Tuesday, October 13, 2015

An Update on Mom October 2015 (Lengthy Post)

SIOR Beach Function at Amelia Island

These posts are getting harder to write. I will attribute part of it to the possibility of a brewing depression on my behalf and also to the fact that I'm a working mom with two kids but the fact is there are minimal happy moments these days.

Breakfast in bed at the Omni

We started with a trip to Amelia Island for Dad's SIOR conference. I tagged along as a caregiver for Mom because she cannot be left alone, especially in a strange hotel room. Her separation anxiety from Dad is severe. When he returns she is elated and then quickly angry again for whatever reason she has come up with. I worked most of the mornings in an adjoining room and one day found her naked as a jaybird locked on her balcony because she was trying to hang up her bathing suit outside. She still knows that bathing suits are hung up (like we do at the beach) but couldn't figure out how or where. We had a good laugh about that. She now requires someone to dress her, bathe her, brush her teeth and help in the ladies room. If you leave her alone while "getting ready" she will put lipstick on her eyes and drink mouthwash.

I kept her at home after the Amelia Island trip so that my dad could have a break.(Which created a 3 hour long tirade in the car of how Dad and I were a-holes but we made her stay with me anyways) He needs a break. He needs more than I can offer at this time. She does not enjoy my house and my son is (as most four year olds are) loud and unruly in her eyes. I am thankful my job is flexible to let me take longer lunches and log off early but that is still time I have to make up later in the evening. She counted down the seconds she could go home.

In Asheville we had her Memory Care appointment. I cannot sing enough praises about this place. Our family friend (who is probably the closet thing I have to a mother right now) Alice Myer joined us to help with the medical advice and just to be a shoulder to cry on. They administer a MMSE each time and Mom's score in May was a 10, this appointment was a 5. She has low word fluency and is completely unaware about current day facts. She doesn't know most of our names anymore except when she is angry. When they told us the score was a 5 it was a sucker punch. We knew already but to have it written down is hard. They asked us if we had any questions and we had hundreds but we wanted to know what was next. And the answer was Skilled Nursing Facility.

They told us most people in our situation would have already done this. Dad and I both started crying.

Getting a blow-out  at Gorgeous Glo. These women are so patient and wonderful and there is nothing better than a fresh "Do".

This past week I kept Mom again while my Dad traveled to Chicago to be sworn in as President of the SIOR Carolinas chapter. I think it is a blessing in disguise he is so busy. Asheville is booming and it couldn't have come at a better time.

She did okay here but would shuffle down the hallway to my office and be angry Dad hadn't called (he had) and wanted to know when she was going home. (20 times a day). She fell several times and had several accidents. My daughter has a newly diagnosed peanut allergy and my mom doesn't understand that. She handed her chocolate and several other things that almost gave me a heart attack.

The biggest change is her motor skills. She cannot get in and out of the car very well and no longer walks, just shuffles. She was exhausted after several stores in the mall. She also gets angry if you don't let her buy things so I just gave up and let her spend. A few things I will secretly return for her because they are tacky chotchkies that she never would have liked as her former self.

Gel manicure at Polished b/c it is the only kind that stays on. I had to hold her hands still as she would knock over the bowl otherwise.

We went to Ruth's Chris as a thank you from Dad their last night here. Mom kept leaning to the right almost falling out of her chair and tried to eat the butter with her fingers. Ben was our waiter and has first hand experience with Alzheimer's and he and Max got Mom a desk chair from upstairs and sped up our food.

Monday night Mom fell down the stairs in Asheville. She is okay and it was nowhere near as bad as her last fall but we are concerned about her stability and what is going on motor wise. They added a muscle relaxer to stop the phantom limb movements (her right arm won't bend and shakes) and said it shouldn't be causing this so we might be going to a neurologist.

We are coming up to the stage that we dread. We will have to put our BB in a facility. We don't want to and prefer to keep her at home as long as possible but she is no longer safe there. Even if we got someone from Home Instead that leaves my Dad to do the nightly duties and I can assure you after doing it myself for 4 days you are emotionally spent. We had thought maybe next year after the beach would be our mental deadline but with her decline in the past month we might have to move up our timeline. Researching these places is daunting. The average memory care unit runs about $9,000/month. PER MONTH.

Please keep us in your prayers as we begin to plan for this next chapter. I get to practice escapism every now and then and launch myself into Amelie's first birthday party planning or work but Dad doesn't get to escape. 



  1. Thank you for sharing this. I hope it is somewhat cathartic for you to get it out even as it becomes harder each time. Placing both of my paternal grandparents in a memory care unit was painful for my family emotionally, but good for them in the long run, although it was heartbreaking as they asked every day to go home. My heart aches for you and your family, especially your father. I will be thinking or your mom at Memory Walk this year.

  2. Love and prayers.

    -Robert Forrest

  3. So much love to you Katharine. I can't even imagine how difficult and painful this journey has been for you all.

  4. God bless you. I cannot even begin to imagine how much this must hurt.

  5. Dearest Kat

    I am heartbroken for you and your whole family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. I am so glad That I had the wonderful weekend in Asheville. I saw what a remarkable caregiver your father is. I know that watching your Mother float away while she is still here is excruciating and frustrating. Tons of prayers and call me if you want to go to lunch or dinner and cry, scream or whatever...

    Love, Mollie

  6. Been there with my mom, and it is SO hard. Praying for you all.

  7. Oh I am so sorry to read this. I do think of you often, and I don't even know you. Take care of yourself. You are a wonderful daughter.

  8. Sending so many hugs your way!!! You are handling this all with so much grace. Seriously I do not know how you do it. My husband does real estate/asset management for senior living so let me know if you have any questions while you research. I'm not sure where in NC you're putting her and what he knows about places around there but he may be able to help. He has properties all over the U.S. so he's familiar with a lot of them. I know the decision is not easy but it will be so much safer for her and take some stress of you and your dad. Stay strong!

  9. just said a prayer that God give you all strength and guidance.