6 weeks later and Mum is still in the original Rest Home ……thereby hangs a tale!
When we made the decision that Mum needed permanent care, we had a meeting with our Social Worker at the Rest Home and after meeting Mum, her advice was that she hadn’t yet deteriorated enough to need an EMI Home and suggested we find an appropriate Rest Home that would take residents with dementia at this stage.
Up to this point, we weren’t too happy with the Rest Home she’d been admitted to – we just felt that although the staff were very kind, they just weren’t up to speed with dementia and worried about how some of them interacted with Mum. We also still worried about her on the first floor. There have been a number of incidents where she was found either going up or coming down the stairs and she really can’t handle stairs.
So we started to look at Rest Homes. Anyone who has had to tackle this task will know how hard it is – it totally drains you, as you approach each one optimistically only to decide that there’s no way on earth your mother is going in there!
We also had problems with many of the Rest Homes not willing to accept Mum because of the dementia. So we began to look at some of the EMI Homes…..and obviously that was even worse. It’s just the nature of what they are -most of them do a great job under very difficult circumstances – but it’s different when it’s your Mum. Mark, Jean and I were also finding it difficult to agree on the type of Home we wanted which made things even worse. And then there was the funding which threw another spanner in the works.
Inevitably, the longer time went on, the more attractive the original Rest Home looked. It’s quite small with only a few people in the communal lounge, the staff are kind, the meals look lovely and it’s not too far to visit. Also as time had passed, the staff had more of a handle on Mum – they understood her better, knew that when she got twitchy she usually wanted to go to the toilet, knew that when they had an entertainer in she preferred to go to a quiet room, knew that she didn’t like joining in games but did like talking to people one-to-one, even if she didn’t make much sense. They had also started to make coffee the way she likes (with evaporated milk) and had bought in a particular fizzy drink she likes as she won’t drink water.
After about 4 weeks, I went on a much-needed holiday which had been arranged for months, in fact Mum had been booked in for respite elsewhere before all this happened. I was away for 2 weeks and shortly after I got back, the Rest Home Manager said she now had a ground floor room come vacant if we wanted it for Mum.
Well, it seemed like fate. I was shown the room which was in a really good spot, near to the staff if she got up in the night and right next door to the bathroom. It was decorated over the next week or so and she moved in there several days ago.
The Rest Home Manager is quite happy to keep Mum on a permanent basis. We know that this may not be possible in the future as Mum’s illness develops but at least it’s a reasonable solution for the timebeing.
We visit Mum every day, sometimes twice a day. We have good visits and bad visits. She still cries quite often and often says she wants to go home. We tell her that she is not strong enough yet and will have to wait until she’s better. Sometimes she accepts this and sometimes not. Her ability to converse has more or less completely gone; she talks quite alot but little of it makes any sense. But she still recognizes her family and often seems really animated, chatting away relentlessly about nothing. She is sleeping well and eating well.
There is no easy answer but we are doing the best we can.