Parental Journal 110 from Planet Elderly: New Chatterbox Visit Setup with Mom

June 10, 2020 late morning


Chatterbox Setup

When I visited Mom Monday at 11, Lenoir Woods had a new setup for visiting called Chatterbox.  I don’t know if this is something circulating in care homes or if this is something that originated at Lenoir, but it was much nicer than visiting with mom through a screened window.

This is what it looks like:


20200608_104731 (1)

Visitors are screened with a survey and temperatures are taken.  We have a walkie-talkie thing we press when we speak and release when we want to hear the loved one speak.

I thought it was terrific and was delighted to see Mom recognize me when she was first brought to the area.  She said something about “my daughter” and “Jeanette,” and she smiled.

We had 15 minutes to visit and I did most of the talking.  She is quite good at responding to a conversation with little phrases, but her ability to form complete sentences is quite diminished.  She looked around at the surroundings and at one point started talking about her daughter.  I waved and she refocused.

When asked, she claims she is eating well, still sometimes stays up until 2 or 3 a.m. as the resident night owl, and appreciates the staff who work in her community.  “It’s really nice.”



I’ll have another chatterbox visit with her next Monday, but then won’t be able to visit for a few weeks because I’ll be recovering from knee replacement surgery.  I mentioned that to her and she said it was no problem.  Two minutes later she had no memory of my mentioning knee replacement surgery.  That’s fine.  Mom lives in the moment now…minute by minute…meal by meal…bite by bite.

When it was time to leave she told me it was nice of me to stop by.  We told each other, “I love you,” and I left with tears in my eyes.

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 70 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. In late March 2017 I was able to move Mom closer to me where she resided at a memory care assisted living community until being downsized to a skilled nursing senior community in October 2018 in Columbia, Missouri. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of our family's journey with dementia. 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 website: ;
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