Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Week of Change

I can hardly believe it has been 10 days since my last post. I really have no excuse. Family matters have been keeping me busier than usual. My dear, sweet, 81 y/o mother-in-law has severe dementia that has steadily worsened over the last few years. My husband and I have done our best to keep her "independent" for as long as possible. She has been living in an apartment located in a nice retirement center very close to our home. This week, Wednesday actually, we finally admitted her to a full scale nursing center across town. We considered about 4 different facilities, deciding on this one because it had nice wide hallways and several little "meeting" areas. She loves to "walk the halls" and sit and "visit", although her communication skills are almost non-existent now. We checked her in and were setting things up in her new room, while she watched--totally confused about the whole situation and not too happy about it. At one point, while a nurse was interviewing us about her habits, my MIL got up to "go walk", or so we thought. I mentioned to the nurse that this was one reason we had chosen their facility. Not 5 seconds later all sorts of alarms were sounding--my MIL had tried to go out an exterior door!!! Oh my! The decision was made to put a Wanderguard Wrist Band on her. Its purpose is to "lock down" exterior doors when being approached by someone wearing the band. We stayed with her for about 2 hours attempting to help her "settle in" a bit. We finally left, totally exhausted--mentally and physically. We had been gone about 20 minutes when we got a call from the same nurse asking if my MIL could be moved to the Secure Alzheimer's Unit. I guess even the Wanderguard couldn't contain this little 90 pound full blood German lady.
The decision to place her in the Alzheimer's Unit seems to have been for the best. We have visited and she seems almost content. There are several attendants always present and interaction with others is almost mandatory. It also offers access to a nice patio/yard area that she will enjoy.
So this has been a very eventful week for all three of us. I'm sure there will be more stressful days ahead, but I hope they will not compare to last Wednesday.


Ellen Ehle Schaefer said...

What a beautiful woman, Suzanne & Tom. These are the hardest of times for our generation as the parents begin their journeys onward. I have always espoused that when they go, it untethers us from the foundation that connects us to the earth, leaving us floating alone. An unnatural state.
Alzheimers only makes it harder because they are still here yet not here and their past is lost to them and to us as well.
You are doing the very best for her. I send my love.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

((((hugs)))) !