I’ve had a comparatively easy road on this journey we all share. My heart breaks when I read what some of you are dealing with. And I try to share when I have a thought or idea that may be helpful.
In May I travelled back east, as it was time to move my folks from the AL section of their facility to skilled care after dad experienced a series of falls on his head. His falls could not have been prevented and I do not blame the facility. Dad’s dementia had progressed to the point where he did not understand his issues with balance and weakening muscles. That combined with his stubbornness and pride led him to sneak behaviors that were too risky.
Till then mom, who’s AD had been causing her dementia to progress more rapidly than dad’s, had been somewhat dependent on him in the AL. They refused most, if not all, help from staff beyond passing meds and shower assistance. But dad’s falls changed all of that, and they changed him. He became a dementia patient with TBI.
So we moved them. It was, as each prior move had been, traumatic for them. But I was able to stay with them 12 hours a day for two weeks to help with the adjustment. Then I had to return to the job that helps support some of their care. Ultimately, they could not remain in the same wing. Dad’s personality change was too dramatic, and mom needed a different kind of care, so she was moved one more time to the memory care unit.
I had been dealing well with their decline. But I’ve fallen into a bit of a depression now and I finally figured out why. There are no phones in my parents’ rooms now. When they are in a panic, or upset, or just need help figuring something out, they can no longer call me. This used to happen at least weekly, sometimes daily. And I can no longer call them on a whim and know they will answer. I must go through the nurses’ stations and hope my folks are available. While I am fortunate enough that they still seem to know who I am, or at least that I am someone they know, they are both less and less able to understand how to converse on the phone.
I guess the loss has finally become real. And for the first time since this all started, I can do nothing to help. I’m very blessed in that my folks are in a terrific place. Maybe not beautiful, modern, well-staffed, or fancy, but every single staff person cares. It is the same facility where my grandparents stayed when he got leukemia and she got AD. My grandmother lived there for 15 years until the early 1990’s when she finally passed away. Her sister, my mother’s aunt is also there now, with dementia. One of the nurses in AL even remembers caring for my grandmother. I love the staff there like family.
I guess I’m adjusting, grieving a bit perhaps, and I needed tell someone. Thank you all for making this a safe place to share. Thank you for the care and support you provide to your loved ones and each other. Bless you all.