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.