Again and again

Yes. Again and again, I must grieve the next step Mom takes away from us. Now we must make another move at Bickford–this time to the memory care area, known as Mary B’s [Bickford] in honor of the mother for whom the first Bickford Cottage was built. Her family could not find a place to treat their mother the way they wanted her treated, and so they built the right kind of place, hired the people, and put policies in place that make so much difference to us, Mom’s family. Anyway, Mary B’s is small, quiet, with a lower ceiling, and a 3-to-1 ratio of residents per aide instead of 7-to-1 in the assisted living area. I am convinced this is the right move, but it feels like a betrayal, like I’m taking her from what little is familiar and into more confusion. Yet she needs much more care now, and we don’t have 24-hr. private duty, so she is alone too much, and is much too tottery to move around now without assistance. How I wish I’d never thought to move Mom so recently and then have to make another move, but… we do the best we can with what we know at the time, and I am trying to let that regret go. Continue reading

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Worse, actually.

People ask me how Mom is, and I usually say, “OK.” That is, she’s hasn’t broken a hip, and she doesn’t have pneumonia or anything, but she’s worse, actually. We’re at another turning point in her decline, and my sister and I confirmed it today talking to the director of Bickford about Mom needing to move back to memory care–or Mary B’s, as it’s known at Bickford facilities. She may make that move soon–since there is an opening–but there’s another person who may need it more. Mom will be next on the list for sure when their is an available space again. End of the line for moves, we hope. Continue reading

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Mom, acting mean

I had to go out to Bickford today because I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to bring exam gloves and diaper ointment. I had both in the house, and went out. The aide, R., looked down-hearted; Mom was refusing to cooperate after her early-afternoon nap, and wouldn’t allow R in the bathroom with her. I asked Mom to come in, which she readily did, and suggested she use the toilet. I also told her R. would be coming in to help. In went R. (“she won’t let me in there, R told me hopelessly). Soon I heard her tell Mom she was going to remove the wet pants. “Take your own pants off, dammit! I mean it!” I entered and found that Mom had grabbed R’s wrist and had an ugly look on her face. Continue reading

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Me, either

Mom: “Well the oblavravo war has arrived.”

Me: ???????

Mom: [after a pause] “I don’t understand that, either.”

Us: Laughter.

Not a bad day, when we can laugh together.

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Caregiver report

When I went to Bickford today, I was greeted by a staff member who reported having been told–yep, second hand–that one of our new aides sleeps a lot when with Mom. Also that she parked Mom at a table by herself, and then went off to eat elsewhere. We did tell caregivers that they do not need to sit with Mom since she can feed herself fine, but put Mom at a table by herself?! Come ON, people, use your common sense! If part of your job is helping Mom socialize–and it is–DON’T sit her at a table by herself. This report from the staff member also included the fact that the caregiver gets flustered when Mom teases her–probably tickles her–and Caregiver doesn’t seem to know how to react. We have told the caregivers that if she pokes or tickles, they have our permission to gently tickle or poke back, since that usually ends it. DO THAT!

So. I guess I’ll have to see who is with Mom tomorrow, and go over a couple of these points: a) STAY AWAKE–read a book or something when Mom is sleeping if necessary, b) seat her with others at meals, or join her rather than leave her alone, and c) RELAX. Use the counter-tickle to end this, yes, VERY annoying habit of hers. And–oh yeah–remember she has DEMENTIA. Some days will be better than others. I wish you’d known her 10 years ago–you’d have really liked her. Since you didn’t, pretend you care until you do, OK?

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Mothers’? or Mother’s Day?

I tried the apostrophe in the title of this post in two places: “Mothers’ Day” and “Mother’s Day” and finally decided it is correct either way. One for all the mothers who are celebrated today, and the other specifically and especially for my mother. How different life is for her now than when all four of her children were home: daily laundry (whatever I put in the hamper the night before appeared in my closet or drawer the next day, AND SHE ALWAYS HUNG HER LAUNDRY TO DRY), homemade bread for sandwiches, no store-bought, cookies in the tin–what kind today? If the cookies were not popular, frost them and they’ll get eaten. She canned applesauce from our two trees, made pickles with dill from her garden, jams and jellies for the for the whole year, volunteered by visiting shut-ins, she was Brownie and then Girl Scout leader, she exercised–who DOESN’T want to get up at 5:00 a.m. to bike so you can be home in time to get cookies baked before the kids get up? Sunday School teaching, lawn-mowing, weed-pulling, dog-walking, mitten-knitting, book reading…. Well, no need to go on. Continue reading

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I’ve tried a couple of times to write here, each time wrote about a sentence, and would discover I did not have two words to rub together. Today, I take myself in hand to at least update what is happening in my parents world (and therefore in mine). Continue reading

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You’re Fired!

Oh what a laugh I had re-reading the last entry where I said if we had Amy every day we’d be fine. Well, we had Amy for a lot of the days, and Surprise! Mom ended up with two sores on her bum–one of the reasons we hired additional help was to prevent such sores. The joke’s on us, and the service is cancelled. Continue reading

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Re-entry

Yes, it’s Tuesday, and I’ve been home since last Wednesday afternoon, and I meant to write a post immediately, but my “I’m home!” visit to Bickford was less than heartening. Continue reading

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The difference a day or two makes

My last post spoke jauntily of the “good move” we’d made by moving Mom closer to the dining and living rooms at Bickford so she didn’t have to walk so far. On Friday, my sister even called to say that I had been right in acting on the move–I felt like a true sage. Saturday morning I watched some more DOWNTON ABBEY, a PBS period piece that I couldn’t stop watching, especially because I could stream it from Netflix through my Apple TV gizmo, which I HIGHLY recommend to movie junkies like me. Anyway, I’d started some laundry in anticipation of our 35th anniversary trip of about 2 1/2 weeks, which we were to start Sunday, late afternoon. Then, since it was a lovely day, I decided to take a walk rather than ride my bike in the basement. My husband was gone to teach in Detroit for the day, and he had taken my computer–I don’t exer-bike unless I have it to watch a movie or TV show. I was literally about to go out the door when the phone rang. Continue reading

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