Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The home strait

Back in January, when I was visiting my mother at the residential home where she was a resident, the manager took me to one side and had a chat with me about my mother. She explained in what can best be described as carer jargon that the staff at the residential home were struggling to cope with my mother's 'needs'. At first I did not quite understand what she was saying. Then the penny dropped. The manager was telling me that my mother had deteriorated to the point where I needed to consider moving her into a nursing home. I asked if the could move Mum into the nursing home next door, which is run by the same company. Yes, they could do that, but would check all possibilities that could be behind her apparent deterioration before they decided to move her. The next time that I saw the home manager she said that Mum had improved, which led me to think that the possibility of a move to the nursing home had been cancelled or rather postponed .

On another visit I was a bit disturbed when the carers asked me to take my mother's rings off her, as they are now too big for the ring finger on her left hand. Apparently she had been playing with them and had lost her engagement ring down the back of a chair. I managed to get her eternity and engagement rings off her on the pretext that I would clean them for her. She still has her wedding ring. Now my jewellery cleaning solution looks as if a dust pan has been emptied into it from all the gunk that came out of the rings. It was a bit of a shock to realise that Mum will never wear her rings again. They have been valued and are now hidden in a safe place.

A few weeks later I suppose that I should not have been surprised, but I was, to get a phone call asking me to go and have a look at a room in the nursing home. Although not perfect the room is pleasant, on the top floor under the eaves, with a lovely view of the surrounding countryside, the Dee estuary and the Welsh hills beyond, but I very much doubt that my mother is going to notice it. I did try to take a photograph of the view but the window only opens about one inch and when I tried to open it further an alarm went off! I quickly shut it. However, the alarm continued to ring, so I think that something else must have set it off. The room was newly decorated and a bit bare, so I though what a nice touch, when I went up to Mum's room a couple of weeks ago, to see a rug on the floor. As I tidied up Mum's clothes I stood on the rug and again noticed an alarm going off. Thinking nothing of it I carried on. Then there was a knock on the door. It was carer come to switch off the alarm. The rug is more of a mat, there to detect when Mum gets out of bed in the night. Since then I have avoided walking on the rug/mat.

The move into the nursing home took place about a month ago and Mum now seems to have settled into it. I have been to visit her several times and have found that many of the residents from the residential home are now in the nursing home. It has a captive audience, but it has certainly made my life easier. As it was only a year ago that I was looking at residential homes for my mother. Choosing this particular residential home has certainly been the right decision and has saved me the hassle and aggravation of having to find a nursing home now that Mum's dementia has progressed to the point that she needs nursing care. Then there would have been the upheaval of moving my very confused and now practically immobile mother. Sadly we are now on the last lap, the final furlong, the home strait. However you look it, the end is coming into view. By anybody's standards my mother has had a good innings. She was born two months premature long before the days of incubators and last month she celebrated her 91st birthday. The nursing home staff are brilliant with her and we are not having to start all over again with the staff getting to know her likes and dislikes etc. I would hate to have to do their job, but I am so grateful that they are prepared to do it.

One crumb of comfort in this whole debacle is that my mother always knows me when I visit her once or twice a week. But she does not know my brother, the son on whom she doted for so long. He visits about once every two months and has been asked 'do I know you?' and 'are you my father/husband/brother?' So much for dementia being short term memory loss!

Thank you for all of your comments on the previous post. The DWP have taken four weeks to stop paying Mum's benefits to me. In that time I have hung onto what had been paid to me and have built up a cushion which I hope will last for as long as Mum needs it. I intend to send onto my brother the larger bills and invoices for him to pay.

29 comments:

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

It is good to know that your mother is in capable hands and that she will be looked after and given the care that she needs. I am glad for you too that she recognises you when you visit. It is a sad situation for you and your mother but you have done exactly the right thing for her. It is good too that even though she may not realise that her room has a lovely aspect, you know that should she gaze out, she would enjoy her view. A x

jinksy said...

Old age is never easy - at 86 my Mum was in full charge of her faculties, which made it harder in a way, for she realised her body was cracking up around her, totally beyond her control...

French Fancy said...

Oh CW I feel so much for you. It is like deja vu, reading this post. This is what happened to me with my father, although he did die before he was due to be moved out of his residential home and into a nursing home.

Your mum's place sounds a very good set-up, what with the alarmed windows and floor. You can be settled in your mind now that she is indeed receiving the right care for her increased needs.

Jennyta said...

You cetainly do seem to have struck lucky with your mum's residential and nursing homes, CW and hopefully, that makes a difficult time for you all just a little bit easier.

Limey said...

It's really not an easy situation, but I am so glad the staff are helping keep her comfortable and are taking care of her. Do keep us updated on things.

Joey said...

Your love for your mother shines through this post. I can see myself walking through the home with you, looking out the window... cleaning your mother's rings.

Thank you... for sharing this intimate part of your life with us.

Joey from Texas

LindyLouMac said...

A particularly poignant post for me as today is my mother in laws 92nd Birthday and just this last weekend she went to live permanently in a nursing home. Up till this point her husband with the help of visiting carers has managed to cope with caring for her at home.
Thanks for sharing your experience.

Maggie May said...

I am glad that your mother is in such a safe and caring place.
I feel very annoyed about your brother's behaviour and am glad that it is YOU that your mother remembers.

Nuts in May

Fire Byrd said...

It must be such a comfort to know that your Mum recognises you ( never mind any wicked thoughts about her not recognising your brother!Which of course I'm sure you don't have anyway)
There is nothing worse than family behaviour at such times. I remember the row that my sister, my cousins and I got into with my father and his two siblings over my Grandma when they put her into care. Not nice.

But does sound as if you picked a great place for your Mum to live out her last days

imbeingheldhostage said...

Such a rough time! I am dreading these days even though we should have quite a few more years before we get there. My mother is a hoarder and getting her out of her home and away from her things will really be awful.
I hope the nursing home brings you peace, CW.

Vixster said...

It's very hard being the person who has to deal with all of this, but sounds like you are doing a brilliant job, heart-rending as it is. The nursing home sounds good for her, and at least you have peace of mind knowing she is being watched over 24-7.

She is very lucky to have a daughter like you, and it's wonderful she still knows you, as I've had a couple of friends whose parents have not and I know how hard that made things for them.

cheshire wife said...

SJA - I can enjoy the view.

jinksy - my Mum was OKish until she was 87, when she had a mini stroke.

FF - I'm sorry to bring back painful memories for you.

LLM - it is not easy. I hope that your MIL settles.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I feel for you. My dad is in nursing care - just today it was decided he can no longer be taken for rides in the car. His world is getting smaller also.

I'd send your brother all the bills!

Michelloui said...

Wow, this was a really interesting post to read. HOw fortunate your mother is to have you looking after her so well. This is one of the things I try to not think about--as an only child living 6000 miles away from my (divorced) parents who live 1000 miles from each other, the logistics of caring for them in older years will be complicated. But I will do something.

Carol said...

I'm so glad that she's being well looked after...makes such a difference! It's an awful situation to find yourself in but at least there are people (unlike your brother) who are working to make it a little easier.

My thoughts are with you

C x

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

Me again to let you know there is an award waiting for you at mine - if you would like it. A x

Sandi McBride said...

I know it all seems a bad dream for you...I know because I've been thru it, so my insight is a bit more personal. Odd how the ones who got the attention in childhood are the ones who seem to give the least bit of attention to the parent now in dire straits...but that's the way of it. I am so grateful that she recognizes you and I'm sure her heart feels deep love for you. My prayers for you and your mother continue...
hugs
Sandi

Rob-bear said...

Sorry that you are going through all this, CW. I had to do the same with my parents in their 90s, only it meant a move from one community to another. While things didn't go too well initially, they worked out by time they were settled. In the end, neither had mental difficulties, but their bodies gave out.

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Gilly said...

Its such a sad situation, but you have coped brilliantly, not only with your mother, buta also your brother! I'm so pleased there was a continuation between residential and nursing care at your mother's home, it does so make all the difference - to your mother and to you!

Akelamalu said...

I'm glad you were able to get your Mum a place there, it must be so hard for you seeing her deteriorate. :(

Thankyou for your kind comments whilst I have been absent m'dear. x

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Sadly I suspect we are becoming a third world country. Very worrying.

diney said...

This could almost have been written by me as we have had the same situation with my father in law (who I have known all my life - he was our family doctor). It is such a sad, sad time, but thankfully there are some genuinely wonderful people who work in nursing homes. I wouldn't or couldn't do it myself. Have you tried music with your mum - it can evoke a good response as it stirs some memories.Old age is inevitable but so very sad. Pop over and see me if you have time - http://oldermumsarefun.blogspot.com
xx Diney

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Don't know if my comment got through...but I want you to know that I think you are extraordinarily wise, and that you are handling this perfectly! I am so sorry that you must face all this...it is so heartbreaking and difficult to watch our loved ones fade. But you have been so good to your mum, and it must be some comfort that she still knows you. You are much in my thoughts...Love you! Janine XO

Working Mum said...

Sounds like you found a lovely, caring place for your mum.

cheshire wife said...

MLJ - sorry to read about your father. You sort of hope that they will get better.

Michelloui - I wish you luck when the time comes.

diney - I am so glad that I did not have to go through this with my father. It would have been unbearable.

WM - yes, I think that I have.

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Susie Vereker said...

You seem to have managed all this very well, CW. Glad you chose the right home.

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