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OMG!!! I'm trying to stay patient in this situation, but I was NOT cut out for dealing with dementia. I get stressed VERY easily and I have little patience. This has been a test for both my father and me.


For the past week or so, I have to rearrange Dad's room every time I visit. He's got it in his head that he's moving or going somewhere, so he will literally take everything out of the closet and drawers in his room at the ALF and pile it in the floor.


The first couple of times I just told him today is not moving day and resentfully put everything back, but this will make the FOURTH time I've had to put things back. With two jobs and very little time, it gets very frustrating to have to rearrange his room every time I visit. I tried to leave it the last time it happened, and the ALF staff had to put him on extra oxygen because he tired himself out doing all of that moving. THEN the nurse questioned why I "let" Dad do that.


I didn't LET him do anything. He has it stuck in his head (typical dementia behavior) that he's going somewhere. Questioning him about it is futile because he has no idea where the thought originated. His sentence sounds like this "Someone said something about you and somebody moving something somewhere...." I'm NOT exaggerating. WTH does that MEAN?!?!?


ANYWAY, does anyone have any ideas of how I can get his mind off moving so I don't have to spend in excess of two hours putting things back or getting raised eyebrows from the ALF staff?


Dementia is hard enough ALONE, but when you add being legally blind AND COPD, It's catastrophic. Poor guy...

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Tinyblu, I am using tough love here..... the Staff isn't going to do the work, because you come over and do the work for them. The Staff now spends time with the other residents.

Actually from what I have read from your postings, you Dad does need Assisted Living. The spry older individuals live in Independent Living, and if they need some help, then they pay for the optional level of help. My own Dad did that.

I hope everything works out with the VA so it becomes a win-win for both you and your Dad :)
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Sadly, the ALF staff, though nice, doesn't really do more than give Dad his meds. They were really attentive at first, but a few meal refusals and they no longer remind him that it's meal time so Dad misses meals. In almost two months they can't manage to take two seconds to plug in his portable oxygen machine (Dad is legally blind and can't see to do it). It's either beeping loudly or completely empty when I visit. The staff also lets Dad ride around with the tank on his shoulder but turned off, and they don't change his trash on a regular basis. Their philosopy is "don't waste a trash bag if the person isn't incontinent."

I provide trash bags for them, but they don't change them. This is the same staff that TOLD Dad his shower curtain had fallen down in the bathroom, but didn't bother to put it back up. They're not going to do anything extra without getting paid, and I can't afford the extra fees, so until I can move him, I just grit and bear it.

Dad shouldn't be in AL. That's for spry older individuals that need limited help here and there. They try, but they're just not equipped to handle Dad's needs. I should have never moved him, I'm learning.

I have two months so I am in the process of trying to get all of the paperwork together to get VA Home Health Aides to visit Dad once I move him in addition to help from a trusted friend from my church who's a retired CNA that wants a few hours of week of work.

The downside of that is how much time it takes from my job. I'm not a huge fan of the VA, but that's all I have. It's SO time consuming to get all of this done and the VSO (Veteran's Service Organization) just gives me phone numbers.

Ugh... tough stuff.
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My mom does things like this when her meds aren’t right. Once the medication nurse (or someone) didn’t notify my dad that it was refill time and mom didn’t get her important med, the antipsychotic!

I’m not upset with the AL because people make mistakes, theirs was waiting until the last minute to try to notify my dad, who is deaf as a stone and forgets to charge his cell phone.
(Mom’s AL is a smaller (20 person) facility that offers a fabulous monthly price and good care generally but the family does the fetching of medication, trips to doctor appointments, and personal shopping for the patient)...

The staff puts her things back where they generally belong and about once a month, my daughter spends about three or four hours arranging the room to mom’s specifications. Once everything is arranged properly mom’s content, as long as she is taking her medication.

Things get all in a jumble from the aids helping the patient get dressed and putting away clean laundry they’ve washed for mom.

The worst experience so far was when my mom ‘stole’ my dad’s wallet and important papers! We were unable to get her admitted to the hospital! That was before mom went to AL. Ancient history...

I can remember there used to be these little gadgets that could be put on cabinet and drawer handles to keep toddlers from rummaging through everything. I wonder if those are still available. That might help.

He’ll stop doing that and begin doing something else soon, mom goes through phases.

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Kimber, above, makes a good point. Tinyblu, I think when the Staff knows that if Dad does something, you will quickly run to the facility and do their work.
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Why do you have to put everything back? What about the staff?
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Wanna hear something funny? Dad blamed his ex wife for moving his things this time. He said she sneaked into the room and pulled all of his clothes out of the closet. I couldn't help but laugh at that one!!

I know trying to figure out the "why" is futile, but I was hoping if I could pinpoint what he's connecting the moving to, I could divert his attention.

He had taken everything out of the closet and drawers and piled it up in the middle of the floor. I put it all back. Thankfully, he couldn't move the television. He said he tried, but it was "stuck" to the dresser.

Dad is definitely declining now. Curses to vascular dementia and the 60 years of smoking that I'm sure contributed to it!!!
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Tinyblu- I'm taking care of my mom who has dementia and I think you can drive yourself crazy asking why. My mom hung up her phone wrong a few days ago so it was off the hook for hours, and she blamed it on my dog, a shit-tzu. It doesn't make since. I don't know if there is anything you can DO to make him stop packing for a "move". But you CAN try to accept that it is happening and try to manage your stress.
When I want to cry or scream...sometimes I just laugh and that helps a lot. I wouldn't laugh at my mom in front of her but I call my sister and we share stories of what silly irrational thing has occurred, or been said, and we laugh together. It's better than crying and certainly better for your own health than getting angry.
When you can't change something- consider changing how you respond to it. This is something I tell myself every single day. I hope this helps you.
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Could you decrease his possessions so it’s not so hard on him ( and you)?
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Dear Tinyblu,

I know its extremely hard on you. And you are doing your very best. I'm a reactive person too and just want to fix it. But I fear this is sign your dad's dementia is escalating. And he probably needs different type of care environment.

I'm with you. I never understood some of the things my dad said or did towards the end. I felt like nothing I was doing was right. It was the vascular dementia taking a toll. And his body was shutting down but I couldn't see it.

I wanted to lend my support. Thinking of you. Sending you hugs.
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Tinyblu, didn't your Dad just moved to this new assisted living about 6 weeks ago? Could be he is reliving in his mind that he will be moving.

He really needs to be in Memory Care where the Staff understands what is going on, they see strange things daily thus won't be blaming him or you for certain things that he does.
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