Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween and a House Full of Spooks

I spent all day doing stuff. Up to get Riley to swim practice, then old house for more cleaning, then home, then back out to get Riley, then home, then to Woodland to get Jeremy, then I got to sit down and sew Ashley's dress. It was all cut and ready to go. Some how I picked the wrong version, but it came out cute with the pleats anyhow. She went as a Box of McDonald's French Fies. I made her a red dress then a box of fries and then attached it to her dress. It took me from 11 am until 5 pm. OOOPS, I am not a good time estimated when it comes to sewing. Gramma came and went today in the house. She would come out, hang out, have a little something, then go back to her room. I left her a few times finishing her meal or tea today and she happily cleared her dishes. She just put them on her wheelies and carried them to the counter.

When the trick or treating started up, I had Gramma put on a black dress and a witches hat, I got dressed in Tessa's crazy wig and so did Riley. We all sat at the door and gave out candy, until we ran out, which happened fast. I went out to get more. While I was gone, Gramma headed to bed. I chatted with her a few more times before a final tuck in and teeth stealing. Gramma doesn't bother soaking her teeth, so each night when I give her the final pills for the night, I steal her partials and soak them. I'll give them back in the am when I give her the first early morning pills. Over all a good, at home day. I was distracted from much Gramma focus, but that allowed her to feel a bit more home and take care of a few things, like clearing dishes. She still doesn't have a routine to just come out for activity, it's all meal related, so I try to give her a drink or tea between meals. I'll have more time this coming week to focus on activity here at home that is not food centered.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Carving and a Twitching Leg

The kids are really at peace in this new bigger home of ours. Well, except Tessa still doesn't like to be alone at all. Tonight when I came in from one more trip to the old house, I found all three kids working on big pumpkins. Each had a very unique approach to their masterpieces and each did all the pumpkin guts work their selves. I was able to happily bake some cookies and roast some pumpkin seeds and keep the snacks flowing. It was such a nice moment, I went and got my mom up so she could be with us, see the pumpkin designs, and hang out. I finally started Ashley's dress and made it to having all the pieces cut. It's ready to sew tomorrow am. Gramma got up about 10 pm complaining about her left leg having a muscle twitch. It really bothered her. Ooops, I had gotten so involved in my sewing (well in cutting) that I had forgotten to give her the night time pills which make her sleepy. She's trying really hard to know things and that is progress positive in my opinion. She talked to me about finances tonight, was wondering what would happen to us if she dies, really important stuff. I am so grateful to be available to her when she is so clear. Tessa and I tucked her back in, played with the cat with her and she quickly drifted off to sleep, leg twitch gone.

Anxiety is Up Today

Gramma is a bit more anxious today. Shower day maybe, going out maybe. She did have a very easy time showering today and held on to the bar and washed her toes, all over her body and in general was much more thorough with her cleaning of her body. Yea!!!!

She's trying to grasp why she lives with me, where Patsy, Bob, Wyatt, and Shawn are. She asked what happened to them? Gramma also has a head shake. It has been much reduced lately. I just noticed she's shaking again today. She still wants to know if she is getting worse? We will be going out to have her hair done and lunch at Nugget. We will do this activity 1 time a week for as long as she lives here with me. I'm going to call Bob, my brother, and Patsy, my sister and ask them to call her.

I have to plan for how long it takes to get places. We have a 1pm appointment. I need to go get her up now and out the door.

Safety Bars are In

Yesterday I had a handy man install some safety bars in the bathroom Gramma uses. We put 2 in the shower, a handle to get in and a long bar along the back wall. I also put a bar low down on the wall right in front of the toilet. Gramma likes that bar a lot! She'll try a shower today with the new bars.

We didn't do much yesterday, well I did a lot, but Gramma had a mellow at home day, a little conversation, a little eating, lots of sleeping. She's a bit confused about her hair because it was cut. She asked me if she had chemotherapy! She gets it done again today by my friend Thomas. I added some gardenias to her room. They have always been her favorite flower and the smell is so nice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Phew, what a day

Today was a long day and we still haven't eaten dinner. It's take out and taking a long time getting here. Gramma had a doctor's appointment, one I made just to get use to the new Kaiser here in Davis. Her appointment was at 11 am and I wanted her to shower before she went, so about 9 I got her up and in the shower. I am having safety bars installed tomorrow, so this was her third shower here without the bars and it is pretty stressful for her. She just so feels like she's going to fall and she doesn't spend much quality time washing her self. I am going to have to get more involved in the bathing, but for now, she got an OK soaping, mostly rinsed off and out of there. I knew from last week that it takes her some time to actually get out the door, so at 10am I started heading out. We made it to the car by 10:20 and then to the bank, to drop Ashley off at piano, then the doctor. Tessa came with us. I dropped her and Tessa off at the entrance and they headed inside to get out of the wind. I parked and then joined them. We got signed into the appointment very quickly and were greeted by a very sweet nurse. We then sat and sat and sat waiting for the doctor. Gramma's anxiety increased the longer we waited. Tessa and I played games a lot and finally I went out and asked for when the doctor was coming to see us. Our 11:10 appointment became am 11:40 appointment. Gramma had a very difficult time remembering why we were at the doctors. She asked me many times why. She did not want to be there at all. The doctor asked lots of questions, reviewed her charts, then looked at her sore on her belly, which didn't look as bad as it did 2 days ago, which means she is healing well. It was just an old boil, almost healed. No need for any worry, a little topical ointment and it should heal up just fine. She then needed to go and well, got her pants a little wet again and we just continued on. You couldn't tell, I asked the nurse for a pad for the car and off we went to the pharmacy to pick up meds. That took a little while, but Tessa and Gramma had a nice time waiting and they both noticed the hand sanitizer and Gramma asked to use some.I learned a lot about my mom's medical care and meds and such today which was the exact reason I scheduled this appointment.

We then went out for a bite to eat and yes, Gramma had ice cream for lunch. I asked the server to make her scoops really tiny. I noticed Gramma eats 2 meals a day in general. A late breakfast and a late lunch dinner. So today she had oatmeal and cantaloupe for breakfast, ice cream for snack, and a small bowl of soup for dinner. She also has water, juice and tea. Yesterday she wanted a bean burrito with her soup and so I split one with her to cut back the calories and white carbs. If I served her the whole thing she would eat it all. She enjoyed the half just as much as a whole I think.

We got home about 1:30 and headed right back out to pick up Tessa's friend. I got Gramma all tucked in before we left and Riley was home. I then picked up the safety bars which we will have installed tomorrow. Three of them, one outside the shower, one on the first shower wall and a big long one along the entire length of the long wall of the shower. Hopefully this helps with her security. I still need to get a hose nozzle for the shower so I can wash and rinse all her foldies.

I helped the girls make sugar cookie dough when we got home and then back out to get Ashley. Back home I made Ashley lunch, helped Riley get ready to swim, and baked the cookies. Gramma woke up to the smell and she had one tiny star cookie with the girls. Then off to bring Riley to swim practice. Gramma stayed home with the girls and hung out with them while I was gone. I got home just in time to get the girls to theater at 4:30. I worked a bit at theater and then headed home to be with Gramma.

She was in the process of getting ready for bed and I thought it was a bit early, so I asked her to come have a small bite to eat and hang out with me for a bit. Quality 15 minute moment. I served her 1/2 can of yummy gumbo soup that we have in the pantry. She then went and brushed her teeth and got ready for bed while I went to do the pick up rounds. Tim was home now to.

I got Riley, then the 4 girls at theater. I dropped 2 girls off, brought Riley home and took my two to get their Annie scripts bound. It took forever and Tessa was in a melting down mode. She was mad her script was wrinkled from use, mad at how I arranged her music, classic Tessa mad. Her madness made waiting that much longer and she was so stuck. Her script also didn't bind well because it was so wrinkled and she started in again being so upset and sure she can't get another one...I have to remember to breathe. Anything I say escalates the issue. Absolutely everything I say is wrong and doesn't help at all and she vocalizes how wrong I am, spinning up into her emotions...It's well, it's Tessa and it's part of who she is.

We got home at 8pm and I remembered I forgot something at theater that I needed, so I dropped the girls off and headed back down the street to get the coupons to the fabric store that I dropped. I had a sweet nice visit with 2 theater friends, took my time to breathe, and headed back home. I've been blogging since and should really go eat now that our dinner is finally here. Gramma needs her final pills for the night too and I'll hang out with her for a bit while she settles in to sleep.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mellow Day. It's been a week!

Today we had a huge wind storm. It's still blowing crazy outside. I ran some morning errands with Ashley before we all started our day. Gramma was cozy in bed and the wind was fascinating toher. We closed up the house and boy do double pane windows make a difference. In our previous house a wind storm like this would rattle the whole house, making it sound like the glass might pop out.

Last night I was at a meeting from 7-9 and Tessa noticed Gramma looked tired and gave her the night time pills right at 9. She felt very proud to have gone in and presented her with her water and 2 pills.

We took today easy, running short errands while someone stayed home in case Gramma needed any thing. She did have an accident today that startled her. When she got to the bathroom some how between the bed and the toilet she wet herslef and it confused her. Like with my children when they were young, I simply smiled, asked her to take off her wet pants and I got her clean things to wear. I think I'll keep a change of bottoms in the bathroom in case that happens again and she can change herself. She wondered why she wet her pants. I've noticed when she has to go she doesn't always want to get up and it takes her quite sometime to actually decide, OK, I'm going to go now. I think after her breakfast with juice and tea, she had a very full bladder and didn't quite get up soon enough. No big deal, so real mess, her freshly changed bed was still all dry.

Gramma was up with us for her late breakfast and hung out for awhile. She then wanted to sleep and stay in bed. Finally I got her up about 4:30 and she had another meal and I sat at the table with her after to keep her up and alert. Tessa played the piano in the other room. She played jingle bells and Gramma sang along from her spot at the table. Tessa then tried a new song and Gramma knew the song. As Tessa slowly worked the song Gramma paused while Tessa figured out the next note. It was a neat moment and gave me an idea for an activity with Gramma. Her singing along was very sweet and she loved when Tessa had to pause for a note, she waited until the note was hit and then kept on singing. Cool Cool Cool.

Gramma has a doctor's appointmnet tomorrow. I want to have her skin looked at and she has a sore that needs attention under her belly fold. She tucks tissues into her belly fold and I'm not sure why she does that and neither does she.

More Pumpkin Patch Pictures

Monday, October 26, 2009

Perpetual Breakfasts, Hair Do, Pumpkin Patch

Gramma was more clear this am and simply got up when I got home from a gardening job around 10am. She ate breakfast, just a bit after Ashley had me make her breakfast. Riley then got up about the time Gramma headed back to her room for a rest and I made him something to eat. Tessa got up about 45 minutes later and I made her something too. Once again, did I make myself something other than coffee? No. I showered and got ready for the day also.

Around noon I got Gramma up and I got her set up to wash her hair in the sink. She does a very thorough job scrubbing until it's squeaky clean. Wow, blast to my childhood sitting in the tub washing my hair until it was squeaky. We then set her up for a blow dry. I dried, Tessa brushed. Not bad. I then curled her hair with a curling iron, Tessa ratted the curls and we styled away together. I know Tessa would like to own this job and I'm going to have her learn from the best, my friend Thomas. Mom liked her hair, told me to brush it up a bit more in one spot. It amazes me what she can see. She asked for a mirror to check herself out. We then headed out to our local pumpkin patch.

Gramma did great at the pumpkin patch. She had to walk/roll over hay and a slight grade. She then saw the kittens and decided we had to make it in to hold them. The four kids with me scampered all over the place and I walked my mom's speed with her, holding her walker for her assurance that she was making it along ok. First up was a baby bunny that needed some loving. Gramma held that sweet baby who fell asleep. She asked if she could kiss it and gave in a few light smooched. We then headed over to the kittens, but a baby goat got in Grammas path. Did you know this little lady can touch her toes. She grabbed onto the seat of her walker and reached right down to the ground to give the baby goat some love. The goat liked her walker alot and followed under her until I shooed it away for it and Gramma's safety. She held a baby kitten next. We walked in the barn and she played with some goats, a baby cow, and looked at the other animals. I had her sit in the shade for a bit while I helped the kids find pumpkins and then I got her into the van, drove up to the area we pay for our goods, and off home we went, 8 pumpkins, 1 Gramma, 1 mom, 2 teen aged girls, 1 12 year old boy and Tessa, almost 10. We stopped at the strawberry farm next door for some yummy fall harvest fresh strawberries. Yum. We got home about 3pm and Gramma took a snooze.

She just ate her main meal of the day with us, kind of a lunch dinner. She had some baby oreos. It's all about chocolate for her and she is not kidding around. If there is one thing she remembers is to ask for chocolate after a meal. I'm doing the yes we have some, no not right now with her as I don't want it to be expected that at every meal there will be chocolate. I bought some fat free pudding with added calcium as a side dish for once in awhile. She's having a little bit of some kind of chocolate each day and I feel that is perfect. It is what she loves alot.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

She can't tell a lie

Gramma was all tucked in bed cozy when I got home from driving Jeremy home. Tessa and I watched the last of a cake challenge show with her and then I asked her if she brushed her teeth, She said I did, then smiled and said I did not. I'll get them in the am. I took her partials for a soak and I'll make sure she scrubs those chompers in the am. She laughed hard when she told the truth and blushed a little for trying to lie. One lesson my mom always reminded me of is honesty is the best policy. I'm glad she still practices what she told me long ago.

She misses the family back home

Tamara, my niece, Gramma's first Granddaughter, visited today and when she and I were outside Gramma came out all by herself and sat by the pool and listened to the foutain. She's going to like that spot I can tell. The visit was great and since my niece also works in assisted living, she has lots of gems of info to offer me. Like she told me a product that should help with my mom's skin. Tamara also brought a big bouquet of roses from her mom's garden. They are perfect in Grammas room and smell so nice.

When I got back from a quick trip to the store, Gramma was crying and worried about the 2 grandkids she moved away from and my sister. They have all lived together forever, my sister has shared a home with my mom for many many years. Her babies came home to their house and my mom helped raise them. Up until recently, Gramma was a provider of afternoon care for the kids, until she stopped being able to care for herself. Today she really missed them and needed to know why she was away from them. I called them and then Shawn called back which made Gramma feel content, knowing that they were all ok. She likes to know when she is going to see someone next, but....she has dementia and really doesn't remember when that time is.

Dinner was a riot. Tessa made ghost stew and batty cookies. Really yummy and we all enjoyed are selves, except Tessa, who has a hot/cold thing going for Riley. Tonight she was really on him and it made it a bit stressful at times. She hurt his feelings, he moved to a different chair, what she visualized didn't happen. She was tense, in a I am the chef and I want this dinner perfect. Again, I did not take pictures, but imagine a small bowl of stew or a small bowl of clam chowder (Tessa changed the recipe) Then piped on to that a big ghosty shape of creamy mashed potatoes. I need to refine my creamy potatoes, maybe use sour cream next time or cream cheese. They were runny. Capers for eyes and cheese all around. We all are full. Gramma is tucked in bed. She is very capable of her bedtime routine, though I'm not sure she brushed her teeth. I'll get her too next time she needs to use the bathroom.


My mom does not like the process of taking a shower, mainly because she is afraid she is going to fall and she's blind so she can't see well around her. I did add a non slip mat. I'm not sure it helped because it buckled a bit under her weight. She will have safety bars installed early next week. I wish she would sit down and I'm going to get her a chair for sitting just in case I can encourage her to change from standing to sitting. I also will try to shift from her being completely independant in the shower to me helping her get all the creases and things for her skin to be more healthy. She cried with fear getting in and needed lots of encouragement with what to do. She gets around just fine, but her fear of falling makes her really unsure. I'm also going to get a hand held shower attachment. Good thing is, she took one and she won't need another one for 2-3 days.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Busy Saturday

Gramma is still very confused about living here. She asks alot if she can stay. She's getting annoyed with her own need to ask and I take this as she's getting comfortable with the idea that she lives here.

I worked this am, first time since we moved and that felt great. I garden for seniors and somehow I just have a knack with the sweet old ladies. They just love chatting with me. I walk around the gardens, clipping and chatting, raking leaves, turning earth, prepping and maintaining.

Tim worked at finishing the move from the old house. The final final is dragging on. He went to the dump 3 times with the last big stuff we no longer needed or was useful. I think we are done, except....Ugh, yup I have a few more boxes of things. I took Riley to an afternoon swim meet and was gone for about 4 hours.

Tim and the girls tended to Gramma's needs, which were minimal. She slept and finally got hungry and asked for lunch. She'll get dressed if you leave an outfit out for her. This evening after dinner, Tessa and I spent over an hour going through her things. I was looking for some bacterban for an ouch she has, so I slowly worked through her supplies, organizing and dumping. We found a bunch of jewelry and Tessa loved talking to Gramma about the pieces. I threw away alot of old empty tubes that moved with her. Tessa tried on alot of her clothes and found her a witch costume, because that is what Gramma wants to be for Halloween. She wants to give out candy.

We had some fun conversations. I took down her big puffy coat she bought one year when she travelled to DC. She hugged up her coat and talked about how much she loved her puff. One of our cats came in and gave her love. She melted to the kitty purrs and I'm going to make sure our sweet kitty makes lots of visits.

She asks some interesting questions and it gives you an idea how the confusion is for her. Tonight, she asked again what happened to Mike, my brother, who died from melanoma. She thinks she did it to him, because he didn't wear sunscreen and it makes her very sad to talk about Mike. She also asked when she had her breast removed. She had a mastectomy about 10 years ago. She looked at me and said, "when did I loss my breast?" Decisions are difficult. She likes to laughs and we are finding our way to laughter often.

She's asleep for the night. I'm starting to sense her routine and by 7:30 or 8pm she changes without prompting into her nightgrown and gets ready for bed. She complained a little at me when I asked her brush her teeth, but she did :-)

Tomorrow will be a shower day and I don't have the bars installed yet. They are getting installed later in the week. We'll work through it though. I did get her some non slip mats. I'll have her wash her hair too and we might even do nails tomorrow. I get to try out styling her new haircut. I was given instructions by Thomas on how to Do the Do.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today was a Sleeping Day

Today, Gramma didn't want to get up. I left to go couch shopping at 9, left instructions with my son, left breakfast. When we got home at 11, she was still snoozing. I had to go out again and asked her if she was ready for breakfast. Nope, not ready. She seemed really fearful this am, like if I get up and get dressed, I'm going to be moved, so I left her all snugly, opened up the blinds a bit to let the day in and went about my day with my kids.

After getting Ashley and her bff to Biology, I checked in again at home, made lunch for Riley and Tessa, invited Gramma to join us, but she said nope and snuggled back in to her pillows. I opened the window, adjusted the blinds again and left for a journey to dump off some donations and check for a Halloween item with Tessa. We got home near 2pm and then I went in and asked my mom to come eat and join us for a meal. She did. She got up, put on the clothes I had lay out, did her hair and makeup and had lunch with us. She and Tessa had a great conversation. While mom was up I changed out her sheets and then she and Tessa joined me in her room. I had her fold her laundry and we put her clothes away. She was joyful while Tessa and I cleared her room of some of the moving in clutter. After our cleaning and bed making, she climbed back into bed for a snooze.

Tessa made dinner tonight. She cooked cuckoos, which we got from a Halloween magazine. You make funny bird faces using meatballs and veggies all on a toasted bun. They came out so cute and we set the nice table for our dinner. Ashley's friend Jeremy was with us and all 7 of us were served a cuckoo. I added some steamed green beans, more meatballs in red sauce and we had a great meal, complete with conversations from everyone, including Gramma. Gramma was so in love with waking up to the sound of piano playing. Jeremy and Ashley take turns playing songs and Gramma really enjoyed it this evening. She stayed up for awhile longer, had a small piece of fudge which makes her so happy, and then went off to get in her PJ's. She's been in bed since, sleeping peacefully.

She's asking her question of do I have to move differently now which makes me feel like she is starting to understand that she lives here with us. She is very afraid of moving again and tears up thinking about it. I'm making moving jokes with her when she asks if she has to move again. I say, nope, you live here, but you do have to move over so I can sit, or you do need to move to the table for dinner. Little word games to help her play and lighten up the mood. She seems game.

I didn't take her to her psychiatry appointment in Marin today. She just didn't seem capable of a long drive and she doesn't like going to the doctors. I will communicate with her doctor through email as we transfer her from Marin to Davis care. I should have an appointment lined up in the next week at the clinic here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hair Do Thursday

I finally got Gramma to Thomas, the most awesome hair stylist I have met. He is just great. Both my mom and I had our hair done today. She looks so good. Past history. My mom has always gone to get her hair done, for as long as I can remember. She would go to Rennie on Fridays. Sometimes she would go other times, like for a special occasion. She always did her hair. About 9 months ago, she stopped making the trip to Rennie. She stopped caring for herself, she basically stopped. That's when we started trying to figure out what was going on. She has not had her hair done since then, not at all. Her grey hair hung limp and she pulled in back in a pony tail holder. She tried a few times to pin curl it, but basically, she did nothing with her hair. Today after Thomas finished her Do, she looked like her self, so much more her than the pony tail do she has been doing. I now have a standing appointment with Thomas for my mom on Thursdays, or Fridays to have her hair done.

After the hair saloon, we headed over to the very spectacular Nugget Market and boy was Gramma hungry. She smelled all the good smells, asked if we were eating there, and just smiled and smelled. She and Tessa had bowls of Clam chowder while Riley and I grocery shopped.It was a perfect outing. She napped the rest of the day, then came out for dinner with Tim and several teen aged girls.

She's missing her home before here today and has spent some time crying and telling me she misses Wyatt and Shawn (my niece and nephew). She still isn't sure where she is or why. I'm wondering if she ever really will?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yup, you're staying

Mom is still not convinced she is going to stay living with us. She smiles whenever I tell her that she is now a Davis resident. I'm going to have her register to vote. How does that work for a person with dementia who is blind? I do not know, probably absentee ballot. We all have been talking about the peacefulness we need to convey whenever she asks us the same question.

Dentist Visit then Ice Cream

Getting us all up and out this am was rememicent of having toddlers. Ashley had to at piano by 10:45. Then I went home to get Gramma. She needed to brush her teeth before we went..That took longer than I estimated. I had to pick up Ashley's friend and then Ashley at piano. We headed to the dentist next. I had to fill out a new patient form. WOW question upon question. Gramma knew some, didn't know others, and I am forever grateful for our dentist office. They just looked up her insurance info without me having any idea what her coverage was like. She finally got into the chair, though that was a bit of a challenge. The break was not part of her partial at all, it was her own tooth, cracked in half. I had told her no real work, and here she was less than 12 hours in her new town and she is having extensive dental work done. My dentist rocks. He is so kind and smooth and calm. He got her laughing with him and was able to perform the work even though she has a head tremor thingy happening. All and all the dentist visit went great. Tessa, my 9 year old stayed with Gramma when I had to schleep the teens up the street to Biology class. While in the dentist chair, Gramma asked if she could have Baskin Robbins? Yup, sure thing. So after her appointment, we headed for chocolate sundaes. I called Riley to see if he wanted to join us and the 4 of us all went out. Gramma choose to have car service. She's been asleep since the big dentist adventure, snoozing in her new room, sun streaming across her bed. She looks content. Still worried, still afraid she's going to have to move again, but cozy and content.

First Night, First Morning

Gramma went to sleep easily. I didn't hear her at all through the night, so I am taking that as a good sign. She was up when I got up at 7am to give her her first round of pills. These pills need to be taken without food, so I give them early in the am and I tucked her back into bed. 9 am will be the official wake up time for Gramma, that's when she can get dressed or not, and come eat breakfast with one or more of the kids. She was confused again this am about why she is here. She somehow hasn't let it sink in that she moved to Davis to live with us. She's afraid she's going to be put in a home, sent away, not wanted. She does feel a bit like she was sent away and one could look at the situation and agree. We know, though, that her moving in with me and my family will keep her from being sent away. I am hoping to help her grasp this through the next few weeks as we all get to know each other.

She's funny and doesn't shut the door when in the bathroom. Depending on where you stand on the stairs, you can have a view almost into the bathroom, so I do think my idea of hanging a curtain at the entrance to her space will give a little bit of privacy.

I am off to shower and get ready for our day. First up, call the dentist to have the bridge work done. Then stop by the senior center to see if we can borrow some equipment for the bathroom, like a shower chair and a commode riser. We have Ashley's piano lesson at 10:45 to get too and the girls have Biology at noon followed by math, so I will have some carpooling duties today as well. Riley will go to swimming and both girls will go to theater. I need to work on costumes for Annie and will head down to theater once Tim is home from work. A regular day, now with Gramma living here too.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

She's here

Gramma made it today about 2 hours after the movers got her bed set up. I was able to unpack and make her bed and get her room set up before she arrived. She had a meltdown about my nieces little bear she wanted to take with her. My niece wasn't ready to part with the bear. Turns out Tessa has one just like it and I placed in on the stairs for when she came in. She found the bear and my sister told her it was the same bear. I'm not really OK with story telling like this, even to someone who has dementia. I couldn't handle them telling her yup the bear must of been with the movers. I'll talk with my mom about it tomorrow and let her know we provided a substitute bear for her.

Gramma loves the house. She just feels it is huge and beautiful. Her furniture is the same light maple shade as the floors and her room looks so nice. It was bigger than I thought too. She seems to be able to use the bathroom just fine, made it all around the down stairs, ate dinner with us, had a cup of tea and then asked for her PJ's. She's teary as expected, afraid she's going to be taken and put away somewhere, not sure why she's here with us, but at the same time she knows.

Her tooth broke off her bridge, so she's feeling a little unsightly and I'll make her an appointment at the dentist tomorrow. She also needs to see a new primary care doctor. I'll take her to Marin on Friday to see her psychiatrist and get a recommendation for a new doctor up here.

Tonight is her first night here and I'm hoping she's tired and able to sleep OK. Lot's of new noises here and the train can be heard roaring down the tracks early in the morning. She's alseep right now. In a little bit I'll bring her the last pills of the night. The very important dementia pills.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tomorrow is the Day of the Big Move

Gramma is going to actually move in tomorrow. Yup, Tuesday, Oct 20th, in the evening my sister and her2 kids are driving her up. Her stuff will be brought up earlier in the day by a friend who owns a moving company. Tomorrow seems perfect. Yesterday was hectic, today it rained and was (is) Ashley B-day, tomorrow is just a good plain perfect day for this adventure to begin. I have been blessing the house with energy of connection and warmth getting things ready. My one big concern is will she like the smaller room? The wood floors? Being down stairs while the rest of us are up stairs? Will she be able to maneuver her walker around and will she feel warm enough and cozy enough to call this home? We won't know until she is here and living with us. So tomorrow is the day and it's going to be perfect and OK and good.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Are you sure? she asks

Mom wasn't able to move in today. The mover couldn't move her furniture. Once her bed moves then she moves, as she doesn't want a new bed at all. Hers is hers and the place she spends much of her time. I just talked on the phone with my mom to see how she's doing, as my sister has mentioned she depressed. I know she is scared and she told me plainly, I'm scared. I can deal with scared. She's lived in her home for 45 years. I don't think she ever imagined living anywhere else. Her moving in with us came about with the dementia diagnosis and is a big big change for her, so of course she is scared. I'm looking forward to the transition from mom will move in to mom has moved in. So much is in the unknown right now. Will she be able to get in and out of her shower here. What bath safety work do we need to do to make sure it is safe. We have new doctors to meet and new routines to establish. I have clients who want yard work done, but I'm not sure of my availability yet.

On the phone, she sounded scared, yet hopeful. Eager too for the change to happen. She's been waiting since mid August, that's when I offered to have her live with us and she accepted. She still wants confirmation that it's OK to move in with us and having dementia doesn't help her remember that yes, she is welcome and we all are ready for the move. She asked me 10 times, Are you sure? And each time I answered, yes, I am sure we want you? Deep down inside I don't think she feels she is wanted places and it will be nice to show her, that yes she is wanted and welcome into our home.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sunday is the Big Day

This coming Sunday, Oct 18 th, the day before my oldest daughter turns 15, my mom is moving in with us. That's in 2 days. She's 78, declining mentally and physically. She really wishes she could stay and live where she has for the past 45 years, but life at her home is becoming expensive with caregivers and overnight help. Having Gramma move in has allowed my family to move into a much bigger, more modern, nicer home. We now have 3 bathrooms, a total of 7 sinks, a pool in the back yard, and 5 bedrooms. We have a piano room, a dining room, a kitchen area and living room. The house is nice in a way we have not lived, only dreamed of. It's too close to the freeway for my tastes, but the light and wood is beautiful. My closet has 3 walls of bars, 4 shelves, a light and a door. And my husband has his own closet, not quite as roomy as mine, but big enough for him, his dresser, and all his stuff.

Mom has dementia. We are just getting use to what type, what meds work and all the stuff a diagnosis of dementia brings into those who are close to the person. Mom needs help with remembering what to do every day, like, when do I get up, do I need to get dressed, what am I doing today. She's capable of taking care of her needs, can shower and get dressed, but she can't remember if she ate, what she ate, or even if she's hungry. She needs help with taking her medications, and more than anything, she needs loving company and mental stimulation.

I homeschool my kids, all 3 of them, so we are home day and night. We have all kinds of fun going on at home, from baking, to singing, to piano playing, video games, life, all day every day flows through our home. So Gramma is coming to homeschool with us and it is both really exciting and really scary all at the same time.

I hope mom likes it here. I hope she can be comfortable. I hope she can open up a bit to doing activities around town. More than anything, I hope she feels at peace with herself and her surrounding and becomes OK with being dependant. This option of her living here with us just one of several options. She could stay where she is, spend a ton of money on caregivers, and continue to live with my sister and her family. My sister is at a place in her life, though, that she needs not to have the burden of a dependant mother at home. Her kids are growing and need more room, she works full time and can not be with mom easily day in and day out. She also travels for work. My brother works too and again, the lack of daily activity just leave mom alone. Another option is assisted living and mom really does not want to move to a home. She has a big fear of homes and has made it clear she would rather die than move into a home. So I'm offering the gift of our home, for now, and we will see where this adventure takes us with Gramma makes 6.