May 20, 2018 § 2 Comments
The aide screams when she returns to the TV room with the remote control she had been looking for and sees another resident orally pleasuring my husband. Action stops. Reports are made in the facility and the state Adult Protective Services, the agency that investigates abuse in the 60+ population. The police came immediately to investigate. More reports are filed. The next day I met with the Executive Director of the facility and his doctor called to ask if I knew. I am alerted that the police may contact me.
Dear reader, I cannot spare you the excitement.
My sweet husband was not hurt. He had no idea of what was happening at the time or afterwards. He does not know what those parts are for (‘down there’) or why he wears Depends, not jockey’s. He is helpless to protect himself or tell me what he thinks about anything. The aggressive resident now has a private aide 24 hours 7 days/week to watch, assess, report every move. The facility has taken every precaution to protect the other eighteen residents with severe dementia from anyone acting out.
Perspective: incidents like this happen in moments of time, so quickly, but his entire life is lived in and provided for by that facility and loving staff (my husband used to say ‘so far’). His care is in service to their core values. Dementia steals every part of one’s humanity. I have compassion for the culprit whose dementia brain doesn’t know appropriate behavior but is longing for intimacy.
My dear husband lives to have something to eat and be with me, the one who listens and hears him in the silence between us, love is enough. We sit close together on a plush sofa in a beautifully decorated sunroom on his unit’s floor, fresh air breezes. I set up my iPad so we can watch the wedding and share a soda. Moving images have no meaning. It’s all gone.
Whatever the temperature is, he’s cold. I put my long sweater on his muscular arms and ask him if it’s too tight. He’s happy to be wearing my clothes. He fiddles with the ends of the sweater near his knees, not looking at the iPad. I know that he wants to know why there’s no button or zipper keeping the sides together. Finally, I tuck the ends under his pant legs. Distracted, success.