Mom seemed to be settling in at Emeritus. She was going down to the dining hall for her meals, dressing herself and trying to put on makeup. Her outfit, when we went to see her that Saturday, was a little bolder than what she generally wore: cleavage-revealing long blouse over lycra leggings and topped with a denim jacket. Hmm.
Seated in the dining room and finishing up her dinner, we chatted with Mom and her dinner companion, a very nice lady who was hard of hearing and a Yankee fan. Mom told us her “ex” had been involved with this poor woman too. He had since moved on to a 16-year-old!
“He spotted me as soon as I got back. He said ‘I knew you’d be here’.” She beamed at the recollection.
When she would move in a certain way or laugh, her left side still hurt. She decided that she had surgery on that side and was still recovering. That accounted for why she had been away in the hospital.
We went to the community room upstairs where a movie was cued to be shown on the big TV. We chatted a while longer. We were near the Wellness office and I asked if Mom was being given anything for the pain in her left side. A nurse came over and brought her acetaminophen.
Bob and I had a date to meet friends for dinner. We bade Mom good bye and went to our next stop.
I called Mom the next day, Sunday. I asked her how she liked the movie and she said it was pretty good. She recalled the basics. She’d had a nice breakfast. Okay. So far so good.
Monday, the call came. “Tracey, your mother tried to leave on her own. Twice. She needs to be watched around the clock. You have to hire one on one caregivers.”
What about the “memory wing”? There are no beds available, but they would check at sister facilities.
Oh crap. I was given a contact for an agency with which Emeritus works. $19/hour, 24 hours a day. Totally affordable if you’re Warren Buffet. $456 a day until they could find a “live in” which would knock it down to $205 a day. And that’s in addition to being charged a higher level of care from Emeritus! And I still haven’t been able to jump through all the Genworth hoops to get reimbursed for the care she’s been getting at Emeritus since April.
I dug out a note I’d scribbled a couple of weeks ago. Martina from A Place For Mom (a placement agency) had recommended Potomac Group Homes. They’re a facility that’s strictly for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
I called the gal who handles admissions. Their facility in Montville currently has only 7 residents. This would be perfect for Mom. One of her triggers is seeing groups of people talking without including her. Her immediate thought is “conspiracy.” They’re setting her up for something. And then she acts out. In a small setting with few residents and constant attention, she would no doubt be more comfortable. The “holistic” approach they offer aims to limit medication and emphasize accommodating the resident’s specific needs and desires. They don’t take Medicaid, but they promise to help find the appropriate next facility for Mom when the time comes. I’ve got almost five years to worry about it. Average life expectancy for people with Mom’s issues is about five years anyway. Meanwhile, I’d just be happy to get her to stay in one place for a few months without urgent phone calls for a change.
They’ve already assessed her, and Potomac is ready to bring Mom in. I just have to sign the papers and give them a check. And they’re an all-inclusive facility. They charge one price (significantly lower than Emeritus and other larger facilities) for all levels of service. It’s a lovely place, too. Very warm and homey, with special areas that accommodate people with Mom’s kinds of issues.
So today, I’m off to sign papers, get some administrative concerns addressed and set a move in date. Then, I pack up her clothes and personal effects, set up her room for her and arrange to have Mom moved to her new place. For two weeks, they don’t want me to see her so they can help acclimate and stabilize her.
Then my niece will go to Mom’s apartment and take her beautiful bedroom set and other items she might need to set up her first apartment on her own. Poor kid is excited but feels bad about the circumstances. I told her to be happy. She’s giving these lovely things a new home. Mom won’t be needing them any longer; she’s becoming a different person with very different needs. And I pray that the new place will serve those needs and others to come in the months that lay ahead.