Monday Memories With My Mom

The Adventures of Caring for a Mom With Alzheimer's Disease
    The day after my last post, I headed over to visit and check on my mom.  Originally, she was napping in her chair in the commons area.  Unfortunately, I always tend to arrive around the same time...after lunch.  This means they have already had showers, breakfast, lunch, and at least one activity.  So, it's not terribly surprising that it is "nap time".  A couple of staff members told me my mom was actually asking where I was...  That was kind of exciting, as I have not known her to do that very often.  One of them told her I was probably "at home" and my mom asked what I was doing.  The staff member said, "Oh, she is probably cooking dinner or something" to which my mom replied, "Oh no, she is not!!"   Shoe wasn't buying it and since it was about 1 pm I can say there would be a small chance I would be cooking dinner! 
     While she was napping, I took the opportunity to straighten things in her bedroom.  She is almost never in there when I visit, but I still like to oversee her "things" and mail and try to make sure everything is in order.  I took down the Christmas cards and displayed some of the other cards as I know she always likes to see her "cards".  The staff is amazed how many she gets and have commented several times about her "popularity".  It's sweet, but really to me it has more to do with how little mail some of the other residents may get.  Alzheimer's and memory issues have a way of making friends and family in your life gradually disappear.
     It's always nice when the staff has the time to chat and fill me in on how my mom is doing.  Not long after I pulled a chair up near my mom, Linda arrived and an activity was about to start.  It was trivia time once again, so I decided to stay.  It had been awhile since I hung out with everyone for trivia and I wanted to see how my mom's skills were. 

The Captive Audience
      We joined in a bit late, and I noticed the lady in pink and the lady in navy blue on the far end were getting most of the answers.  I am again reminded to never judge a book by it's cover -- as I bet may people would doubt how sharp these ladies actually are!!  Questions about celebrities, inventors, historical figures, etc.  I also was reminded how much my mom just loves watching Linda as she is very animated in her descriptions, hints, and impersonations when the residents need help in getting to the answers.  I believe I said this before, but my mom will say the answer to me but not out loud.  I am convinced (because I know my mom so well) it is partially because she does not want to interrupt Linda.  To her, Linda is a one-woman show with all her singing, comedy and impersonations. 
Hanging on her every word...
     My mom did okay, but those other two ladies brains were all warmed up and they were on their game.  Of course, my competitiveness always comes out and I want to shout out the answers!!  For whatever reason, one of the only people they could not come up with was "Cinderella".  All the clues were given, but nobody came up with it.  I wanted to shout out "didn't any of you watch The Bachelor last night"??  Ya know, when Jade got to have a one-on-one date and be Cinderella!!??  Ha!  Don't worry, I didn't really do it! 
     During my visit, I couldn't help but notice one of the residents, Pat, was in bed in her room.  At one point when they checked on her and I noticed there was some concern and they were monitoring her vitals.  Her room is across the hall from my mom's.  You can tell she is a much older lady, but she is also still very sharp and usually out and about.  I couldn't help but be concerned, and I heard them talk about continuing to monitor her.   
     I had to pick up Jacob at school, so I headed out while my mom was being entertained and snapped a couple of pictures as I left.  I noticed one of the head nurses was also at the nurse's station on my way out, so I took the opportunity to ask them if they were monitoring my mom's blood levels for a particular medication she takes.  They said it was in their records so I did not need to remind them.  That was good to know as the first time I asked about it they were not aware of it. 
     Then, the nurse asked me about one of her medications.  I told her she was on it because she has lupus.  Apparently, they did not have a record of her having this condition except from my forms that I filled out.  Hard to believe she has lived there six months now, and we are still sorting things out.  I was told repeatedly that they did not want my mom's medical records when she moved in.  I still do not understand that.  Now, I am at least having her diagnostic records sent over.  I remember my mom's neurologist, at my request, sent her records to this nursing community before we were even admitted.  I was told to do that by several social workers as a means of trying to get our foot in the door and speed things along once we were admitted.  After that, they told me not to send any more records, blah blah blah.  So, I didn't want to irritate them when I was trying to get her admitted. 
     Well, now here we are and there are pieces of my mom's health records that they obviously do not have.  That said, I cannot complain much as the day to day care seems to be very good and my mom has not been harmed by the omission.
     Now that the staff put my mom in a bit more comfortable wheelchair, her first one is folded up.  My brother is going to store it in my mom's condo basement.  I also took the opportunity ask the staff about her walker.  It's been in her bedroom all this time, but I was quite certain she never used it.  As I suspected, the staff said she no longer uses it so we will be storing that as well.  I am still not used to the wheelchair and it makes me sad to put the walker away.  However, I looked back and my mom's repeated falls started happening about a year ago and we certainly don't want to go through all of that again.
     They have lift thing they use to transfer most of the residents which looks like this.  I had actually never seen one in use until my mom moved to this nursing community. 

     Those blue seat pads fold up and then the person grabs that blue bar until they are standing and then they either stay standing or rest on the blue seat as they are wheeled to bed or whatever. 
     So many changes, but my mom seems as happy and healthy as can be!



RockinMom said...

I love that they do trivia with the residents. I also would have had to fight back the urge to get real competitive. Sometimes I just can't help it! ;) Glad to see your mom is doing well.

Julia said...

Thanks for the update Cindy. It looks like your mom is well taken care of and is happy and they have some well run programs for the residents.

Have a nice week.

Kim said...

It really helps to have a great Activity Director. My Mom loved her cards. We always had a pile on hand and she would spent lots of time looking at every one. Every few days I would rotate them, so she had different pics to look at so she wouldn't get bored.

judith lockhart said...

Always good to hear your update and see your Mom is doing well!

yaya said...

I think this facility is a really good one, but I don't get why they don't want her medical history? Anyway, I'm so glad she's doing well. You must be able to rest a bit better knowing they take good care of her. Of course, with her family members looking out for her and you always making sure all is well, she's in good hands!