Parental Journal 74 from Planet Elderly – Happy 90th Birthday, Mom! No More Driving

 

Saturday, August 13, 2016 – afternoon

Tomorrow I drive back to Grayslake, Illinois to spend some time with Mom and visit Dad.  Mom turns 90 on August 16.  Rather than feeling dread, I feel resolute.  I’ve done a lot of thinking and planning concerning different options for the future care of my folks.  Sometimes it feels like an exercise in futility, but at least I’m thinking about options and relatively okay with each.

Options

Mom receives in-home care as needed:  transportation, assistance with medicine, etc.   (She says no to this.)

Mom moves to assisted living apartment at Victory Lakes where Dad resides in skilled nursing.  (She says no to this.)

Mom and Dad are moved to Missouri and live at Lenoir Woods where the three of us will live in the same community and have the support of additional family and friends.  (She says no to this.)

So there we are:  no, no, and no.  She is fine, doesn’t need any help, and insists I just stay in Missouri and live my life.

Ah…easier said than done.

Current Goal

Have her living as independently as possible at home with assistance.  We need to transition from Kevin providing assistance 24/7 every time she calls and knocks on the door…to having her accept BrightStar for transportation assistance (for starters).  (She’ll say no to this.)

Strategies

Called Mom’s friend, Dorothy, and a distant relative, Carol, and brought them up to date on Mom’s diagnosis and decline.  They were supportive.

I’ve written to her primary care physician asking for a letter saying she needs assistance.  I have not received it yet.

I’ve written a letter to the neuropsychologist who tested Mom and asked for a letter saying she needs assistance.  It’s being mailed today.

I’ve written a letter to Officer F. of the Grayslake Police Department.  Gave him an update on things…just in case he gets some calls from neighbors…store clerks…bank personnel….????

Mom’s car keys will be taken away on August 17. download

Her driver’s license expires on her 90th birthday, August 16.  She failed three attempts to pass the driving test and has not asked to take the test again since I’ve been back in Columbia.  As of August 16 it is illegal for her to drive.  Kevin has one key.  I will search for the other two and confiscate them.  Then I’ll have to figure out what to do once I have them.  She will be furious.  I’m dreading her tornado of anger.  Kevin and I will consult on this.

Planning to have a caregiver from BrightStar join Mom and me on a couple visits to see Dad.  May need to have an in home visit first.  Not sure what to expect other than to have Mom reject the idea of assistance from Brightstar.  Just want to have them on board to provide her with transportation assistance…but she may still refuse.  It’s cheaper to have them use Mom’s car…and that will likely be problematic…a stranger driving her car?  Hell no!  Loss of driving privilege is HUGE…I understand.  However, I will be relieved to have the keys secured and to know she will no longer be at risk of injuring/killing herself or someone else.

Mon has a right to refuse anything I suggest.  She does not have a right to drive illegally.  That will be my mantra.

This is not going to be an easy visit.  I expect she’ll be ordering me to leave and go to hell right after we discuss the driving issue.  images

 

I don’t know if it will do any good, but I hope to have a conversation with Mom about why it’s best to cooperate and work together to decide what assistance she needs now.  If she refuses to cooperate, there could be difficulties in the future that will necessitate that someone (Me? Neighbor?  Police? Paramedics?) call the county or State.  If that happens, she could be forced into a living situation she would hate.  It’s just a possibility…but it could happen.

And, of course, I expect Mom’s mantra to be:  “Just let me die.”  It’s her go-to expression when she’s furious, depressed and frustrated.  I’ve run out of “caring” responses when she says “Just let me die” or “I want to kill myself and don’t think I haven’t thought about how.”  I won’t be responding with words anymore.  I’ll just sit and listen…and if it becomes too much, I’ll go to a different room.

Need to return to Missouri by August 27 or sooner because  I have medical appointments the week of the 28th.

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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