The Second Home
There are some homes that provide floors with limited access but in reality it is lock down care, in Lisa’s case it would have to be private as the waiting list for province home care was just too long. I began contacting the homes. There were no vacancies at the first two but at the third there was, would she like to make an appointment, yes she would.
I took my mother with me to the appointment. As soon as we arrived she became agitated and said she was not moving in it was too far from the center and so on. I left her eating a bag of chips in reception and went on the tour with Anne, The room was bright and sunny with an en-suite bathroom that even though she demanded had definitely not been using to bathe or wash recently. Most importantly it was available. Anne was kind but firm, and advised that “the Lisa” I knew was not the person she once was, she was “leaving” mentally. Anne showed me the floor where my mother would spend her days when the dementia became too bad. This ward was of people who were shells, empty of who they once had been, little movement sitting in a row with vacant bland stares. I could not wait to leave.
Anne advised on the rules and what my mother could bring in and what she could not. There are differing rules for different types of care. There were more forms to be filled in, another interview to be had and confirmation that payment would be assured and that this was indeed the most suitable home for Lisa to be in. It was, it was then confirmed Lisa was to move in on Thursday. I suddenly remembered the Eagles hit “Hotel California” where you can check-in but you can never leave.
How many people slip through the cracks? my mother was born in 1930 and it was pretty obvious that she had some issues, the family was large and we moved around a lot and never really established living in a community and I was born during a time when children did not question adults. People generally turned a blind eye and just did not get involved when people found out you were a little odd. We were Catholic and the family was strict, and the friends that we did have just overlooked any odd behavior, but even I knew she was silly and sometimes unstable. I can recall that my mother had stupid ideas, was inconsistent all the time and she would not allow anyone to touch her clothing ever; she was always washing her hands and running hot water on to clean plates and cutlery before using to “sterilize” them. I remember that I frequently had to wash in cold water as my mother had used it all when bathing herself. She was always late and very lazy rarely wanting to cook preferring takeout or tins that just needed to be opened. The TV dinner was made for my mother. I taught myself to cook as my friend’s mother’s all cooked and baked and I loved sharing those meals in a real family setting. A lasting grudge is that she never baked me a cake on my birthday; I even wondered if she actually liked me, she just needed me to pay the bills.