How to Get Banned from a Care Home

My naughty ninety five year old father has been a practical joker all his life. Age has not dampened his often, outrageous, sense of humour. He’s a bit doddery but other than that he’s quite fit and mercifully comes complete with a full set of marbles.

Since my Mum passed away seven years ago he’s lived alone, in his own home. He’s taken out every day, by me or my sister or one of the small team of carers we employ to help, he calls them his “ladies what do”.

Naively my sister and I thought he might enjoy, by way of a change, the occasional week in a luxurious retirement home, in the company of people of his own age. We thought he might make new friends.We chose carefully and booked him in to the best we could find.

He appeared co-operative and we thought nothing of the fact that he’d packed his fake full arm tattoos, his fluorescent halloween mask and the large pink plastic false ears.

Little did we know these were guerrilla tactics designed to get him banned permanently from said care home.

In World War II my father was captured by Germans, handed to Italians and held as a prisoner of war in North Africa. He was missing for six weeks. His family believed he had been killed until he escaped and was found near death, in the desert.

He suffers from a mild form of skin cancer now and whenever we seek treatment for him, he’s always asked by Consultants, if he’s spent time in the past, on holiday, sunbathing. He tells them he only went on Government sponsored holidays and they’re invariably shocked at the cause of the 75 year old problem.

So it’s no surprise our escapee wasn’t intending to stay imprisoned for long, even in a five star care home. We had to apologise profusely to one member of staff who almost suffered heart failure when she checked on him in the middle of the night and found him laid in bed, in the dark, wearing his fluorescent scream mask. It wasn’t him doing the screaming.

The fact was, he hated every minute he spent in the care homes even if it was only for a week at a time. It made him feel trapped and old.

His argument was, that we wouldn’t necessarily have anything in common with a random cross section of people, just because we were the same age, so why should he.

We’ve given up on care homes now and every day I’m grateful that my sister and have time to spend with him. We wouldn’t be able to do it if we weren’t able to work from home.

Sadly my Dad passed away on 12 February 2016.  I did think of taking this post down but it made me smile thinking about the incident again, so it's staying, as a tribute to him and his amazing sense of humour & fun.

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