For several months, my siblings and I visited a variety of communities to determine if we might be able to find a better place for my Mom. My Mom is in a very nice Assisted Living facility, but it’s geared to help a variety of individuals manage the activities of daily living (ADLs). When you have dementia, just having help and reminders is not enough. Most of the activities aren’t geared to someone with dementia, and we believe my Mom needs a different environment.
Two weeks ago, my Mom’s current community launched a daytime program to engage her, and five other residents from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. While my Mom can’t remember her day to share it with me, I have found a very different person when I visit now. On my last two visits, my Mom wasn’t sleeping but was sitting out in the courtyard peacefully on a rocking chair. While we are chatting, another resident walks by and my Mom raises her hand and cheerfully waves to someone I recognize, but have never met. The new program seems to be agreeing with my Mom.
I retained one of the women who we hired to help my Mom when she was going through periods of “unbecoming behavior.” She has earned my Mom’s trust and offers my Mom companionship at dinner as well as can help ensure Mom’s laundry get’s done. My Mom usually hides her laundry making it difficult for the staff to be able to simply offer her that support. We still have a few gaps in her care (showering and general personal hygiene).
So many of the challenges in my Mom’s care have been to help us address behavior that doesn’t quite fit into the standard care needs for someone in Assisted Living. For that reason, we have put her on a wait list at a facility that is only geared to help its residents who have dementia. The idea of moving my Mom makes my tummy hurt and my heart race. But I was never of the belief the journey would get easier. Fortified.