I love my mom. She had me at a very late age as far as pregnancy goes. My husband and I have been taking care of her for about 14 years now due to Dementia. She lives with us and I will tell you why.
When I first bought my home I had a lot of carpet and tile to replace. I didn’t want my mom having to deal with a new home and all the repair noise. We thought the best thing to do would be to place her in this adorable senior assisted living facility about three blocks away. I am very blessed to have found a great home with a pool and all the amenities.
I often visited my mom after work along with our dog. The other residents loved the visits and they were all animal lovers. I bought my home in the summer and California afternoons and nights are so scenic and wonderful for entertaining. After I got the house finished I invited the owner of the facility and my moms closest friends from the home over for dinner. Most of them had early dementia and they could still walk and they were glad to get out . If I had only known what I had ignited in them over the next few weeks I wouldn’t have had them over.
My kids who were in Jr High at the time visited mom a lot and I thought that was great. One day my son came home and looked puzzled. “Mom did one of grandma’s friends from the facility get better?” I didn’t know what he meant. He pointed out the window and there was my mom’s room mate from the nursing home walking by with one of my neighbor’s dogs following her. I was shocked couldn’t imagine how she got out of the facility and how she got to my house. She saw me and explained that I said they were welcome any time. I did say that but I meant authorized times when the nurse from the center was with her. Oh boy. I immediately called the home and drove her back to the facility.
I was really alarmed and worried about if my mom would somehow escape and be lost or on my steps the next day. The nurse assured me it was OK and that this had never happened before.
Well unfortunately it did happen again. It was the same lady and the next couple of days she said I had stolen her Schnauzer Snuggles and she wanted him back. I felt so bad because I had a dog but he was mine and she thought he was hers. I drove her back and then my mom saw me in the lobby. Mom started to get angry and asked why I was spending so much time with her room mate and driving her around. That was an awkward conversation.
By the end of the month I decided Mom should come live with us because if the other lady escaped mom might leave with her one day too. It’s good to have them close by but if the determination is there they just might be on the porch when you get home.
Please make sure the facility is well staffed and has security measures. I can’t imagine what would have happened to that poor lady if I hadn’t been home those few times.
Angela Holmes is a blogger on family caregiving and has taken care of both dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers.