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Another word on the dos and don’ts for dementia care facilities:

PLEASE do not change the hairstyle or facial hair of a resident without the family’s permission. This has happened a couple times with my dad. Once, he got ahold of someone’s razor and shaved his whole beard. Another time, a CNA trimmed his beard into a goatee. And now, again, someone took it upon themselves yesterday to change his full beard to a goatee. Since he’s had a full beard for the last 43 years (as long as my mom has known him, and, obviously, my whole life), it is extremely distressing to come in and see him changed. I know it sounds minor, but when you’ve been slowly losing everything about him that you’ve known, having one more thing altering who you know him to be is too much. My mom keeps his beard trimmed herself, and when I saw him on Tuesday, it still looked neat and tidy, so there was no reason to do that. It may actually have been a hospice person who did it. If that’s the case, it’s even more frustrating, because you would think they would understand the importance of not altering the appearance of someone.

We’ve dealt with the weight changes. We’ve dealt with the vacant expressions. Those are outside of our control and we accept them and do our best to not be too bothered by them. But the things that make him look like him in any small way are so important to us. Please don’t take those away from us.