The thought of moving a loved one into a nursing home brings out a lot of scary feelings. There are good homes out there but all of them get a bad rap when any story of neglect comes along. The important thing to keep in mind is that, even when you find a good one, there will still be bumps along the way as the staff of the facility and your loved one adjust to each other.
Another thing to remember is that new and beautiful doesn’t mean good care and old doesn’t mean bad care. Clean with a loving staff beats an overworked staff whether the facility is new or old. Daddy was in a very old nursing home but it was clean and the people were kind.
We found a good place for Mom and each day she seems more adjusted to her new home. She still has her room in the larger area of the home and day programs in the smaller area for those in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. There was the possibility of moving her into the smaller area but a gentleman in much more need of that room moved in recently. Mom is handling the current situation just fine and, as a testament to the staff, the gentleman that moved in has gone from seeming like an empty shell on the day he moved in to a smiling, happy guy ready to play games or sway to music.
Over the last month we, the staff and I, have been fine-tuning Mom’s care. The first couple of weeks Mom’s hair seemed to always be dirty – until I mentioned that her shampoo was in her closet. She probably would have told them to use the soap and that nice, moisturizing soap I bought for her would have made her hair look dirty. Early on I also found that they were not putting a corn pad between her toes as I had listed on her care information. Consequently, her feet began to hurt when she walked. Again, I called it to the attention of the care coordinator and with just a few stumbles along the way, the staff has her toes looking fine again.
The air conditioner has also been a fun adjustment for all. Mom hates moving air, especially when it is cold, but after many adjustments, we seem to have found the answer. We increased the temperature to match that of the area where she day programs and the maintenance man has offset the cover of the unit so that the air no longer blows directly out.
With Mom settling in, it’s time for me to decide my next step. I want to keep flexibility in my schedule so that I can continue to watch over Mom and her care. Given the economic times, I have a couple of possibilities floating through my mind. I started making jewelry while Mom was still living with me and I will soon set up a website to sell them. The next step will be to jump back into temporary work. I like the flexibility of it and the diversity of the assignments. Hmmmm, and maybe some alteration work (bridesmaid dresses, hems, etc.)…