Transitioning to a nursing home has not been as difficult as I had expected for my mom. Placing her in a home was one of my greatest fears in life; never did I want to disappoint my mother and put her in a facility.
My Mom's mother and sister lived their lives in different facilities, neither got many visitors, both were abandoned. My mom unintentionally abandoned her sister and mother in her attempt to survive in a world with her own family.
I always wondered about my Grandmother. I wanted to know her but she had dementia; the crazy gene. I will never forget the visit in 1968 to the mental institution. Like I've said before, this visit is what sealed the deal for my mom having me as her Caregiver when she became old like her mom.
Nursing homes do have a lousy stigma to this day, they can be sad places. What makes homes more pleasant are the visitors; lots of visitors give patients hope.
My mom's home is a sad place for some of the residents; no one visits them. Day in and day out they sit and wait, most have no idea what's going on but I have witnessed that these folks react to human interaction. A smile and add a warm, "HI! How are you today?" I get a smile.
I visit the home every day. It's the right thing to do for my mother to help her get acclimated and for the nurses and aides to learn how I had been managing my mom when she was home. The nurses thank me for my time; it's helping my mom's transition go more smoothly.
The home is a little understaffed so I make sure to arrive at meal time to help my mom eat. I get her started, feeding her one spoonful and before I know it she is taking the utensil from me and feeding herself. She's messy; thank God for cleaning people.
My mom had a mad rash on her fanny. She had diarrhea from the antibiotics to cure her UTI. The Probiotic that she was prescribed wasn't doing the trick so I have been giving her the 50 Billion, Critical Care probiotic. She is feeling better. No more runs. The rash is going away.
Sitting too long in the wheelchair and not walking contributed to her latest issue with the rash and a UTI. Mom wouldn't walk. She was scared; frightened that she would fall.
Every day I coached her. First, I got her to stand up; when she was too scared, she sat down. The next day, she took a few steps to the toilet. Followed by a day where she shocked everyone, walking with me down the hall.
"She can walk?!" The staff was pleasantly surprised.
"Just wait until she starts dancing." I added.
Yesterday I took her outside for a walk on the grounds of the facility. I played Frank Sinatra on my iPad and we walked.
"Oh, I need to sit." My mom exclaimed.
"OK. Just a few more steps, let's walk to that chair over there." I encouraged my mom.
She did it. She was so proud of herself. She sat and crossed her legs and drank her coffee. "Ah, the sun feels good."
Visiting every day is helping my mom to adjust. The staff are learning more quickly how to help my mom. She isn't drugged.
Sleeping has been an issue for my mom so I have been going every night after dinner and giving her the homeopathic remedy that I always gave her to help her sleep. It works great.
Unfortunately, the nurses can't give it to my mom because the doctor didn't order it. I will ask the doctor to allow the nurses to give my mom the harmless homeopathic remedy. I will need to put on my best sales hat to sell the home's traditional doctor on the benefit. I am my mom's Healthcare Proxy; she has to listen to me.
Mom's making friends. She is starting to talk; folks are seeing her humorous side. One day I brought her some food and the nurse gave it to her. My mom wouldn't eat it. The nurse said, "But your daughter brought this for you." My mom's reply, "I don't care!" That's my mom.
Visits make a difference to folks in a nursing home. Even though you may THINK that they don't know you are there, the person really does know. They may not be able to speak to you to acknowledge your presence, but your visit matters and makes a difference in the quality of their day.
Savita the Cat is becoming a celebrity. She still travels around the home with different residents. Yesterday, I walked my mom around the floor looking for Savita. One of the staff found her with one of the residents, Helen. She had her hidden in her lap. When Savita was returned to my mom, her face was stained with milk... someone was trying to "feed her" and give her a little bit of their milk.
The nursing home transition is important; families and friends are what make it easier for the person we love.