My mother is facing some challenges. She has had trouble with her memory for several years now. She has been able to cope with some support from me and from her friends.
It became apparent six weeks ago, that she was not able to cope any longer without some additional supports. She had become overwhelmed by her apartment, was not able to manage her meds any more, and was experiencing some real confusion. We tried some stop-gap measures to see if she could remain in her Independent Living apartment, on the campus of Lakewood Manor. She has lived in this apartment for eight years...enjoying the community of her friends and many different activities. The stop-gap measures included having the facility clinic manage her meds. That did not work either. Her friends and family were worried about her safety. It became apparent to her doctor and to me that she needed some additional help.
One of the good things about the retirement facility where she lives, is that it has 'continual care'. She can move seemlessly between Independent Living, Assisted Living, Healthcare, and Memory Care. So she moved to Healthcare about four weeks ago, so that she could receive some different therapies, and so that she could be evaluated. I have been a busy bee...setting up doctor appointments, accompanying her to her MRI, washing her clothing, and other tasks. She is mother and I love her; so I have gladly taken on these tasks.
She was seen by a neuro-psychologist and evaluated. We received the diagnosis last week: Dementia with delusional features, anxiety, and depression. She has been experiencing some serious confusion and paranoia...and having some very scary dreams. She has very lucid moments, and then like a switch has been thrown, she is very disoriented and doesn't know where she is. This has been very hard for her as she has some insight into what is happening, and very hard for me to see. It has been equally hard on my sister and her family..who live and work in SE Asia...and on Mom's friends who live here at Lakewood.
We saw the Neurologist this past week, and she agreed with the diagnosis. She prescribed some medication to address the confusion and Mom's anxiety. I am glad that we are actually starting to treat the condition. I realize, of course, that there is no cure and that in spite of the medication, Mom will continue to decline over the coming years.
I am losing my mother, and the grief is almost too hard to bear at times.
My friends and caregivers have been continuing to support me. I have had to review Mom's durable and medical power of attorney plans...which she fortunately took care of back in 2005. Our good friend Cindi, who is on both plans with me, has visited and will be returning from her home in South Carolina to help. And thankfully, my sister is returning to the States from SE Asia for a few weeks to help.
Mom will not be able to return to her apartment. Instead, she will need to move to either Assisted Living, or Memory Care. For the time being, she remains in Healthcare...where she is safe and can be monitored for her adaptation to the new meds. Cindi and Cathleen and myself will go through the things in the apartment; and with consultations with Mom, make some decisions as to what is to be kept, what is to be placed in storage, and what is to be sold/given away/etc.
I think that my (infrequent) posts on this blog still show up on some friends' feeds...and some of them know and love my mother. So if you are reading this, please follow your own traditions...and say some prayers, send some mojo, think positive thoughts, comment here, have some moments of silence. All will be appreciated.
This is yet another transition on the circle of life. We will continue to love and support Mom. I tell her two things every day: First, that if she forgets...I will remember. Second, that she can release her anxiety each evening to God, get a good night's rest, and tomorrow is a new day.