It’s been awhile…

Haven’t written a blog entry in over a month.  Around that time, our family made a difficult decision and our mom went to a nursing home.  As nursing homes go it is clean, well staffed and run, beautiful grounds and in a fine location for visitors.  And Mom wanted to live in one place, rather than moving (sometimes daily) from our various houses (mine and my brothers).  With dementia, routine is key.  Plus, she said she wanted to make a friend…even if it was a man.

Ultimately, it is still a nursing home.  And after all these years, I think the decision kicked me down a hole and I’m only now crawling out.

I believe though, Mom seems to be settling in.  This is not to say she likes living there.  She’s complained about everyplace she’s lived since after her last aneurysm, 15 years ago.  Most of me tries to understand how she must feel, but for all of us who have been taking care of her (and Dad) for a long time, it can often be overwhelming and thankless.

Ahhh, but back to…she seems to be settling in.  Like last week we were out for coffee and some errands.  After a couple hours she said, “Take me back home.  I want to lie down.”  I was surprised by her use of the word “home”.

And the other day we sat and had lunch with a few of the other ladies, Stephania and Mom’s roommate, Rose.  Mom has been eating quite well there (another indication she is settling in) and was finishing up her coffee.  Then, as neatly as possible she scraped her leftovers onto one plate, stacked the plates and would have attempted to walk them all to the tray table if I hadn’t suggested it was “probably not a good idea”.

She then used her napkin to carefully wipe the remaining crumbs from the table cloth into her hand and onto the top plate.  We all sat quietly and watched until Rose said, “Isn’t she a good girl, cleaning up like that?”  And I agreed…until realizing the napkin she was using to wipe all over the tablecloth was the same napkin she’d used earlier to blow her nose  several times.  So much for cleanliness.

I helped her up from her chair, adjusted her walker and cleared us a little path.  A woman at the next table said, “Ohh, isn’t that lovely.  It looks like a daughter helping her mother.  You are so lucky.”  And she patted Mom’s hand.

My mother stopped, looked at the woman, then back at me.  She said, “Yeah, and you should have seen what a pain in the ass she was when she was little.”

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About hereisakiss

Daughter Writer Art's Educator
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7 Responses to It’s been awhile…

  1. Faith says:

    Enjoy your blogs so much! She is my last remaining aunt and still as spunky as always. Keeps me smiling for sure. Love you Elizabeth! xoxo

  2. hereisakiss says:

    Yes, Faith…spunky as always. Keeps me smiling (and crying) also. Love you back!

  3. Maria says:

    So nice to read a new blog entry. Sending you and your mom loving thoughts!

  4. Susan Marie Powers says:

    Sounds like your mom is where she needs to be — a place she calls her own. Great to see your blog happening again! It’s fun to read about that sassy mother of yours.
    Big hugs.

  5. Robin says:

    Love that last line! Hugs.

  6. Laura Bellmay says:

    Dearest Elizabeth–Thank you so much for you ongoing courage to write the story and stories about your callenges with your parents. I am weakening, physically and emotially, under the care of my 83-year-old dad with dementia. I have four appoitments later this month to interview at profit and not-for profit assisted living facilities. I took Dad for a psychiatric assessment and he didn’t totally charm the Doctors. The bottom line for me is that we do have follow-up appointment, I have the checkbook now to protect Dad from poor judgemet regarding his financial decisions and Dad has been told by the Doctor to stop driving.

    I am so exhausted being both the CEO of my Dad’s care AND the front line care provider. I am heartened by your actions to place your mom in a living environment where she will be well taken care of. I am reminded of a phrase I heard once that it is the caregivers job to do what is best for the parent although it may not always be a smooth transition. Thank you again–Laura

    • hereisakiss says:

      Laura…Exhausted probably doesn’t even cover it. It is necessary for YOU to take some time for yourself, for your sake and your dad’s. My mom was going to a senior day care center at least 2 days a week. It worked out well for everyone concerned (even if she didn’t want to admit it). Have you looked into day care? And typically, transportation can be arranged.

      You probably already know this, but some assisted living will not take residents with dementia. You obviously don’t want to make a trip for nothing. Also, some assisted living facilities are associated with nursing homes, so if eventually your dad needs the 24 hour care of a nursing home, the transition might be much smoother. What state do you live in?

      I wish the best for you both…Elizabeth

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