Parental Journal 45 from Planet Elderly: Are We in a Full Moon Phase???

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Basically, I go along with the idea that when we are in a full moon phase…shit can happen. Just ask folks who work in emergency rooms or psych wards; just ask the police.

Reasons why I ask the question about the full moon phase:

Who took a tumble two nights ago while exiting the front door to check on how much snow had fallen? Moi! My left knee took the brunt f the fall and I vaguely remember catching myself with my hands and contorting my torso. I also yelped. Nothing broken. No head injury. Interesting deep purple bruise on my left knee.

Who leaves Walmart with a couple bags in hand, gets everything situated to drive away and then notices that the purse is not in the car and has probably been left in the store cart? Moi! I left Mom in the car and sprinted back inside. Fortunately, the Walmart greeter told me she found the purse and took it to the customer service desk. When I got there, they didn’t know anything about it but called someone to check. A minute later a nice young man approached me and told me they did have a purse and to follow him. It was secured in a locked room. Three cheers for an outstanding Walmart greeter and the store’s security action. I am soooooooo grateful!

Who spent yesterday morning wailing and crying and moaning at the top of their lungs? Wanda, Virginia, and Mary. When we arrived to visit Dad, he was for once bright-eyed and smiling. He looked truly happy and content…oblivious to the chaos around him. We could not say the same for the gals who carried on and on and on. Even the regularly silent residents seemed agitated, trying to get out of their wheelchairs, lifting legs and babbling…and everybody seemed to need to “go to the bathroom” at the same time. It sounded like an asylum from the 1800s in there yesterday. The staff did all they could to keep things as calm as possible. Wanda was particularly loud and demanding, so I sat next to her and tried to distract her with small talk. It worked. Today she decided I was her best friend and we would plan an escape together but we could not tell anyone.

Who decided to go out and shovel the short driveway because ¼ of an inch had accumulated? Mom. Oh….why in the hell not? She was “restless.” She said she had a great time.

So yeah…it’s been a crazy couple of days, but during it all Mom has been quite calm and content. No major flare-ups and just the usual worry about not having any money and my responsive coaching that she’s okay financially.

This is one of my longer visits and it’s been almost a year since the frequent visits started. Mom realizes that it’s helpful to have me around. We’ve accomplished a lot this visit and she is very appreciative:

*Changed home and car insurance thanks to suggestion from neighbor, Kevin

*Visited+ with new primary care physician who is aware of short-term memory issues and   scheduled annual exam for April

*Car oil/filter/tire rotation

*Dental check up

*New brakes for the car

*Transitioned to Comcast bundle for TV/phone/Internet and saved Mom $40/month from other TV and phone set up

*Paperwork organized for tax preparation; tax prep completed today (Whee! I’m celebrating with a glass of white wine.)

*Eye exam appointment

*Female doctor appointment and pessary cleaned

*Deciding what was okay to purge and shred from another box of old bills/statements

 

Mom often talks about needing to decide what she’s going to do about her future. “I need to decide what I want to do with my life.” She’s 89 and I think that’s a forward thinking thought.

In her mind, she doesn’t think she can make any changes until after she knows what will happen with Dad. At times, she would still like to find a way to bring him home. At times she talks about the possibility of moving to MO…but, of course, not wanting to be a burden to me. At other times, she thinks she should sell the townhouse and move to independent living to be closer to Dad. So she’s thinking of options…and the other night I mentioned the option of moving them both to MO. She listened quietly, but I don’t think it registered as a real option for her.

That’s okay. I plant seeds slowly and gently. I would even be happy if she consented to having a home care person come in mornings and early evenings just to help keep her organized or assist in other ways. We’ve talked about that…and how nice it would be because she could still live in her own home. That may be a serious option if she loses her driver’s license

While we were discussing options today, I showed Mom video clips of Lenoir Woods, a community in Columbia. She liked what she saw…but as soon as she hears that “independent living” apartments in multi-level care facilities commonly costs between $3,000 – $5,000 per month, she wants nothing to do with it. That’s understandable. I think her primary preference would be to have care in her own place—as needed–whether that’s where she is now or downsized into an apartment.

I head back to Missouri Friday. Will be busy for a while as I move into a new rental. I’ve been home sharing for three years with a dear friend. It’s been a wonderful experience. Now I’m ready to have my own place for a few years because having spent plenty of time in The Sunshine Wing up here, I know being in some kind of “senior community home” is probably in my future…so while I can, I want to experience a few years of living by myself.
I have never done so—always had a husband or my son when I was a single parent for a while—so this will be a new chapter. There is even an extra bedroom in case Mom wants or needs to visit.

Just keeping options open20150816_092007

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 60 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of what our family experiences with one parent in a memory care unit, another living independently with short-term memory loss, and me, the only child daughter who lives 400 miles away. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day, The Myth of Alzheimer's - What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis, Alzheimer's Early Stages.
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