Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
     I have to say, this is the post I've been most anxious to get to...  I would like to call it "The Day Things Got a Whole Lot Better"!!!!!!
     The morning of Thursday, July 24th I was awakened by an early morning phone call.  It was a social worker from my mom's new home.  Of course, my heart stopped for a second as she quickly introduced herself and continued to say that they were noticing that my mom was not engaging socially and that they would like my permission to move her to the third floor which is their memory care floor.  There, they have more specialized care and activities which they believe would give my mom a better quality of life.  (Insert choir of angels singing - Hallelujah!!!)
     This was what I had been hoping for!!!  When I toured this nursing community, they told me their third floor had 20 beds and was their "serenity" "memory care" floor.  On one of my tours, I did ask to see the third floor.  I remembered it was very calm, quiet, and I just instinctively knew that was where my mom should be.  However, I don't think you can "request" to be there -- it is based on evaluation and availability.  The truth is, I hoped that if I stayed quiet and let them see my mom's needs that she would eventually be moved out of that dinky little room.  I also don't think it was a coincidence that I received this call three weeks to the day that my mom moved in. 
     After I got the lump out of my throat, I said, "Yes, that would be wonderful - I think that is where she belongs."  Although mostly happy, I'd be lying if I didn't say that it still hurts my heart when a health care professional validates what I already know, which is that my mom needs a higher level of care and that she is unable to engage socially on her own.
     They said, "great, then we will probably move her this morning or this afternoon".  They said I did not need to be there.  That was also good news, as I wasn't sure I could be there right away.  However, my mom's BFF, Jane, had also planned to visit that same day.  I let her know about the last minute move and she and her husband kept their plan to visit thinking their being there might also help my mom make this transition.  I was so relieved!!! 
    As you know, it was difficult but a big relief for me to move my mom into this skilled nursing community.  This news of a move to memory care was when I really started feeling better about everything!      
     Although I don't have pictures of my mom's visit with her BFF, I did hear it went very well.  They stayed with my mom for several hours and joined in on the activities and watched my mom's physical therapy.  They were impressed by the attentiveness that the staff gave and how residents were not just left sitting in their rooms, but were being engaged in activities.
     I was anxious to get over to visit and was able to do so later that evening.  Apparently, I had just missed my mom's friends, but I can tell you this was my best visit thus far!!!
     Her room was much larger and in a nice corner location with a window overlooking the main entrance. 

The picture below is taken standing in my mom's doorway.  A fish tank to the left and a tv/sitting area to the right just outside her door.

This (below) is my mom's roommate's area.  Her roommate's name is Joy.  She is extremely quiet and I don't think she sees well or speaks very much.  She looks like a nice lady, and I hope that one of these days I will learn more about her. 

Below is my mom's side of the room.  A nice bright window, a chair for us to visit and a much bigger space. 

Her tv area is similar to the other, although this room came with it's own flat
screen television (bonus!)

This is the view looking down the hall from my mom's doorway.  The television is right next to the plant.

One funny side note that I had totally forgotten about...  There are two cats that live on this floor.  The first day I was there they jumped on my mom's bed.  I had to laugh to myself because I am allergic to cats and have no idea whether my mom is as we have never owned cats.  The cat below is "exactly" like one of the cats my husband owned when I met him.  I loved that cat!  My allergies seem to only come into play if I pet them excessively or if they sleep on my blankets or bedding.  Thankfully, they have had no affect on me or my mom, but I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if a resident was allergic.  I can tell you it would have to be pretty serious before I would prevent my mom from living on this floor!! 

One of my next visits she had "wings" on her wheelchair -- I think they had some kind of wheelchair beautification day!?  Doesn't she even seem happier!?

Here a physical therapist is getting ready to work with her.  She used her walker and walked me to the elevator.  She did pretty good, but still needs the wheelchair.

I got my husband to make a visit with me.  I'm kind of glad he was with me because when I walked in my mom's room she was holding this "baby" and I swear from a distance and the way she was holding "her" it looked real.  Immediately I was kind of concerned because she was sitting near her roommate's bed and I thought it was probably her roommate's doll.  I thought perhaps my mom had gone through her things.  However, when a staff member came by and I asked about it she said that it was a community baby doll and that she was the one who had put my mom near her roommates bed because my mom wanted to put the baby to bed there.   (I guess "Muffin" might have some competition now with this baby!)

I am slowly adding some photos and trying to make this room look more like my mom's own.

Below is the beginning of my plan for the wall --but I haven't had a chance to
finish my wall décor yet!!

We watched the Tiger game as my mom tried to keep the pacifier in the baby's mouth... 

I love the light coming through my mom's window as the last room was often dark because there was only one shared window as her roommate was usually sleeping.

Never hurts to have a few angels around either. Things are looking up!!!!



Julia said...

I'm glad your mom is doing better there and that you have peace of mind..That doll looks like a real baby.
Have a great week.


RockinMom said...

The new room looks wonderful. Your mom does look happy in the pictures.

Kim said...

I have tears running down my face after reading this. I am so happy for your Mom. This set up looks perfect. This is the kind of care every Alzheimer's patient should receive. So happy for you both!

Kerri said...

What an awesome update Cindy! I am so happy for your mom...she does look happier! It seems this place is doing a better job caring for your mom and keeping her busy. I loved her dressed up wheel chair and that the residents were getting hand massages...a baby doll to share, fish and birds...seems like a very loving facility. Yay!

yaya said...

I'm so happy for your Mom and for you! The room and the floor looks like a great place for her...I too thought the baby was real when I saw the pic! Hope it continues to go well. Nice to have a bigger space too!

judith lockhart said...

So glad that your Mom seems to be doing so well in her new surroundings! It looks like a lovely place and I know it must give you some real peace of mind. The baby doll looks almost real!

Jennifer said...

That room is WAY better! Way better. And OMG that doll would have freaked me out too. I glanced at the picture before I read it and was like who did she borrow a baby from???