The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
Like sand through the hour glass....so are the Days of Our Lives!!
Although I want to journal these times as a daughter, caregiver, and time spent with my mom, this is one of those times I am not sure what to share and what not to share. I like to keep it as real and honest as possible. Sometimes what is left to the imagination is worse than the reality.
On Wednesday, I was contacted by one of the executives at the American House. I was on my cell phone picking up Megan from soccer. Immediately she assured me there was "nothing wrong". Basically she wanted to let me know that the daughters of my mom's gentleman friend (Don) wanted to get in touch with me about their relationship. Apparently, the daughters had reason to believe that he slept over at my mom's apartment last Monday night. This I did not know. Of course, I knew it could happen. (Apparently they call him every morning to remind him to do things like take his pills and he wasn't there.) So, I gave her permission to give them my phone number and she gave me theirs.
The next day I contacted one of the daughters and she wanted to set up a meeting with her, her sister. and me I agreed and a meeting was set up for Sunday afternoon (while our parents would be at lunch.)
(Needless to say, this is the last thing I wanted to do coming off of the rather exhausting weekend we had and with the weather being so nice outside, etc...)
Not much was discussed on the phone prior to the meeting. I could tell they wanted to speak in person. We met in a conference room at the American House. Both sisters were cordial. They indicated that this is not the first time their father has "pursued" women in this apartment complex. From what I gather, he was asked to leave a previous facility. He has lived in this current location a year and a half and apparently was spending time with another woman in the building. He also has Alzheimer's Disease and is 81, almost 82, years old. I think they were feeling me out if I was going to complain (or worse) about their father. We exchanged information at length about our parents, their health history and personalities. It was apparent that they want their dad to stop spending time with my mom. I believe they are fearful he will be kicked out.
I asked if they had a suggestion on how we can put more distance between them. For the record, they do live on different floors and different wings of the building. One of the sisters asked if I would be willing to switch my mom's meal schedule so they would not be together since it seems their routine is to follow each other to my mom or his apartment. Sounds easy enough, but I declined. I know my mom and any change in my mom's routine would be disruptive to her. Not only that, but I am afraid she would seek him out and it could even trigger confusion and possibly her "wandering" looking for him. Wandering is among the worst things that can happen with this disease as I am sure you have heard of missing persons with Alzheimer's Disease. They literally wander away. In the end, I agreed to talk to the behavioral nurse who has worked with each of them individually. I also agreed to discourage him from being in my mom's apartment and vice versa.
Today, I was in touch with the behavioral nurse. I have spoken with her in the past when my mom was getting adjusted to her new living situation. I thought she would strongly discourage their relationship. She did not. She does not see either of them as any type of threat or safety concern to each other. She reiterated to me that the staff did not have an issue with them. Again, this is not an assisted living facility. It is a senior living facility, and although my mom receives lots of medical assistance, it is from a separate entity within the building. To them, this is a family matter. I agree. She encouraged me to do what is best for my mom, not what his family wants me to do. At this point, nothing has happened where I feel my mom is in any kind of danger. No, I don't want continued "sleepovers", but I felt better after talking to the nurse. This week, I will more closely keep tabs on my mom by phone and while visiting. If he has had issues in the past, then they need to make some adjustments. From where I sit at this time, there is nothing I can or need to do.*
Even though I love roller coasters, this emotional roller coaster is wearing me out!
*UPDATE: After I drafted this I received a message from one of the daughters that she is arranging to have her father moved to a table further from my mom in the dining room during meals... Stay tuned!