Improved Health in a Care Home
All I want for Christmas is . . .. Sometimes it’s the small things that make you happy, like when your mother quits peeing on you. I am happy to report that there have been many improvements in my mother’s physical and mental health since we moved her out of assisted living and into a care home.
Mom refused to eat during her last week in her assisted living facility and had to be hand-fed. She is now eating full meals, albeit eating mainly with her fingers, but who cares? Her ankles were swollen and bruised and now look great. She peed on the floor and on me when she first arrived, but now manages to get all the way on the toilet before letting loose. She didn’t sleep through the night. Now she does. She didn’t understand simple instructions, but now she does.
What a difference dedicated care makes. And increased socialization.
More Flexibility for Me
Now that Mom is settled in, I go there more than I have her over at my house. That is because my swollen foot turned out to be the onset of arthritis in another of my toes so supporting Mom’s weight in and out of the car and in and out of the bathroom is agonizing. Also, it just strains and pulls muscles in my back and neck, so I end up slightly miserable for days.
However, we did have her here for Christmas and had a lovely day listening to music, chatting, napping, drinking tea and eating cookies, and having lunch and dinner. While my husband and I were preparing dinner, Mom asked if there was anything she could do to help. Ummm. I wonder what she would have done if I had asked her to set the table.
Another time when she was here for dinner, I started to take her plate when we finished. Mom put her hand over mine and magnanimously told me, “No. Leave it. I will do the dishes in the morning.”
“Oh, thanks, Mom.” I left it and simply cleaned up after we got back from returning her.
Life in the Care Home
The staff of the care home is warm, friendly, funny, loving, attentive. I love going there. It is my home away from home, and how often can you say that about a care facility? People make all the difference. I chose a home based on how I felt about the staff. (Click here to read “Choosing a Care Home.”)
I have seen far more Hallmark movies than I ever have in my life. (Main character cannot form attachment due to some past grief, meets someone, relationship seems doomed, but then magically all is resolved on Christmas day. On to the next stupid predictable story.) I have watched my first “Ellen” show and many reruns of “Family Feud.” Daytime tv is amazing. But the jokes the staff, the five residents, and I make about the shows or even the commercials make it all fun and homey. (Click here to read “Care Home Suprises.”
Mom is very sweet. If I leave her at the time she has dinner at her care home, she always asks if I am eating with them and tries to offer me part of her dinner. She was eating a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup the other night and tried to give me her sandwich.
I told her, “Oh thanks, Mom. I’ll get dinner with Fred (my husband).”
“But do you have things like this?”
“Yes. We have bread, and we have cheese.” Everyone is laughing. I announce, “She is so sweet. She would give me the food off her plate.”
This is in contrast to when she thinks I’m trying to kill her.
Mom Seems to Feel Safe in the Care Home.
I mentioned Mom’s running monologue in my late November post. (Click here to read about the difficult trip transporting her 440 miles in “Meeting Financial Challenges.”) You can hear her talking, but it’s not loud enough to understand. A couple of weeks ago, we were taking her back, and she was actually talking loudly enough to hear.
Mom muttered, “These two people . . . coming to get me . . . coming to kill me.”
I decided to brave it. “Who’s trying to kill you, Mom?”
She looked at me startled. She didn’t think anyone could hear what she says. I let her off the hook and reverted to my usual coping strategy. “We’ll have to get Sherlock Holmes on it right away.”
Mom laughed. (Cue “Twilight Zone” theme music.)
There seems to be two parts of her personality operating—the kind, sweet, ‘normal’ one and the dark paranoid one. Makes me a little uneasy, but I know I can dodge her, gimpy as I am, if she decides to knife me in self-defense.
So I’m very blessed. No more getting peed on. I have a mother who would give me her own food. And I can outrun her if her thoughts that my husband and I are going to kill her get the upper hand.
Life is good.