I am going to report more often about my visits to my mother in a nursing home. She has severe arthritis, a broken hip that did not heal, and moderate stage dementia. Naturally most of the posts of caring for someone in a similar situation deal with stress and anxiety. We post because we need advice or want to vent. I thought it might be useful to show another part of the care spectrum.
My mom (we call her Ma) has been a sweet uncomplaining person all her life -- she still is. She was/is a loving mother.
When I arrived today she was sitting outside her room. I introduced myself as I always do and asked if she wanted to go outside.
"Yes, but first I have to go potty."
"OK. I'll call the aides." (It takes 2 people and sit-to-stand machine to transfer her from the wheelchair.)
"Who is that?"
"That is Peter. He is one of the helpers. He will just wait for the other helper to get here." (Peter has been an aide in her unit for all long as she has been there.)
"You mean his going to help me to the bathroom?" (In shocked tones.)
"Yes. He has been trained, he is strong, and he is patient."
"Oh. Do they allow men to help women in the bathroom?"
"Yes, they do here."
"Oh. I think some places won't."
We both shrugged. The other aide came and they got Ma transferred.
I love that she can recognize that things are different than they once were in her world, but that she can shrug and take it in stride!
We did go out to the glider swing. She allowed me to take off her cardigan and her lap blanket! Amazing! She usually freezes all the time. We put them right back on when we got back into the air conditioning.
She noticed berries on a nearby tree and I reminisced with her about a chokecherry tree we once had and how the birds would always pick it clean in a single early morning.
I told her that the back of her hair looked nice and that she must have had it trimmed this week. She frowned in concentration. "I must have. But I don't know who did it or how I got there." I told her the beautician is right in her building and someone just pushes her in her wheelchair. I said I think the beautician's name is Judy. "No," she said, "it is Kathy." (She was right!) Then she remembered that she tried to pay her but that Kathy told her it was already paid for. "Yes," I assured her. "That is paid for and so are all your meals and snacks." She thought that was a very good arrangement, so she doesn't have to carry her purse around.
Nice visit with a nice lady.