The third gentleman I feel compelled to talk about is deemed by every member of staff to be the most capable of all the resident where I work. However, before I start to describe his complex behaviour, it is necessary for those reading this to understand that he requires as much support as the rest of his housemates, meaning his needs are equally significant because of his limited mental capacity and his very complex behaviour.
His character is different from the others because he constantly demands attention, which is something the others don’t do because they don’t have the capacity to verbally ask for anything. He verbalises his needs and demands by making a sort of high pitched growl at the same time as grabbing staff members by the hand or arm and pulling violently to show us what he requires.
However, because we have limited staff presence, his demands for attention cannot always be met, especially when another resident needs immediate, more urgent assistance. It is during those times that he displays unusual forms of displeasure. During our busiest times, when we cannot concentrate on his sole needs, he often stomps upstairs, collects all of his underpants in one fell swoop, carries them into the bathroom and dunks them into a sink full of water! He then proceeds to show all staff members what he has been ‘Forced’ to do to demonstrate his anger and frustration with ‘His’ staff. He often takes it one step further and rips a pair up in front everybody, frothing at the mouth as he puts all of his energy into his task. It is very difficult to calm him down but we manage to do it sometimes by talking to him in a calm manner, but that doesn’t always work.
When he gets into a mood, often for no immediately apparent reason, he stamps his feet around the house throughout the night, waking his sleeping housemates. He also bangs his fists against his bedroom window to let everyone know his is not happy with something. The strange, but comical thing is, after he has made enough noise to wake his housemates up, he claps and laughs, and then gets back into bed and goes to sleep!!
Another unusual practice he indulges in is showing his displeasure with ‘Tigger’ his favourite cuddly toy. He abuses poor old Tigger in every way possible, and I mean every way!! When he’s angry, he goes off to find Tigger, then stands at the top of the stairs and, with Tiggers tail, swings him around his head, often hitting the light fixture on the ceiling. We have unfortunately, walked into his bedroom on a couple of occasions to discover poor old Tigger being used in a way he was not intended for. Poor old Tigger had a smile on his face when he was brand new, and now he carries an expression that cries out for help.
Incidentally, when he has ‘Finished ‘ using Tigger, he carries him downstairs, armed with a needle and thread, insisting that someone sows up the freshly made hole!!!!
We occasionally comply with his demands to sow Tigger up, but do so with gloves on, which causes him to clap with joy.
This gentleman also has a fixation with milk. He keeps a keen eye on the milk stock, and when we are down to the last 2 litre carton, he walks around the house with it safely tucked under his arm, showing staff that he wants more milk, just in case we haven’t got enough for his love of drinking coffee (Decaffeinated)
The whole team of staff members try our utmost to try and keep this gentleman happy, because we have learnt over the years that if he gets in a very bad mood, he hyperventilates. Of course his safety and well-being is paramount, and if he puts himself in a bad mood, then it has a knock-on effect with the other residents, so they’re upset for most of the day!!
When he decides to be in a good mood then he is a delight to support, but sadly, those days are few and far between!
We all cling onto the possibility that one day, as he grows older, he will wake up one morning full of joy, and remain like that for the rest of his life. We’re waiting patiently!!
Until the next instalment.