An old clock my Dad got from his father.  Dad kept it in the basement, and  would occasionally make it chime.  Like my Dad, the clock was wearing down.

He Has to Move

Dad was just getting settled in the first care home, when they let us know he would have to move.  He was going downhill mentally, could not talk much anymore, but still wanted to walk up and down, up and down the halls.  They were not situated to handle people needing advanced memory care, plus they were remodeling, and didn’t have enough space.

Dad’s Final Sentence

Shortly before he moved, he spoke his final complete sentence to his daughters.

My youngest sister called me over.  I put my ear by his mouth. What’s wrong Dad?

The nurses, they pump me.”

Not something a daughter wants to contemplate.

My eyes got big.  Remember my Dad would never talk about sex?  Briefly I wondered, eyerollcould it be true? Abuse does happen in nursing homes.

What Dad?  When does this happen?”  My sister asked.

Everyday, all day.  Everywhere.

Most likely not true.

Oh my,  people with dementia can lose all their inhibitions.  Or maybe this was a Lewy Body hallucination?

Where to Find a Place for Dad?

Patty and I were hoping to move him to the northern suburbs of Minneapolis, closer to where we lived.  But there were only a couple of facilities taking memory care patients, all with long waiting lists.

(One place called me a year after he died to say they still did not have room, but he was still on their waiting list.  I said “Thank you, but you can take him off, he doesn’t need nursing care any longer“.)

Another complication was the need to find a place that would take medical assistance, should he run out of money.   Many places don’t take public financing, or if they do, they have a limited number of spaces for those patients.  There would be no guarantee he could stay if he did run out of money, and the government had to pay.

A social worker at the first nursing home suggested we check out “AJs” (not the real name) in Minneapolis.  We took a tour of their memory care unit and were immediately impressed.  They have halls with various themes for the residents.  A central space serves as the nurse’s center, the dining area, and the meeting/gathering place where activities could be held.  A family friendly atmosphere prevailed.

Moving Again

After six weeks in the first home, we moved Dad to AJs.  I’m certain moving again was even more disorienting to him.  AJ’s was centrally located to the three sisters, although not particularly close to any of us.    However, under the circumstances it was certainly the best option, and I knew they would work with me on medical assistance when the time came.

Life at AJs was to become the new normal, and I thought this was okay.  We were on a steady state – it couldn’t get any worse, right?

Was I ever wrong!


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