At the hospital we met with the doctors and a consulting psychologist who said that dementia/Alzheimer’s had already been diagnosed and confirmed, going into a home with full-time care was really the only option, in addition it should be done as soon as possible as it was imperative to have someone cease preying on my mother.
A little easier said than done, a home must be found, papers and applications must be filled in, and a power of attorney must be sought with a mother who has become a bad tempered child fighting every inch of the way. The only thing that kept me from faltering was the fact that all the medical staff and social workers who had met my mother said the decline was now too great to continue on.
Finding a Home
I did my research finding a home that had moderate, full and frail care; I hoped that with medication, three meals a day and a routine that would enable my mother to live comfortably. Touring the home I found all the residents friendly and well cared for, there was a library, two TV rooms, a dining room that did not smell of stale food, laundry facilities as well as a hair dresser and a tuck shop. My mother hated it. It was full of old people, she was young and she was going to run away the first chance she got. When I told my friends, while commiserating they laughed and said Lisa sounded like an unruly teenager who was not getting her way.
I decided the home was a good fit for my mother, in fact when I need a home, I thought I would not mind living there. So feeling happier I met with Gloria the administrator who gave me the applications, advised that Lisa would have to come in for an assessment with the medical staff and social worker to determine the correct care that Lisa required, no problem I made another appointment.
I took my mother to meet the staff where they confirmed the medical assessment and then they simply asked about her daily routine and what she did with her time with confirmation from me. Did she have family? What where their names? Where did she live? What were her hobbies? They finally asked her the date today, the 18th, what month? October, what year? 1990 Lisa said proudly. Oh dear what a wake-up call.
At that point they said Lisa would have to go into frail care, more money I thought feeling bad for both of us. There was only one question left for me, everyone in frail care was in poor health physically but Lisa was quite active not needing any aids, was not incontinent and she had recovered physically at least from the car accident, the problem was that Lisa went out all the time and especially at night; in effect she is a wanderer. I did not know this but once you have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s in Canada it is reported to the RCMP who places that person onto a “Wandering” file. In most cases the wanderer goes to the same place and the police pick them up there. Unfortunately many go out in nightgown/pajamas without shoes in extreme weather and perish. Regrettably the home advised that Lisa would have to go into frail care at another home as they would not be able to place her at their home as there were too many exits that were unguarded and that Lisa should be placed in a more secure home which I later found out was lock down. It was advised that the disease would only get worse and that Lisa should be placed properly now, not later. I sat there while it all sunk in, she was that bad but I was still unsure, but they were the people who dealt with this on a daily basis and I did not. The amazing thing was that Lisa just sat there not participating or saying anything. Reluctant to move, I realized I was in shock, I needed confirmation that they would not take my mother, we won’t they replied and if they wouldn’t who would? I needed some additional guidance and options on what to do next.