Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scary stuff...

     It has been a tough two months with my mom...trying to find the right place for her to live.  She was unable to continue living in the assisted-living facility where she has lived for about 4 years because of her disease.   She would forget to dress....who wants to see an 89-year-old woman streaking??  She had become incontinent...she would try to leave the facility or enter other residents' rooms...she would slam her door all night.  She could no longer stay there.

    So we tried putting her in a private home with an individual caregiver.  The caregiver was nice and had other people come in to help her, but my mother did not respond well to her.  There was a new doctor who changed her medicines totally.  The home was small and crowded with where to go with a walker or wheelchair.  Almost immediately, Mom started acting out...peeing on the floor, smearing feces on the wall, trying to escape and setting off the fire and police alarms, staying up all night and sleeping very little during the day.   To me, these were cries for help.

    My sister and I tried to find memory care units to take Mom.  We figured that this would offer the care and training that Mom would need.   But Mom could never pass the entry assessment.  We were told that she would need a psychiatric facility.   We knew that her meds and the private home were causing the episodes.  After 2 weeks in a private home, we moved Mom to our local nursing home.  We decide that even if it wasn't perfect, she would be close to where I lived.

    As of today, Mom has been in the nursing home for over a month.  With the help of our local hospice, Mom's meds have been regulated.  She's become totally incontinent, and she's pretty much in a wheelchair all the time.  It doesn't slow her down....she's up and down the halls all the time.  She has tried to escape a couple of times, but she now wears an ankle monitor that sets off an alarm if she goes out the door.  She constantly asks for scissors to cut 'that thing' off her leg.

    She still loses her glasses and hearing aids all the time.  In fact, one hearing aid has completely disappeared.    And I found her dentures wrapped up in a paper towel in her chest of drawers.  When I handed them to her, she said that she had been looking for those.  It's quite challenging.

    She still recognizes my husband and me, but I'm not sure she knows our relationship to her.  We are friendly faces that check on her and bring her cookies.  She has always had a sweet smiles, but it seems to be disappearing a little more each day.  I think that it's part of the disease.

    But she's somewhat healthy, somewhat happy and well cared for, but like so many folks with dementia and memory impairment, she suffers the indignity of wearing diapers, being treated like and child and more.   But what can we do?  Love them and pray for medicines, cures or some kind of answers...and I wonder, will this be my future, or will this disease happen to one of my siblings?  Scary stuff......