it was about time I got back on here and gave an update on what has been happening since my last blog. We ended up rushing off down to Essex because my Mum was starting to not know people, including me over the phone, and I wanted to see her before she forgot us altogether. Initially when we saw her in hospital our worst fears were well founded as she didn't know me but slowly realisation came to her. As a result of our arriving in Essex the hospital decided Mum was fit for discharge home!! I could not believe that a lady of 85 with almost total confusion, not recognising her sister-in-law or her daughter, who had already taken an overdose of Warfarin was going to be sent back to the same situation that was making her increasingly confused and which was putting her at risk! Fortunately my fears were acknowledged and the doctors decided that, with a low MMSE she needed 24 hour care after all. The upshot is that Mum is now in a care home in Essex but will shortly be coming up to a care home near us. I dread to think what would have to happen to someone without a family to stand up for them before they receive the appropriate care.
We stayed in Essex for a few days organising things for Mum's move and then came home to find somewhere for her to be cared for here. I had no idea how complicated this whole process is. First, you have to find somewhere suitable and as Mum has dementia our town has less options able to deal with her particular needs so homes that I would have liked to choose are not available to us. Fortunately Lincolnshire does have a good support service to help you find a suitable care solution which comes under the umbrella of Care Choices. The most valuable piece of advice I have been given was from the hospital social worker who told us to take things one step at a time. Don't rush, take your time. Also, be sure to check out the Care Quality Commission report on each home and look out for any safeguards, which, despite the name, mean there may have been a problem.
It feels as though it has taken months but in fact Mum has been in care less than 2 weeks and we have been successful in finding somewhere for her here, I just hope she likes it. It is a home that I have known about for years and the atmosphere when you walk in is cosy and friendly. The residents looked happy and relaxed and the manageress had plenty of time to answer all our questions. We just need Mum to feel at home now when she arrives. She will be able to have some of her own furniture in her room, which is surprisingly large and which overlooks the Parish Church. She is telling everyone that she is looking forward to living near us so I hope that holds true when she gets here. Perhaps unsurprisingly now that she is in a safe and stable environment her confusion has lessened but she still doesn't know who her sister in law is, she just knows she's a lovely lady. I have had a couple of telephone conversations with her and she is calling me darling so hopefully that means she will know me when my brother and I go to fetch her in a few days.
Once Mum is safely settled here the real work starts sorting out all the finances and that is going to take time. Again I have found several organisations that offer help and guidance, most notably Care Aware who have information bulletins to download and offer help from local advisors which I am almost certainly going to take up. I feel I am entering a minefield and am constantly having to remind myself to take my time. I am sure that AgeUk will also be an invaluable source of advice.
The worst of all this, apart from the loss of the beautiful personality that has always been my Mum, is that crucial decisions have to be made at a time when you feel at your absolute lowest, exhausted from caring for a parent who has suddenly changed and is struggling themselves to understand what has happened to them. The responsibility is huge and very frightening and eventually every small effort drains what little energy you have. I am very lucky to have a very supportive husband through all this.
Tomorrow we are going back to the care home to finalise the paper work and find out the arrangements for taking over the room. Then we start a busy weekend of getting the room ready, naming Mum's clothes so they don't get lost in the laundry, making up photo frames with photos of people special to Mum and finally fetching her up to her new home. Fortunately, although she is very confused, she does understand what is about to happen and although she will miss her friends she does want to see more of us so please keep positive thoughts for us and her in your minds. Spring and a new awakening is happening all around us and I hope that some small awakening will come to Mum when she sees more of me and makes some new friends here.