Take a deep breath in, and let it out... I've had to do a lot of that in the past two weeks in particular! What a couple of weeks it's been. I knew we were getting closer on getting the Medicaid and financial assistance needed to place my mom into this (picture above) American House senior living facility. As they say, timing is everything, and the timing was either perfect or terrible on this, depending on how you look at it. As I indicated here, things were starting to come together with my mom and her living situation needs. Finally, on Wednesday, August 24th (of course, the week that my husband had taken his vacation time) we received the "go ahead" to move my mom into the senior living facility I was hoping to locate her in. I went over that evening and signed her lease (as DPOA) and then had my brother bring her over for their first look at the American House. I had avoided bringing her until I knew her moving in was a reality because it would just make her anxious and confused. Luckily, neither my brother or my mom had a bad thing to say about it. This was (finally) the exciting news I had been waiting for. Then came the logistics...
We coordinated a moving schedule with my brother and my husband. We rented a moving truck and on Sunday, August 28th "the boys" moved my mom's furniture to her new senior apartment, and I followed along with some odds and ends. Then on Monday, August 29th me and Megan brought over some of her personal items and set up her bathrooms, etc... (yes, she has 2 bathrooms!). On Tuesday I decided to bring my mom back over for another look at the American House...she had been asking a lot of questions about the "carpet" and "cupboards" (of all things!?) and was excited to see her furniture. When we got there, she kept commenting how she was "so glad we didn't bring that gold and black furniture". (In the 70s, our family had velvet black and gold furniture...which apparently was stylish at the time... That furniture has been long gone.)
Next, I decided to have her practice walking down the hall with her new wheel walker (with seat). This ended up being a disaster -- both emotionally and physically. My mom was sloooowly "stutter walking" her way down the hall and the walker would quickly get away from her and she would almost fall. She was not able to coordinate the use of the hand brakes on the walker. If you don't know what stutter walking is...well, neither did I until I saw it for myself. She leans too far forward, gets up on her toes a bit, and then her foot shakes but doesn't actually take a step... You could tell it took every ounce of concentration for her to be able to walk. After lots of trial...my mom became short of breath and I ended up having her sit on the walker seat and pushing her back to the apartment. I think that is about when I nearly had a nervous breakdown (whatever that is!?), afterall, I was planning to move her in the next day.
Let me back up and share one more thing, since me and my daughter were gone the night before, my mom apparently had put herself to bed. In the morning we discovered that she had slept the entire night with her feet still on the floor and her head on the pillow (with her shoes still on with her pajamas). Ugh!
So, again, my plan was to move my mom in the next day and stay with her to get her acclimated. Although I will be the first to admit that after our trial "walk" down the hall, panic began to set in and all I could do is pray she would be able to walk better the next day. I also had her go to bed extra early just to be safe. Thankfully, she did do better the next day!
After we woke up the first morning, my mom and I had a scheduled a meeting with the Area Agency on Aging nursing evaluator and social worker. These were the same people I had previously met with in July. They confirmed that my mom was approved for Medicaid and were there to help determine what services she would need while living there. They were very nice and the meeting went well. It was clear they were interested in helping my mom. Here is an idea of what we came up with for help she is to receive:
- AM Care (which includes waking her by a set time, helping her dress as needed and addressing any laundry needs, making up the bed, sponge bath, giving her medication, and escorting her to breakfast)
- Escorting her to lunch and back
- A midday check
- Escort her to dinner and back, giving medication
- PM Care including help dressing for bed and putting her to bed to ensure she goes to bed and positions herself properly
- Showering a minimum of 2x weekly
From the facility itself, she also receives laundry services and light housekeeping in addition to activities and meals.
By then, it was Labor Day weekend and things were a little unsettled because of staff and workers having vacation plans. My goal was to be the "fly on the wall" there to help my mom feel comfortable while overseeing if/when her services were being provided as requested and, if not, getting in touch with the appropriate person to see that my mom was taken care of. After just two nights, I felt comfortable enough to go home for the night. Afterall, once she was in bed, theoretically, things would be okay since I knew she would receive help again in the morning. Plus, it was 3 days until school started for my kids and they needed -- there was lots to do!
Since then, I have been over there a minimum of twice a day. I have seen signs of her becoming more relaxed with her living arrangements and surroundings. I was also there giving her medications twice daily until the medical staff was able to obtain all of her prescriptions. As of this past Saturday, they have taken over monitoring her medication as well. This, of course, is a big time saver for me, as I had been doing that and all of the other assistance listed above.
Fast forward to now, and I feel confident I have placed her in a good environment with the appropriate services she needs. I am grateful to everyone who has helped by providing their emotional support along the way, particularly the American House staff and my friend, Alyce.
Although I am still very involved in my mom's care, I now have room to breathe and perhaps go back to being more of a daughter and less of a nurse!
Sorry for the long post if anyone is still reading, but a lot has happened and I wanted to get my thoughts down as well as share with you! I will continue to post about my mom on Mondays to update how things are going!! *
View from the Balcony
*I would also like to thank, on my mom's behalf, her good friend Sue for the pretty vase of Gerber daisies she brought over on her recent visit to my mom.
My mom said she wanted me to bring thank you notes over for her to write to you. Unfortunately, the last several times I had my mom try to write a note, she is simply incapable of producing anything coherent or legible. Regardless, please know that we are grateful for your thoughtfulness.
Nancy and Donna, the same goes for you...I can't thank you enough for your support of me and my mom. We love the smiley flower arrangement!
Thanks Nancy and Donna!