means for acceptable expression of thoughts.
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Reply to Grandcaravan
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My dad is in a Nursing Home for Rehab. currently after breaking his arm in two places and right before surgery to fix the broken bones he suffered a heart attack. When I visit him, he constantly complains about how horrible it is in the facility. I feel so devastated when I leave. In fact, last night I was up all night thinking about him and how miserable he must be.

What I then thought was I put him there to help him; not hurt him. I would do anything for my father. I think deep down inside he knows that but, it's so hard seeing him like this. It tears me up completely and I totally understand your feelings.

I would say just hang in there...know he's there for all the right reasons and support and love him as much as you are doing. That's all we can do at this point, right?

I'll be praying for you.
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Reply to Billiegoat
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feelinglost8 Feb 14, 2020
Thanks so much for this, Billiegoat, your words really hit home. And I am so sorry for what you're going through as well. I hope your dad's rehab goes well.

I often think about what the guy who managed my dad's IRA told me when all this started, that he had a client who told him that he was going to try to get his mother out of the NH she was in because she kept telling how unhappy and miserable she was. He told the client to try and remember that nobody 'wants' to be there, but that they wouldn't let a person be there if they didn't 'need' to be there.

And my dad needs to be there, and right now yours does too.

Maybe this is us taking care of them the best we can, just like they took care of us the best they could.
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Play a bit of a mind game, with yourself: you know when you're going, and plan something to look forward to after, or even further in the future. Even take out food, putting your feet up, watching a TV show...because you do deserve a treat.
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Reply to robinr
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If there is one thing I've come to realize is that you'll never win in an argument with your parent who has dementia. Trust me on this one folks. I've been told off, broken up with, called names, some really interesting ones too. LOL. Some time I feel I could write a book on things my mom says that have made me laugh out loud. I've heard it all. And I know some of you all have too. Sometime feel like a the victim of a firing squad. But I keep going back, you know why, because eventually she will not be saying anything, even more of a shell than she already is. I want to cherish all moments I have left good or bad. So rain or shine I walk in with a coffee, donut and tough skin just waiting for the adventure of the day. Keep a smile on your face, trust in the knowledge that your dad loves you, you know that, and separate what he says from the person you know him to be.
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Reply to DarleneRoy
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I just say to myself that I am glad he is being well cared for and I don't have to deal with it on a daily basis.
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Reply to balababe
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If he is grumpy for no legitimate reason, just leave and come back another day.
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Reply to HelloImMinsu
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Seems he likes, needs, control over his circumstances. When you visit and it is a "bad day", try offering him appropriate choices - choice of beverage, choice of place to visit in, choice of activity... He may also get more attention from his favorite staff that the others can not offer on the "bad day": less staff than usual (illness and vacations happen to staff to), staff that are not familiar with him, emergencies with other residents that throw off the schedule. If he seems grumpy, talk to a staff member to see if one of these are the problem. Maybe he can adjust if he knows that today is a difficult day for everybody.
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Reply to Taarna
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feelinglost8 Feb 14, 2020
Good advice! That has actually worked a couple times, having him hear what the day has been like for everybody else. One aide was incredibly apologetic to him about a late start to the day so, in front of him, I asked how many residents she was covering (it was 10, because of a call off, with 3 showers) and she ended up talking so much that we found out that the state (PA) says an aide can have up to 18 residents on a shift. My dad ended up deciding he's got it pretty good, that day.
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I can completely empathize with you! Those bad days really knock us back but I've come to realize that it's different every day and continue to hope that the next visit will be a good one.

When my Mom is having a bad day, I try to distract her with things she enjoys talking about like the grandkids or the dogs. I come up with funny stories that she will laugh at and that seems to help dissipate the agitation or anxiety. I also try to time my visits with a meal so I can eat with her. That is usually enough of a distraction to move her beyond whatever is bothering her.

It's easy to get caught up in the issue(s) of the day and difficult to decide which ones are real and which ones aren't. I try to independently figure that out but am not always successful. I know the facility will call me if there's something I really need to know about so if I haven't received a call, it's probably not as bad as it sounds.

You are obviously a caring child and that's what really matters. I've learned from Mom that she won't remember the conversations or words but she always remembers how she feels. Continue to be there with a hug and sympathetic ear then hope tomorrow will be a better day!
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Reply to AvaC42
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Your profile doesn’t give us any information about your dad. Does he have some dementia? If so, like my dad, they often get things confused as to the timeline. Also getting impatient is part of it. Sometimes they feel such a lack of control over anything that it brings up the anger and anxiety.
you will have these bad days with him and if it’s something you can actually help solve, then do so. But if you know it’s something you can’t, just acknowledge what they say and don’t argue or reason. My stock saying is "I'm looking into it' or "I'll check on it for you" and then I change the subject to divert. That seems to satisfy him. Once you get used to doing that it gets easier and you will see that it works. When my dad is in a bad mood, I make up an excuse so I can leave.
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Reply to Harpcat
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I always say “When she’s good, I cry as I’m driving home, and when she isn’t good I cry as I’m driving home”.

On a really REALLY bad day, I usually say that one of the grandkids needs to go somewhere so I have to go. She loves them, so I usually get a reasonably peaceful exit. Doesn’t make me feel any better but I pretend I’m a grown up and try to look brave.
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Reply to AnnReid
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I would list all his issues, ask him what he thinks should have been done and tell him you'll see what you can do.  That's why I always carried legal cap with me on my visits, to take notes on literally everything, including the need for problem solving. 

Then try to meet with the staff to discuss what happened or what didn't, and how the issues can be addressed in the future.     He does have certain rights, and sometimes staff can work out problems when he feels those rights have been denied.

It may also be that it was a bad day for him, in which case I would spend more time with him, change the subject to something positive, and try to leave on that tone, with his knowing as well that you'll see what you can do.

That's what I did - try to resolve the problem that day, and present the solutions to Dad so he didn't end the day anticipating more problems.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Does Dad have Dementia/ALZ? If so, this is the desease. I doubt if they waited to wake him up till 10am. The shift starts at 6 or 7. People are gotten up, dressed and taken to breakfast. Maybe they woke him up and he wouldn't get out of bed so the aide went to the next resident.

If Dad has a Dementia, I would take what he says with a grain of salt. This is what "he" believes. Don't disagree with him.
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