18 months on without writing a post! There have been some changes though.
Last summer we had to transfer Mum to yet another EMI Home.
Her deterioration had been fairly slow generally. However in recent months her mobility had definitely worsened. The staff had begun using a wheelchair to transfer her to the toilet and to meals and she had a habit of pulling backwards when staff tried to encourage her to walk. They said there was a health and safety risk both for Mum and staff as ‘transfer’ from chair to wheelchair had become very difficult. They had no hoist and the layout of the Home was such that they didn’t really have the space for one.
We were very upset at this change as we were generally pleased with the home and particularly with the staff and the way they looked after Mum.
When the time came to start looking for a new Home we were absolutely dreading going through the same rigmarole. But of course we had to do it and were quite relieved when we found a suitable Home we all agreed on. They assessed Mum and felt they were well equipped to meet her needs.
We moved her one Sunday in August last year. She didn’t seem to realise what was happening and was quite happy sitting in her wheelchair in the taxi for half an hour. There was a ball game in progress in the lounge when we arrived and she happily joined in. So we left in her the staff’s capable hands while feeling terrified at whether she’d settle.
We were very surprised when the Manager informed us that she didn’t think Mum needed a hoist at the moment. They had her walking from the first day, somewhat reluctantly but walking nevertheless! Apart from the odd occasion when she hasn’t been too well, she hasn’t been in the wheelchair since arriving there…….very strange. The new Home is much more spacious than the previous one so maybe staff find it easier to manoeuvre her as she needs the support of 2 staff when walking. It’s a shame because on balance we do prefer the previous home – particularly the staff interaction.
Our misgivings with the new Home are probably more to do with our feelings than Mum’s. She looks more unkempt and she won’t wear her top set of dentures which obviously makes her appear worse. However her physical needs are being met and she remains surprisingly healthy. She has lost weight but apparently this is quite normal (and she had plenty of weight to lose!)
At the end of the day we were just relieved to find somewhere for her as it appear to be becoming increasingly difficult to find vacancies as no new Homes are being opened to cater for the ever-increasing numbers of elderly suffering with dementia. It seems tragic that we have had to place Mum in 3 Homes so far. In our view this is because all the Homes are run on such a tight budget they have to fill a room as soon as it becomes vacant and their assessment of suitability does not take into account a resident’s future requirements. I guess the problem is that each person deteriorates in a different way and some faster than others. Let’s hope we don’t have to move her again.
Se still recognises her immediate family and calls us by name. She talks but makes no sense apart from the very rare occasion. She still loves her food and can manage to eat in her own fashion. She still laughs at her own private jokes and still cries occasionally.
And so it continues………