This week we have had a setback with Bob. We have seen a recent decline in him that brings the cruel reality of dementia to the fore. We have had to be called in several times to the nursing home at various hours of the day to try and calm Dad down. There have been incidents of agitated yelling, wrist grabs, resident clashes and manic outbursts.We can tell by his eyes and the rigidity of his hands as to where he is at.
He has become agitated, restless and unpredictable. He will not stay calm and is constantly moving and doing repetitive things. Even just taking his pajamas off can now take over 30 minutes. This is hard to handle as you never want to leave him in case something happens when you are not around. His future is in the hands of his carers and nurses as they do their best to handle the behaviours.
We had a situation at 1am in the morning where Dad went to the wrong room and ended up in someone else’s bed. The 95 yo gentleman was not happy that he had a 6ft man in his bed. The carers could not get him out, I drove in to assist and it took me an 1.5 hours to get Dad back to his room.
I tried every trick I could think of as he stubbornly ignored me and kept saying “No!”. There was no point in telling Dad he was in the wrong room as he is unable to reason the concept. I pretended it was daytime and we should go for a walk, I threw the footy which he got out of bed to retrieve and then returned to the bed. I tried hot chocolate, a toilet stop, food, and even tilted the bed up to an uncomfortable vertical level.
I eventually got his slippers out which made him get out of bed to put them on. Once he was up I then coaxed him towards the door. I had to use furniture to barricade areas of the nursing home off as I tried to steer Dad towards his room. The rooms look very similar so is an easy mistake to make.
I was exhausted and sweating by the time I got him into his own bed. The nurses said they learnt some valuable new tricks and were very appreciative that I came in to help.
The doctor had to make a difficult decision to place a ‘patch’ on Dad to assist with pain and help control his behaviours. Whilst we frantically try and put the decline down to pain, tiredness and just about everything else, deep down we know we have a ‘new normal’.