My husband and I are going to visit his brother and wife for a week. They just happen to be in St. Augustine, FL, which makes the visit doubly appealing. Thursday’s visit to Bickford made me wonder why I would leave town, though. To start with, Mom’s hair looked quite dirty, suggesting that either she had not had her daily shower, or washing her hair was skipped, probably more than one way. I hate to see her looking like no one cares, because we DO care. Next, I saw that she was wearing the same clothes two days in a row (she is supposed to have fresh clothes on EVERY day); the previous two days: same story. Without clean clothes daily, Mom starts to smell. Now I saw that the room looked as if it had not been cleaned, which is supposed to happen Wednesdays; what was going ON? Then Mom, who has recently been barred from the courtyard due to deep snow, said Coco needed to go out. I let her out the door I knew the code for, and, just as she did the day before, immediately emptied her bowels and peed lengthily. This suggested she had not been out since morning. My blood began to simmer a little–what if I had not let her out yesterday and today? Would she have had to wait until 7:00, when Mom typically is readied for bed? Can I safely leave these two elderly beings?

I decided I needed to talk to someone at Bickford, but figured it would have to wait since the director was out of town. Mom and I started talking about the bitter cold that had hung on the whole week, and I asked her if she was warm enough at night. I checked to be sure her blanket was on her bed, and once again, it was folded on a shelf in the closet! Blood now on full boil. I finished my visit with Mom and headed down to the office, where I found an aide who wrote up my “concerns”–aggravations!–and I left, feeling truly unhappy about the care Mom had recently received at Bickford for the first time. I know there have been some staff changes that have caused confusion, but to have this happen just as I leave town for the week makes it that much more difficult to go.

Friday I walked into Bickford, and was immediately met by the the director, who had seen the note and was very concerned, especially since all the issues I described were “old stuff.” I’m confident things will improve, but worry I may have stepped on some toes in the process–I have a good relationship with the staff, and want very much to maintain the trust and affection we’ve developed over the 3+ years we’ve been there

OK. Time to let it all go–my sister is more than competent to handle everything, and as she said, “We need to live as close to the way we would if Mom and Dad were not living.” So: hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to Florida I go. See you in a week.

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One Response to Florida

  1. megsp says:

    Seeing red! How the gaps in care can interrupt…in so many ways. And you just wonder…does the incongruence, the appearance of neglect become so familiar to aides, that the individual fades into the wallpaper– that it’s tempting to say, “Oh, well, she won’t notice.” I don’t know, but I’m so glad you are off to sunny Florida. Hello to all.

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