I don’t like hearing that Robert got in trouble (or is causing trouble) at his New Home or at Day Program. My first thought is “oh, crap, he’s going to get kicked out” which is a leftover reaction from when his previous care facility used an incident to try to evict him. (Never mind that Robert’s longtime girlfriend had just broken up with him and I had warned the facility he was going to act out. Which he did.)
The call this morning was from Day Program. The director calmly told me that Robert was having a rough day. She explained there is a client at the program who talks loud and incessantly, repeating the same thing over and over. She said it can be annoying to people. It was early in the day and clients were being rewarded with a breakfast (this would be Robert’s second breakfast of the day). Robert became agitated with the constant talking and yelled at the other client. He even used a few curse words while doing so. He wouldn’t stop doing it so the director took away Robert’s breakfast (it was a treat, after all, and he wasn’t behaving).
Taking food from Robert is never a good idea but I understand why it had to be done. There are consequences for bad behavior. (At least he wasn’t in the middle of eating Rocky Road ice cream – I cringe at the thought of what would have happened if he had that taken from him).
Taking breakfast away from Robert further upset him and he took a swing at the director (thankfully, missing).
Robert was having a very, very bad day.
The director calmly explained the story to me and said that he was now in a different room, participating in a different activity with a different group of people. She told me she wants me to know when these things happen and for me not to worry (obviously, she’s met me before and knows worry and I are best buds).
I told her I thought there might be a few things going on that contributed to him getting upset. For one, it’s raining. Robert does not like the rain. If one drop of water gets on him or his walker, it stops him in his tracks and he wants it dried off immediately. For some reason, water really causes him stress. I’ve provided him a rain coat with a hood but he still wants to use an umbrella (although I’m not sure how he manages to push his walker and carry his umbrella). I think one reason why Robert is hesitant to wash him hands is he doesn’t like them to be wet. Luckily, he doesn’t refuse to bathe so this is a manageable problem.
Another possibility for Robert’s crankiness is I told him earlier in the week that I would be out of town this weekend and he wouldn’t be able to come over to visit. I know he looks forward to his visits with us but this is an overdue Valentine’s Day trip with Hubby. This combined with the rain and the other client yelling (and whatever else may have happened at New Home this morning) was just too much for Robert. He acted out and got in trouble.
The director agreed that any of these possible reasons for the acting out (or combination of them) could cause Robert to have a bad day. She assured me this happens and they deal with this all the time. She told me not to worry and that Robert would be fine.
When the director and I finished talking, I spoke with Robert.
“How is your day, Rob?” (Other Brother and I are the only ones who get away with calling him Rob).
“They took my food.” (I saw that coming).
I put on my “mom” hat and explained to him that he can’t get extra treats when his behavior is not good. After I was certain he understood that he needed to behave, we started joking around and he was laughing and cracking a few jokes of his own. I told Robert to apologize to the director and give her a hug. He agreed he would be good and would tell her he was sorry.
After saying our goodbyes, I hung up then called to talk to the director again. She said Robert had a huge grin on his face and “was back.” She said she and Robert agreed to talk nice to one another and then she held out her hand to shake on it. He held out both hands to her and they clasped hands, agreeing to a better day.
Because of this kind of communication, because I know this incident will not get him kicked out of the program, I know I don’t have to worry.
Robert is definitely in good hands, even on his bad days.