Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Louis is retired, has Alzheimer's, and now resides at the Atria retirement home. In the evenings, his floor is on lock down. In the home he was in before this, he walked out of the facility and wandered the neighborhood, not sure where he was. His daughter ultimately had to drive through the neighborhood until she found him. Two other daughters, one out of state, want nothing to do with him.
Only the youngest daughter visits him about once a week, and she is spending her own hard earned money to assist her father in his later years. She is spending her own retirement money to keep him safe. When one of he checks was lost in y mail, she was interested like she was a criminal. I visited when she went to see him one time. He has been getting bruises on his arms and she suspects that he gets into fights with his room mate. He didn't remember that she was his daughter. He might have thought she was his former wife or another relative. She took him outside to sit in front of the facility to sketch. As we walked past the recreation room he began to shout, and his daughter calmed him down.
As he put the shape of a tree on the page, he seemed perfectly lucid. I sketched the suburban neighborhood and caught furtive glances at him as he sketched. He began talking about the beautiful French women he met in World War II. Those women were crystal clear memories he could have danced with them yesterday. Being an artist, he was fascinated by what I was doing. Though he doesn't know me, he has asked his daughter several times about "that tall fellow who likes to draw."A $12,000 deposit was paid to get Louis into Atria. Like the deposit o an apartment it was assumed that the money would b paid back if the resident moved. Not so. The home kept the money. When a lawyer as consulted he in formed the family that it would cost about $12,000 to win the case. Catch 22. Retirement homes are big business that will bleed you dry. Stay clear of Atria.