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Notes from the nursing home

Dad hates it in the nursing home. He says it's worse than prison, and he wishes he were dead. I understand why he would say that; he can't get off the ward, so is forced to spend his days in the communal area, where the home's inhabitants all sit around without speaking. There's a bird cage, but none of them seem to pay the parakeets and budgerigars any attention. He's lost his reading glasses, but even if he had them, there aren't any books to read; and for someone like him who used to smoke like a chimney, it must be very hard to only be allowed one cigarette an hour.

I spoke to one of the nurses. She says he spends most of his time lying on his bed. I think it's out of boredom, but Dad says it's because he can't sleep; the man in the bed next to him makes too much noise. "I told him, one more peep out of you and I'll beat you to a pulp" -- hardly the kind of attitude to win him any friends, and definitely not the kind of threat the staff take lightly. They've already complained to my mum, and he's only been there 6 days!

It's early days yet; perhaps he will settle in later. If he doesn't, as awful as it may sound to say it, perhaps he really would be better off dead.


( 24 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
May. 24th, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)
Oh Sweetie!

Study after study shows how hard it is for men to adjust to nursing homes - not that it is so easy for women either. But that loss of independence is so very hard.

Sometimes it really helps if they find a friend. I would imagine that is hard also - women outnumber men so much in nursing homes. I sure hope he finds someone to talk to ....
May. 24th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
But that loss of independence is so very hard.

The problem with Dad is that he hasn't been coping with any kind of semi-independence for quite a while now, and it's gotten to the point where he really can't be left to his own devices anymore. Having said that, it broke my heart to see him so despondent today. I'd like to see him make an effort, because really that's the only way forward for him now.
May. 24th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
I know what it is like to worry about a parent who can't take care of themselves independently. The guilt of not being able to 'so' everything for them, and the worry because they really become a danger to themselves.

Unfortunately, it always seems like some dire event precipitates the nursing home lock down. I'm terrified one of my Parents is going to fall down a flight of step, because they still insist on living in the big house with the stairs to the bedrooms. They refuse to downsize or even discuss a more senior friendly environment - and when they get to the point where they can't drive they will be even more isolated.

Getting old is not for sissies.
May. 24th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
I really hope, for you and your parents, that they will never have to go into a home, but can stay in their own environment and together until the very end.
May. 24th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
New reading glasses, a supply of books and magazines, a CD player, headphones and some music he likes .

Those would be my priorities right now because there's nothing worse than boredom and it sounds deadly boring!
May. 24th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I got the glasses and the books sorted out (though to be honest, he doesn't really read anymore: he just goes over the same page again and and again and at the end of it, still doesn't know what he's read, but he seems to like going through the motion of it still), but Dad's never cared much for music...though perhaps now's the perfect time for him to start. Good idea, I'll look into it!
May. 24th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
Or books on CD perhaps? The headphones would certainly help with the noisy roommate
May. 24th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Audiobooks! Now why didn't I think of that? Now all I need is to find a cassette- or cd-player that he can operate easily (he can't use his left hand since the last stroke, and tends to break things when they present him with any difficulties).
May. 24th, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
There are adapted CD players available but they tend to be pricy, maybe something with a simple remote control would work? And the staff could help with changing discs
May. 24th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
I'd keep an eye open for depression. Both my parents were in clinical depression in the Home. We treated it and it helped. It didn't change their situation, but they suffered less.
May. 24th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
There's going to be an assessment in a few weeks. We'll see how he does then.
May. 24th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
That's no good. Here's hoping things improve.
May. 24th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)

I wish there could have been another solution, but this, for him, is the end of the road. The care home won't have him back, and the only other option would be that I take him in...and I'm not prepared to do that. It would mean giving up my job, my home (as Dad can't manage the stairs) and my life...and I'm sorry, but I just can't see myself doing that.
May. 24th, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
Oh God. I can understand his anger and frustration.
May. 25th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
As can I, which doesn't help my own feelings of guilt, anger and frustration any...
May. 25th, 2009 08:50 pm (UTC)
oh yes, I didn't mean to imply there was no difficulty for you... I feel for all of you.
May. 24th, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
Oh dear - I hadn't thought of 'ward' type sleeping - our nursing homes are all single room, or doubles at the most. I have a feeling that I might be almost as fed up as your Dad.

I hope he does settle in to it, though - it is horrible to think of him being so fed-up all the time.
May. 25th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Mum went to visit him today; she says he sounded much more positive and didn't repeat any of the things he complained to me about...though I'm thinking it's more than likely he doesn't want to worry her. He did ask me yesterday not to tell my mum (and then of course, I turned around and did just that!).

Anyway, I'll see how things are next weekend. If he still can't sleep because of nighttime noises, I'll see if I can't get him moved to another ward; I know there's a few more beds available.
May. 25th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Is it possible to ask for him to be put in with someone else? You got him in there quickly enough, which suggests to me that space isn't actually at a premium at that home. Are there any single rooms, I'm sure he'd be much happier like that. My grandmother certainly was.

There is the other matter too of having to watch your room-mate slowly die just as you are. Not for the faint-hearted.

It might pay to ask what sort of noises he's having to put up with. Snoring can be VERY bad, but if he's calling out, well that's gotta be pretty bad too as your dad would feel like he's in a mental home with a nutter!

If he has hearing aids, get the nurses to turn them off at night so the other guy doesn't disturb him? (my neighbour says that's the best thing about going deaf - nothing disturbs her at night, which for me will be something to look forward to!)

It does sound a bit rough though that he can't go for a walk around. Is he on a dementia ward?

Try not to feel bad about not being able to do more for him (though it's hard, I know). There is a limit to what a person can do and I'm sure your father knows that. *hug*
May. 25th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thetre are only a few single occupancy rooms in the home, and at present, there is none available. As they're very much in dmand, the home's policy is that everyone will first have to bunk down with three others in the ward type rooms, then move on to a two-bed rooms when some lucky blighter gets moved to a single occupancy room...all on a first come, first serve basis. It may be months before Dad, as the newest arrival, qualifies for a two-bed room.

The noise Dad complains of is of one of the other gentlemen on his ward crying out in his sleep, but when I asked the nurse about that, she said it simply wasn't true. I will ask for Dad to be moved though, as I know there are at least two more beds available in other rooms.

Dad has been admitted to a so-called PG (or psycho-geriatric) ward, which is why his freedom of movement has been so severely restricted. Personally, I'm still not convinced that he should be there, but both doctors who assessed him recommended he be moved there, and the home isn't going to move him to what they call a somatic ward on my say-so. Dad's removal to the nursing home was forced through by the care home; I fought it for as long as I could but in the end the decision was taken from me, and Dad was just bundled into a taxi and delivered to the nursing home as soon as the paperwork was all in order.

Honestly, when you're old and slightly doddering, it seems you have no rights here in Holland.
May. 26th, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
Wow, I don't think I've seen a nursing home with more than two-bed rooms. :(

It's a pity you hadn't been able to have more control over the move to the home. Did you have any say at all as to where they sent him at least? It all sounds so callous and cold-hearted. :(
May. 30th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
We had the choice between two nursing homes that could accomodate him: one near where my mum lives and the other on the opposite side of town entirely, so we opted for the one closest to mum's. It's got a good reputation and when she visited it prior to his move she took away a good impression...but obviously it's a different story when you're actually having to live there than when you're just there to check out the facilities.

A lot of it is down to Dad as well, though, I think. He will have to make an effort and get acquainted with the place, the staff, and the other residents;but for the past few years, in the care homes, he's been happy to lock himself away in his room and not participate in any of the activities or programmes the home had to offer. He'll just habve to come out of his shell now and then hopefully things will get better.
May. 25th, 2009 09:53 pm (UTC)
May. 30th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'll see him tomorrow, hopefully he'll be feeling a little better.
( 24 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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