Bo is home again and I’m so relieved. Moving him to a continuing care facility didn’t work. It was a nightmare that lasted a week.
He moved in on Wednesday, and on Thursday evening I wrote this letter to a friend:
“Yesterday was a truly terrible day — I hope no one else I know ever has to do this. The only way I got through it was to think of it as a 30-day trial. My gut told me all day that it wasn’t the right thing to do, and I felt sick. In mid-afternoon as we sat together under the pergola in the rose garden, I felt I needed to explain to him why he would be staying. He struggled to understand, then asked, ‘But what have I done wrong? Have I hurt someone?’ My heart broke.
I stayed until he was in bed, then left, knowing that he would be checked on every 2 hours throughout the night. I’m staying away until tomorrow as planned, but it’s so hard.
So I am really worried and stressed. I just know that Bo can’t find his way around and is searching for me. What if he’s wandering up and down the fourth floor hall? Or gets on the elevator and doesn’t know what to do? Or …. ”
By Saturday, I was sure he wasn’t placed right. I heard from the head nurse and from the front staff that he was “totally confused and searching for me.” He couldn’t really participate in any activities that he was taken to in assisted living; he went to the dining room but couldn’t handle the menu; couldn’t get to his room unassisted.
But he was making friends all the time. Everyone knew and liked him. The young men who were valets and receptionists enjoyed his company and helped him. The wait staff in the restaurant enjoyed helping him; everyone said he was so friendly and cheerful, joking and asking everyone, “Are you having fun today?”
After 5 days I met with staff and a decision was made to take him to the memory center during the day so he wouldn’t wander and search, but I knew that wasn’t right either. He was in between the two. Cognitively and socially he was a mismatch, and he knew that he didn’t fit in there. Our friend Michal visited him and Bo said, “You’ve got to get me out of here.”
So at dinner time on the seventh day, I brought him home – a relief for both of us. Fortunately, he didn’t recall all the things that had happened to him. In fact, he didn’t remember any of it. But I could see him relax as he came home. Now I have promised friends (and myself) that I will get in-home care.