As you know, we had somewhat of a crisis at the end of last week when my dad’s dementia care facility said they were no longer equipped to care for him. Feeling useless down in Raleigh, I drove up to see him and my mom on Sunday, and we spent Monday figuring out where to put him. Distressingly, there were very few options for someone at his level of disease. This is worrisome in light of all the baby boomers who will be needing services like this over the next 20 years. The system will be completely overwhelmed. But that’s beside the point.
Because we had almost no options, we decided we’d take another look at the skilled nursing unit at his facility where they wanted to put him. Most of their rooms are semi-private, but, as luck (for us, at least) would have it, a 108 year old resident passed away Monday morning, making a private room available. Now, my dad doesn’t need a private room at this point – having a roommate most likely wouldn’t bother him one bit – but for our sake, we wanted one. I can’t imagine, if he gets sick and is actively dying and we’re trying to have alone time with him, what it would be like to have another resident and their family coming in and out of the room. Not the ideal situation, though plenty of people do it.
We took the official tour with the admissions administrator/social worker who, it seemed to me, somewhat disingenuously cooed at and kissed the residents who were in the hall as we walked passed. She was really putting on a show. We’re still not crazy about the place, but it seems to be our best option, and we’ll be watching like hawks, so we opted to take the available room. When we went to visit my dad in his current unit, the head nurse, who we really like, came over looking worried and a little expectant. She had apparently clocked out but was waiting for us to come down because she’d heard we were touring the nursing side. When we told her we were going to take the room, she exhaled and started crying. She was so relieve and it was obvious how much she had been dreading the thought of not seeing him daily. She really does love him, and it made me feel that much better about the decision. There are several staff members who work in both units, so there will be people that already know how to care for him without us having to train them, and in his more lucid moments, that may bring him comfort to see familiar faces. And I know the head nurse will be keeping an eye out for him, too.
While I’m still not thrilled that he has to move, I know we’ve chosen the best option for him. Thank you to everyone both here on WordPress and on Facebook, who have reached out with support after my post last week. You have no idea how much that helped. That’s the lowest I’ve been in a long time regarding my dad, and your love made it bearable. Thank you everyone. Thank you.