Please Let Him Live in Peace


A jeweler's screwdriver

candle3

Yesterday after the result of finding or not finding the five dollars missing from Al‘s wallet it didn’t end. Not only did I have to leave him with big tears of non-understanding from where was his money and why did someone take it, but it got worse through the evening.

I received a phone call after hours from the Social Services Director. She had gotten wind of the missing money. I am not sure what promoted her to go through his entire room but she was calling me to let me know she played investigator.

In front of Al and I am sure he watched her every move she went through all of his drawers and his collections on his bed side table and in the window sill. She told me she picked up one of his coca cola cans that is vintage and shook it. Why? I don’t know. She heard a rattle so she tipped it and found three small screwdrivers inside.

I didn’t know they were there. She said these were weapons or could be used as weapons. She also saw that he had fingernail clippers and those could be dangerous.

I admit if he tried to clip his fingernails with his tremors he could hurt himself. She demanded that I remove these and the screwdrivers. Al always used the tiny screwdrivers to take backs off of his collection pieces that used batteries. They obviously had been there the entire time that Al has been there.

I will go and get them. I guess I see her point but it was the wrong day to be in his room after the money loss. Then she told him she didn’t want his Easter basket of candy sitting on the floor. I saw the basket sitting beside his recliner yesterday when I was there. It made it very convenient to lean down and grab a piece without having to get up out of the chair.

She said he had too much candy. That is when I started to become a little defensive. I know, I may be too protective of him. I look at him different from they do. I see that the only things Al enjoys in his life are his coca cola collection and food. I purposely made him an extra-large basket of candy because I knew he would enjoy it so much. At this point of his disease I don’t really care how much candy he eats.

Yes, I realize weight is an issue with us. I know he has heart problems, but he has Parkinson’s Disease and terrible pain 24/7 and awful tremors. When are we going to just say “Pick the Battles”. Do we need to nit pick him constantly? Invade his room for weapons? Tell him about how candy will make him fat or not good for him? I am past that point.

Maybe I shouldn’t be. Maybe I should be even more on him to keep him healthy but for what? He is not happy. He is miserable. He has dreams about God taking him home. He prays to die. I don’t give a rat’s ass anymore about petty rules. Let him eat his darn candy. Let him alone, please.

54 thoughts on “Please Let Him Live in Peace

  1. Terry. Now is a good time to tell them what you just said. He has few pleasures. Let him enjoy them. My father’s doctor told me the same thing a few years ago. After age 80 this doctor never restricts the diet as that is the only pleasure they have left. Al is not 80 but the concept is the same. Let him enjoy his pleasures. And ask that they not inspect his room unless you are there. That is HIS room. Give him some respect. That is my opinion anyway. Hugs to you, Terry.

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  2. I totally agree…He is always in pain and discomfort…Let him alone already. If they say he has too much..just refill it whenever you go to make sure he always has some. And why not the basket beside him …?? Do they give a reason? All you can do is what you can…Diane

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  3. Excuse my language … she shouldn’t treat him like a fucking five year old!!!! He is an adult. Who the hell does the director think she is going in there to try and find problems? What’s to say she didn’t nick the bloody money while she was in there??? I think you should tell her she’s not allowed in his room unless you’re there. She’s treating you like an unfit mother. People like that get off on making people feel like the scum of the earth when in fact they are doing what’s right!!!

    Pain in the frigging arse!!!! Sorry for the rant, people like her really piss me off

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    • I agree with you Alastair. I realize Al is disabled and MILDLY handicapped but he isn’t stupid. I felt so bad for him when I found out she ransacked his room right on the same day his money kept coming up missing. I am going to tell them no more searching without a warrant, and the warrant is ME!!!!!

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      • Good on you. Does she treat everybody there like they are completely retarded? If so, then the only person who is retarded is her! It’s the type of thing you’d do to a nine year old who you think has been hiding matches or something. I think someone needs to be replaced as director

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      • here here!!!! I agree, a new change needs to be made. I wonder how she treats others? Probably not like him. He is the only one in there with mild mentality. She probably thinks it is her duty but she is wrong, I am his sister. she is a paid employee

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  4. I agree with letstalkaboutfamily. Tell them exactly what you told us. He had such a distressing day yesterday he didn’t need someone going through his room just to add insult to injury. They should have spoken to your first. You see him everyday, it wouldn’t have hurt for them to wait 24hrs until you got back to the home so you could keep Al calm whilst they went through his room. Let him eat what he want, he has very few pleasures at the moment in life let him have the ones he can enjoy 😦

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    • I totally agree with you Geel! They should have contacted me first off. Then they should have waited for a better day, a new day! For heaven’s sake, leave my brother alone you unfeeling facility!!!! Sorry Geel, I am still so upset I had to yell at the facility on your comment so I would act like an adult when I face them in person. Forgive me

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  5. You’re so right .. keep him happy even if it means that he have too many candies … what planet are they on .. managers and staff. Al is sick and he needs the little joy he can. Let him die happy … you’re so right and just tell them. He are dying slowly … so what difference will candies do. Good on you. His happiness is more important than anything else.

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  6. 1-800 622-4484 seems to be your best resource for assistance with getting your brother’s rights respected. Sincerely, and with hope that the LTC ombudsman program will be involved,
    Boomer98053 a/k/a Irene.

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  7. Where is her compassion? You had every right to come out in Al’s defense. You and she need to have a discussion about what will make him happy, as opposed to what is good for him. Hugs

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    • You would not believe how many conversations I have had with them about this topic. They don’t listen, they have their rules!!!!!!! I am getting to the place I can’t stand them and I hate feeling that way about other people

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      • it is very hard but you see I am all on Al’s side. As long as he is following the basic rules but when you start trying to tell me you think my brother has weapons and can assault others, I think they have gone to far…………don’t you think?

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  8. Oh Terry!
    It really saddens me to hear what has been happening with Al!
    I am behind on a lot of my readings and postings as my laptop has decided to quit on me.
    I’ve read this post on my phone (and the one that follows) and it breaks my heart.
    Why won’t they leave him alone? He is clearly happy with his collection and candy, and to me it seems like these people are overreacting. I know they have a job to do, but they also have a duty of care do they not?
    Why would they want to cause such distress to people that already have enough on their plates with what they are dealing with everyday?
    I shall try and find a way to check in more frequently now.. Sending plenty of hugs to you and Al!x

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    • I miss you but I understand things happen. It was so nice to talk to you today!!!!!! I know you care, so don’t worry because you haven’t been here as much, please……………but hurry back!!!

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      • Yep. Try this on for size. Document their treatment of you two, that’s first and foremost. Take your documentation to two places:

        1. Your local congressman/senator/representative.

        2. The local TV station.

        Be ready for questions over and over. I think you’ll get some help from one or both of them.

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  9. I agree with all coments made Terry. there comes a time when you have to stoop to their level and let them have it in no uncertain terms, it is time to stop being nice and sweet and get down and dirty with these people, I believe that is the only way they are ever going to hear you. remind them they are paid employees and that Al may be mentally challenged because of his disease he still deserves proper care and respect. In a very very firm strong voice you must get it across to them to take care of his basic needs and to otherwise leave him and his belongings alone. they evidently have no respect for themselves or they wouldn’t be acting like bottom feeding pond suckers!!!

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    • yeah like slimy carp fish!!! LOL. I hope I made things very clear today. I shall see what I am going to be walking into tomorrow. I will be taking a deep breath as I open those doors!

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    • thanks Paula. I guess they just want him to sit like a bump on a log like a big percentage of the other people do. They can’t help it, I am not saying it is bad. It is just in nursing homes most are very elderly and sleep a lot

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  10. Thing is, the workers at this facility act like they are doing Al some sort of a favor by taking care of him. What they seem to have missed is that they are not taking care of him for free — they are being PAID to do that! In other wards, THEY are working for AL. He is their employer. Al or his guardian have the final say in his care, not them. If the social services lady is Al’s guardian, then she needs to be reported and another worker assigned to him. She should have to answer for her actions, since surprise cell raids are usually only done in prisons.

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      • The facility works for you, so try not to let them dictate things to you or Al that weren’t agreed to when Al was first taken on as a resident there. You have not made unreasonable demands, and don’t seem like the type that would, so you can be confident in having a voice and having an understanding with them in no uncertain terms.

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  11. I agree, Terry. When my mother was diagnosed cancer and she ask us what to do, besides treatment, I said to her: do everything you want, drink and eat everything you want, buy things you like and enjoy life as much as you still can and let nobody forbid you to do it, and she did. It was the only thing that gave her the pleasure to live. My thoughts are with you and Al. Keep the strenghts!

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  12. Terry,

    As you know, I support your quest to care for Al and look out for his best interest, and I encourage you to do so.

    However, having worked at a long-term care facility, I would like to explain their actions to you, so that you can have things in the proper perspective. You see, it is standard procedure in every long-term care facility that I’ve seen, to go to the resident’s room and search for whatever has been reported missing. In this case, the facility wasn’t singling Al out. They were following standard procedure.

    The reason this is standard procedure is because one of the first things that many (perhaps even most) elderly residents lose is their short-term memory. I understand that you said Al has a mild mental disability, but even those elderly residents who have no evident mental disabilities begin to lose their short-term memories, and it is fairly common for things to be reported missing, by both the resident and their families.

    For instance, I remember when I worked at a long-term facility, there was one elderly woman who was quite bright, and very sweet, but several times a week, she would report that someone was stealing her toilet paper. Now to you or me, that sounds very silly, but it was a big deal to her, and every time something is reported as being stolen, there has to be documentation that the facility has searched for the missing item(s), and one of the things that facilities all across America do is to search the resident’s room or apartment for the missing items. This search is usually conducted by the social worker or a nurse, and most times, another staff member goes along to witness that the “searcher” doesn’t take anything. (This is done to protect the designated “searcher” from being accused of stealing.)

    In the facilities’ defense, many times, things that have been reported missing (including money and jewelry and other expensive and inexpensive items) do turn up in crazy places, because the resident has simply forgotten where he/she placed an item, or perhaps it fell behind a bed or dresser or under a chair or something. Most of the time, in order not to upset the resident, our staff searched the resident’s room for missing items when the resident was at dinner or lunch, so they wouldn’t be unduly upset by the search, and this is probably what the social worker should have done with Al. I really don’t think the social worker meant to upset you or Al. She was simply doing her job, and hoping to find the missing money, before proceeding to the next step, which is to report the missing item(s) to the authorities.

    I just wanted to share this with you so that you could see that in this instance, the facility was not deliberately being cruel or uncaring. They were following protocol, and they were probably hoping to find the money so that neither Al, or you would be upset. Many times money has been found in residents’ underwear, shoes, socks and in other odd places, because the resident (many become more and more paranoid as they get older) is afraid that their valuable(s) may be stolen, and so they hide it, and then forget where they’ve hidden it. Their short-term memory makes it difficult for them to remember where they put the money, and though they can remember that they once had the money or other valuable, they can’t remember where they hid it. What they do remember is that the facility staff was in their room(s), (the CNA’s, housekeeping staff, nursing staff, maintenance staff, etc.), and so they automatically assume that a staff member has stolen their property. In the majority of instances (though not all), this is not what happened, and often, the item(s) turn up during the search, thereby relieving the resident, his/her family, and the staff too.

    Sadly, when a lot of time has lapsed, and if the item is small (like a $5 bill), if it has been stolen, there is no real way to find the thief ( a thief is not likely to admit to his/her crime, and unless it was witnessed, how do you prove the person took the money in question?). That’s why it’s important to make sure that the resident does not keep valuables in his/her room.

    As for the candy on the floor, there are state rules and regulations, that must be followed, even for those residents who are not fall risks, simply because anyone (including the staff) could trip on anything lying on the floor. This is why extension cords are not allowed, and nothing must be kept on the floor, save approved rugs and/or fall mats if the resident is a fall risk.

    This problem can be easily overcome by simply rearranging the room. My mother’s room was small, and on top of that, it was a semi-private room, with a roommate.
    However, even so, we set it up so that a tiny little stand sat right beside her recliner, and on that stand were her goodies… She had a little purse that she loved with hand lotion, chap stick, a brush and $5 inside the matching wallet. She also had candies and cookies on her stand as well. Additionally, she had a bedside stand (like those in hospitals), and when she was seated in her recliner, the bedside table was slid over top of her elevated feet, and it contained the daily bulletin, magazines, and more goodies that had been brought to her. She always had an Easter basket or Christmas candy, and a constant supply of Pepsi (labeled with her name in the refrigerator), Reese’s Cups, and cookies, right there within reach. They only thing on the floor were cookie crumbs and other things that she dropped. She also had a “grabber” to pick dropped items up with, so that she didn’t forget and try to get up, because in her mind, there was nothing wrong with her, and she thought she could still walk.

    As far as the screwdrivers, you could probably fight the battle to let Al keep them, (provided that he has never acted out violently since before and after his stay at the facility), by explaining the importance of him keeping the tools. Explain that this is not only for Al’s pleasure, which is important, but also for his self-esteem, because by using his screwdrivers to take the coke things apart, he feels important, and that to him, tinkering with tools and such are a part of his independence, which has already been severely diminished by the PD. Explain that this helps him to feel like a man, who is being productive, and this is something that you cannot budge on.

    Finally, do as your friend at the top suggested, and bring in an ombudsman to help you in advocating for Al’s rights. I shared all of this information with you (not just because I’m long-winded), but so that you can pick and choose your battles wisely, and so that when you meet with the facility, you are armed with as much knowledge as possible, and you won’t be written off as another one of those “difficult” people they have to contend with. It’s also important for you to know that they are not picking on Al, but following their policies and procedures, so you can understand this.

    Also, look for those caregivers who take good care for Al, and mention them in your meetings. It’s important for the facility to see that you recognize those who do a good job in caring for Al, both his physical and emotional needs. By doing this, the facility can see that you’re not just someone who has nothing good to say. They are far more likely to take you seriously, and try to make changes, if you will appear “reasonable” to them, acknowledging and applauding the good, as well as taking a firm stance against those things that are bad.

    I hope this is helpful for you, and I will continue to pray for both you and Al!

    Much love and many blessings to you,
    Cheryl

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