Friday, April 17, 2009.....
A couple of months ago, we had an incident with my dad visiting my mom in the nursing home. Actually, I wish I could say it was an one time thing, but it happened twice.
My dad is the type of guy that loves to go out of his way to help everyone and says thank you even when it is not warranted. He's 87 and not likely to change his ways anytime soon. Who am I kidding? He wasn't one for changing his ways when I was a kid.
Unfortunately, when you help others at a nursing home you may get yourself into trouble. The person you may be helping may have Alzheimer's and an entirely different set of rules are established to protect that patient. A kind act can backfire.
This is what happened to my dad. Not once, but twice. When a rule is broken involving an Alzheimer's patient, different actions are taken. In the end, my dad was let off the first time because he promised never to do it again. However, he forgot and had a similar mishap that required a family meeting with the personnel of the nursing home.
There was a chance that my dad would only be able to visit my mom only if he were accompanied with either me or my sister. This would definitely damper his spirits and after pleading with the administration, my dad is allowed to visit only in the common area.
He used to bring my mom to the programs and I believe it became a social outlet for him (did I mention he is 87 and this would be his crowd). I knew if he were allowed to attend the programs again, he would slip and go back to his old ways. I don't want that to happen to him. I want him to have some dignity and not rely on his children to take him to see his wife.
After the meeting, I asked the administrator not to reinstate these privileges to my dad. Before you think I'm harsh, the man is a SOCIAL butterfly. He's on the board of his city's Senior center, member of the men's club, walks daily, has a bridge group and plays golf. The family joke is that he is busier now than before he retired.
I heard from my other sisters that he was planning on asking the Administrator for his privileges to be reinstated. I talked with the Administrator today and he told my dad that he is only following the wishes of his daughters. He hasn't asked me, but I know he will.
Saying no and explaining the reason is not a position you want to be in as the child. It was awkward enough explaining boundaries with him, but having to say no because I'm looking out for your best interest is a bit odd and disturbing.