Archive for ‘Assisted Living’

October 17, 2011

I hear the Sunrise symphony…..

People with dementia have limited, if any, filters. They say what’s on their mind and don’t give a hoot about manners. It can be shocking and hilarious at the same time to watch this in action especially at the dinnertime “symphony” at Sunrise.

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October 5, 2011

I lost my daughter at Sunrise

Yesterday I went to feed my mom dinner at her assisted living facility. Clara always asks to come with me and the staff and residents over there love her so I take her as much as I can. Well, last night we were all set up in the dining room, I had my mom at her table along with assorted puzzles and toys for Clara nearby. These occupied Clara’s attention for about 10 minutes before the two year old crazies took over and she wanted to run around. Usually I just let her. It’s a lock-down facility and there is no way she can get out. Typically she’ll run around the halls and come right back to us. After a particularly difficult couple of minutes with my mom yelling at me while I tried to feed her I noticed I could no longer hear Miss Clara’s footsteps. I got up and walked into the hall.

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September 8, 2011

I had dinner with two angels last night

at Sunrise with my mom. Later I had dinner with MY little angels at home.

I go to Sunrise 5 nights a week to help feed my mom. She can sometimes eat on her own but needs constant direction and prodding. Usually I just feed her myself. It’s always a battle but eventually she eats. Normally we sit alone, she usually yells at me and has trouble focusing so sitting at our own table is the best solution. But last night our usual table had been moved so we sat at another empty table. I hoped no one else would join us but a few minutes later two other residents were escorted over. They happened to be two of my favorites, Marlene and Jerry, so I breathed a small sigh of relief. My mom was on a tear though, “You idiot!”, “NO! What are you doing?!” peppered with the usual, “Bu bu bu ba ba” and a quite a few screams and frowns. All this coming from the kindest woman I have ever known. Anyway, I’m used to it. I tried to politely have a conversation with Marlene and Jerry throughout this banter and I can only say it was, well, a challenge at best. They put up with us though, and it was actually nice to have some company at the table.

The great thing about assisted living is that it makes you realize you are not alone. My family and I struggled for years with the stigma and difficulty of dementia. We corrected my mom, we glossed over her outbursts, we laughed off her mistakes. But eventually when things progress you feel so alone, like no one around you can possibly understand unless they spend a good 5 hours with someone that has no idea what is going on around them, someone constantly at odds with her own mind. Sunrise has changed all that. I look around me there and I see wonderful people, struggling with the same problems at my mom. People with their own stories, with rich histories, successes and failures, marriages, kids, and families who love them too. I don’t feel alone anymore.

Marlene told me last night she used to be a handwriting analyst and Jerry a real estate developer (their condition has not progressed as far as my mom’s). They each took turns trying to calm my mom down and reminded her how much I must love her to come everyday to see her. It was refreshing to have a  couple of cheerleaders on my team.