Yesterday I gave our 30-day notice at Mom’s retirement community. I’m relieved to have found a much better place for her – a small board and care home with only six residents, where she will get the kind of attentive care she needs and deserves. She will have to share a room, but it’s the largest and best situated room in the house, with a private bath and a sliding glass door opening onto the beautiful fenced backyard. The owner of the home has been in this business for twenty years and she impressed me with her compassion and commitment to this work.
When I took Mom to see it, she said the home was beautiful and absolutely loved the yard and garden – but she said she didn’t want to move again. Understandable, since she’s already moved twice in the past 15 months. I gave her a few days, then broached the subject again, and I didn’t even get through half of my carefully prepared arguments before she agreed that the care home sounds like a good move. “This place is nice,” she said, “but it doesn’t feel like home.” I asked her if she wanted to take some time to think and pray about the decision before I gave her notice, but she said no – “this feels right.”
I’m so happy she’s on board, though I was prepared to take the decision out of her hands if I had to. The woefully inadequate care at her current facility was underscored by what happened Thursday night and Friday of this week. I called her on Thursday night around 9:00 p.m. She was really out of it when she answered the phone, not making a lot of sense. She told me that “they” (staff) had taken her someplace and just brought her back and got her ready for bed. When we hung up, I called the front desk and was told that staff had found her sleeping on one of the couches in the public areas and brought her back to her room. Considering that she almost never leaves her room after dinner, I can only assume that she stopped to rest on her way back from dinner (around 6:00 p.m.), fell asleep and was still there nearly three hours later. It is inexcusable to me that they could just leave her lying there all evening. There are cameras throughout the facility, so someone must have seen her. Concerned, I stopped by on Friday morning before work. I found her bedroom window wide open, the room very cold, and Mom huddled under every blanket she has, phone still in her hand from our call the night before. She was drenched in sweat and had soiled herself. Her medical alert call button was lying on the dresser, the button part having come loose from the necklace.
Let me count the ways this was unacceptable. All of them will make it into the complaint I file with the state licensing board the day after she moves out. I wish we didn’t have to wait 30 days. I wish I could move her tomorrow. But we can’t afford to pay for two rooms at once. So I’m just going to check on her daily, if possible, and be a thorn in everyone’s side to get her the care she needs. It will be an enormous relief to move her into a home where someone will actually CARE.