April 14, 2008

Hannah's Journey - Part 4

This is a journal of events that my mother has been going through since 1989 and leading to her eventual stay in a nursing home. In order to keep each part of the journal I have been keeping over the last half year brief, I will post this journal in parts, as I entered them. All the postings for this continued article can be found in the Hannah's Journey folder.

12/10/2007 - Well, right now my mother's progress is looking pretty good. We are going to take her (hopefully, permanently) out of the assisted living home and bring her to my house for the holidays. She has progressed physically to walk well with a walker, although she can probably walk without it, and she can do steps well. That will enable us to have her stay in her bedroom for the night and come down to our first floor during the day. We have bathrooms on each floor, so she will not have to go up and down stairs during the day. After the holidays, we are going to take her back to her apartment at the retirement residence where she lived before this all happened. We feel pretty strongly that she can function by herself. They do have emergency procedures there and we can get a nurse to visit to make sure she is getting her medication. We plan on having a party with her friends there when she goes back to make her feel welcome and home. We just have to take this one week at a time and hope that she doesn't fall again, because that will probably make her living by herself impossible.

This has been a learning experience for all of us!!! My mother seems to be as clear minded as she was before the accident, which was only sometimes confused and we feel that her medications will keep that in check and living back in her home will keep her mind going a lot better than the current assisted living home she is in now. It served it's purpose but it is easy to see that being with so many other elderly people who are losing their mind functions can only make anyone living there for a extended length of time, act the same.

----01/07/2008 - Well, we made it through the holidays. We took my mother out of the assisted living home the week before Christmas and took her to my house for that week. She was soooooo, indescribably happy to be out of there!!! The home did have very caring people working there, but still was a dismal place, dreary, gloomy and not as clean as it should have been. We were glad to get her out. That week was not a good one. In fact, we were so consumed with her that it didn't even feel like Christmas. She had many episodes of acting totally out of her mind that I was sure she could only be taken care of by professionals. By the end of that week, we were at our wit's end with her waking about every hour throughout the night and talking out of her head... seemingly crazy!!! That weekend, we had commitments, like singing in church for Christmas eve. Previously we thought my mother would come with us to church, but with her behaviour and possibility that she may have to sit alone in the church while we sang, and her starting to act up again, we could not take her to church, so we took her to my sister's house for Christmas week. My sister does not work and has other family members there to help her with my mother. For the next two weeks, my mother showed some improvement but still many sleepless nights that my sister had to deal with.

Currently, we are just confused as to what to do.... my mother has shown improvement where she is herself and OK most of the day and is sleeping through the night sometimes, at least if she wakes, she may go to the bathroom and then go back to sleep. This makes us feel like she may not have to go to a nursing home permanently, but she really does not have the capability to live on her own, totally. At this point, we are getting UPMC home care nursing to come and help us decide, we are looking into some nursing homes and into a program called Community Living, which is a sort of day care program for seniors to enable them to live on their own or with family but go to a center during the day where they can receive medical, physical and mental care. This gives them better care and relief for the family while they are there during the day.

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