From my experience, it does seem that specialized dementia wings are better for residents overall than mingling the mentally incapacitated with the physically challenged. Dad lived in a secure wing of a facility, a wing dedicated to Alzheimer’s patients. Now he still had his troubles there, wandering into people’s rooms, etc. I don’t think those issues can be eliminated without heavy-handed medicating, which the nursing home did engage in from time to time.
But Mom is in a skilled nursing wing of a nursing home, which is also co-ed and houses both patients with physical ailments and dementia. There are a couple of male residents who come into Mom’s room because her roommate smokes and they help themselves to her cigarettes. When I visited yesterday, one of these guys pulled up in his wheelchair right next to Mom at the dining room table, which was already full with other residents. He bumped into her, then mumbled an apology. But he spent the next several minutes rocking back and forth in his wheelchair, almost bumping into her again each time while she was trying to eat. Finally he took off.
We saw him after lunch and he tried to wheel up right behind Mom as she was slowly making her way down the hall in her wheelchair. I literally had to step behind her to give her space, and I could feel the guy’s wheelchair nipping at my ankles. I heard him mutter, “I’ll let her have the back.” I didn’t realize nursing home residents divided up territory like gang members!
One resident was so fed up she had staff put a bright, yellow sash across her door (connected with velcro). It said, “DO NOT ENTER.” Did that stop the man being passive-aggressive with my mom? Nope. I heard this loud rip and there he was tearing the blockade down!
Today Mom told me the man was moved to another facility. I think that was the right move. The man is suffering from a disease where he can’t control his actions, so he can’t really be blamed, but the safety of all of the other residents is of paramount importance.