Dad spent about 10 months at the nursing home before he became ill and landed in the hospital, then was transferred to a skilled nursing facility where he died.
Mom spent just over six weeks at a nursing home. She still talks about the place like it’s a second home. She knew all of the workers and residents on her wing by name. She even talks on the phone with her former roommate from there.
Thanks to Mom, I knew every detail about the nursing home operations and was kept updated on all of the nursing home gossip.
It just struck me recently how little I knew about Dad’s experiences at the nursing home. Almost all of the information gleaned from his stay was from third-party sources: nurses, aides and my mom. By the time Dad entered the nursing home, he wasn’t communicating that much. What we did learn from Dad directly was that he had a falling out with his roommate. (Mom also had a falling out with her second roommate; nursing homes are not much different than high school when it comes to petty squabbles!)
On one of my visits to Dad’s nursing home, he told me which residents couldn’t be trusted. Unlike Mom, who was a social butterfly at her nursing home, Dad seemed to be a loner who didn’t interact with fellow residents. Without the dementia, I’m not sure how Dad would have reacted to having to stay in a nursing home. I think he would have been okay as long as he could have his smoking breaks!
It’s interesting to see my parents go through somewhat similar experiences (emergency surgery, long hospital stay, nursing home) but react in such different ways. I just wonder what stories I will never know about Dad’s stay at the nursing home.