Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Living Assistance

On my mind a lot lately is assisted living.  My mom is 93.  She lives in senior apartments that do not have an assisted living option.  Mom passed her driver's license test again this year.  She has to drive with a tester to pass this test every year and so far she can do it.  She shops and cooks for herself.  The cleaning gets left largely to my sister and I who live 2 hours away, but Mom is a fairly neat person, so except for sticking a little to the little kitchen floor, she gets by.  She does her own laundry at the facility down the hall which is free.  The place is locked and buzz through or with a key so it is pretty safe.  There are exercise classes 3 times a week and other activities that are nursing-home-ish in the afternoons during the week.  The residents can get Meals on Wheels at noon, but Mom doesn't usually do that.

The  place where Mom lives is safe and manageable and pleasant.  If Mom could not drive, she could take the bus that is offered to a local grocery store on Mondays and there is a little store in the residence during the week.  There is a Burger King across a busy street and a dollar store around the corner.  Mom's church is across the street.  Mom likes where she is and wants to stay there.

The problem is Mom.  Her body is more frail which is a concern as she drives around town and even lives alone in an apartment.  If she falls or gets knocked over to have her purse stolen, no family will be able to get to town for 2 and a half hours.  But, the bigger problem is Mom's mind.  She has been sharp forever.  But, within the last year the decline has gotten faster and faster.  I am not sure whether this doctor visit might show early Alzheimers.  There is at least increased senility.

Mom lets her prescriptions lapse or nearly lapse.  She seems to think that waiting until she is out of something before demanding that the pharmacy deliver it immediately, even on a holiday weekend is an acceptable way to live.  The doctor and I have spoken to her about it, but she doesn't remember that.  I worry that she might not be taking her medicine all the time.  Her main issue is high blood pressure which I don't think is well controlled these days anyway, so I wait for the doctor to suggest something. Mom feels that an acceptable way to handle it all is not to have her blood pressure taken after exercise or any time except the doctor's office every three or four months.

Mom repeats herself and repeats herself.  She is largely still making sense, she just asks the same questions and says the same things over and over again. It reminds me of my mother-in-law who passed away with Alzheimers a few years ago when she was at the earlier stages and still knew who we were.

So, here I am.  Mom is a worry and a burden.  I don't feel as though I can give up my life to help her live hers.  She refuses to consider moving closer to my sister and I. That seems like a better solution.

So, with my brother moving out of town, I am left worried about Mom.  I talked her into getting information about assisted living.  She is thinking in a year or two.  I would feel better if we made plans this week.  Somewhere in there is a compromise.  At least there is a plan.

Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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