- Aging & Longevity
Mom's Room In The Alzheimer FacilityClick thumbnail to view full-size
Almost two years after the first move to a somewhat independent facility, Mom was ready for the Alzheimer facility that she had previously shunned. There was no resistance to this move. It was explained to her that she needed more care and the move was necessary.
This level of care provides a locked front door for security. If the resident wants fresh air, a courtyard located in the center of the building is available. The ratio of patients to aides is that state requirement of 1 aide to 11 residents in addition to a nurse, activity director, laundry service and kitchen staff.
Meals are served in a dining room. Though the meals are nutrious and appealing, there is no menu to select from. Daily menus are listed on a chalkboard outside the dining room. Everyone is served the same meal. Residents sit in groups of three or four for meals. A seat is reserved for each resident at the same table with the same table mates to provide consistency. The higher functioning residents who can feed themselves eat in the front dining room. If a resident needs to be fed, refuses to eat, or spits out their food, they eat in a back dining room where assistance is provided.
Rooms are either single or double occupancy. Because of costs, we chose the double occupancy. The staff carefully paired Mom with another resident. It was a good match. I was grateful that Mom's room was two doors down from the nurse station.
One of the special touches in this facility was a picture of each resident hanging by their bedroom door. A brief history of the resident's life was provided for visitors to read. It also helped them to know which room was their room. We often walked the halls and read the histories of fellow residents.
Each room is equipped with a half bath. Showers are provided three times a week, or as needed, in a shower room located near the nurse station.
A beauty shop is available several days a week for haircuts and styling. The prices are fairly reasonable.
The nurse makes regular rounds with patient medications and assists with any medical emergencies.
There are many benefits to this type of facility. The cost is higher with each level of care. More services are provided to higher care levels. Points are assigned to each service requested and the level is determined by the number of points. In addition, a nurse on staff reviews the service plans on a regular basis and reviews it with the family for changes. Feedback and observations are shared at this time to determine how the resident is doing.
it had become more difficult to take Mom to Dr. Appointments. In the previous facility, we began scheduling Dr. Visits on site. The Dr. Came to see Mom at least once a year. His Physician Assistant visited three times a year. She was seen quarterly by someone. The nurse staff worked directly with this Dr. for any tests or changes in medications that were needed. That same Dr. scheduled visits at this facility which eased our transition.
A traveling dentist became available for teeth cleaning and other dental work They brought the chair with them and set up shop in the Activity room where they could close the doors for privacy.
A Typical Day
The main gathering area for residents was around the nurse's station. Comfortable chairs lined the walls and residents watched the events of the day from their favorite spot. Other restless residents could not sit still and walked the circle of hallways around the courtyard time after time.
Musical events were held several times a week. They usually lasted for an hour and afternoon snack-time was held around the event. Most of the residents attended the planned concerts.
Some residents preferred to sit in the lobby instead of being in a crowded room. My Mom often chose the lobby over the events as large crowds became difficult for her. She was content to watch the people for hours at a time.
The facility became too big for Mom. She struggled to find her room, the dining room and the bathroom. The gatherings for musical events and vocal presentations became an irritant to Mom. She could not focus well or follow along. Bingo games and art projects were avoided because they were difficult.
Mom had several falls during her stay. The floors were very hard and caused significant bruising and soreness. One of her falls occurred in the shower room with an aide present. It should not have happened. We went to the emergency room the next day because Mom's blood pressure stayed very high after the event. They kept her overnight for further tests which caused her great confusion.
The struggle with high blood pressure in the afternoon was continual. I repeatedly asked for her blood pressure medication to be given before dinner to avoid the crisis she often faced. As her pressure rose, she was nauseated and could not eat her dinner until it came down. Two facilities later, with constant battles over her blood pressure, we finally have a 1 mg tablet that can be administered to avoid such a crisis. Again let me encourage you to speak up for your loved one. Fight for them to have the best care possible. I have watched many children of elderly parents sit at dinner with a parent struggling to eat or stand in the hallway declaring in a loud voice that their parent needs attention! This warms my heart because it is right and it needs to be done where needs are not being met. The bigger the facility, the louder you will need to speak. Get the staff on your team! Be a team player where you can and a voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves.
Many of the residents struggled with incontinence. There were frequent incidents where a resident was wet or dirty and walking down the hall unattended. My biggest complaint was that residents were not toileted or changed on a regular basis. The staff was often lazy or avoidant of this issue, passing it off to the next shift to deal with. I found my Mom wet too many times. Weekends were especially bad. Saturday's were the worst. I know because I visited Mom often.
Forget the programs or concerts, I want my Mom taken care of. A picture of the staff person attending to each section of rooms was posted on the wall each shift right by the nurse desk. It changed as the shift changed. More often than not, my Mom's area was not assigned an aide. They seemed to be short staffed frequently.
This facility had become too big and too expensive to meet Moms needs. It was time to move to a smaller facility. I began that search a year after our arrival.
Eldercare for Mom/ Part Three
Our next move to an even smaller care facility was our worst choice yet. On the surface, it was perfect, but we were very disappointed. Join me in our walk through eldercare facilities- Part Three.