Restrictions- Alzheimer’s in the Family

This is my first blog since 2/18/2020. Since then mom has her 84th birthday and her facility has been locked down to protect the residents from COVID-19. Our family also lost a dear cousin, Kim, after a valiant fight with cancer. These are trying times.

Mom has continued to decline since about mid February. She is more frail and her mind is so confused. We knew that the plateau wouldn’t last but I treasure the memories that we made during that time.

Several family members visited with us for her birthday on February 27th. We had a great time with her. Spring cupcakes, bouquets of flowers plus gifts and cards. Thanks to Amos, Glenda, Kathy (and kids) for making her day special. Thank you to all her friends and family for sending the cards and packages. She reads the cards over and over and smiles. Any kind gesture is so appreciated.

Queen for the day

After everyone left, mom and I were visiting in her room. She asked me where Tom was and how he was doing. I didn’t expect that question as she had been remembering that he passed. I told her that he died over 3 years ago and she looked confused and then she just sobbed and sobbed. In the future I will tell her a fiblet, that he is in Myrtle Beach. She doesn’t need to grieve over and over because she doesn’t remember. It’s so heartbreaking.

Glenda and mom
Amos and mom
Glenda and family with mom

I have been visiting mom at least twice a week since we moved her in. The visit after her birthday I noticed that she had picked large sores on her legs. Many Alzheimer’s patients pick their skin and mom has done this for 2+ years. When she is awake you can redirect by giving her a word find book and pencil or other busy activity things but at night, when she picks in her sleep, there is nothing you can do. There is no treatment for skin picking. I talked to the unit manager and they had already called the doctor in to treat the sores. They saw them at bath time and immediately called the doctor. They take such good care of her there. Another good thing is that she hasn’t picked her arms in a long time so her arms have healed, even where she developed callouses from her picking.

On my visit on March 11th, last week, facility management was enacting safety measures due to the COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic. They limited visitation to hours 1-3 pm and 6-8 pm, the main door was locked and you had to be buzzed in and register at the door. The director told me to call before coming as that was subject to change. By Saturday I received a call that the facility was in lockdown until further notice. They explained everything to me and I’m satisfied with their proactive stance to protect the residents.

If that virus got into that facility it would be a death sentence. Sad to say. We can telephone and talk to mom as much as we would like. The most important thing is that my mom remains safe and cared for.

One thing that is interesting and frustrating for me is the number of people who are upset and angry about being inconvenienced and people who think this virus is a hoax. It isn’t a hoax and I prefer that extreme caution be taken to protect my mom and other frail and compromised people. It’s time to stop being selfish and care about others. It isn’t rocket science.

On my last visit mom told me that she liked it at Dayspring and the people were nice but she was ready to go home. I told her that she had to stay there as I couldn’t care for her anymore because of my health. She told me to give her the car keys and she would drive home and that she could take care of herself. I told her she wasn’t allowed to drive or live alone anymore. She got angry and asked who told me that. I told her that her doctors had all told us that back in June. After some discussion she settled down and forgot about going home. It’s so sad to see her on this downward spiral.

We received news last week that mom was finally approved for assistance. Over the last 8 months we had been turned down twice. The lesson here is to not give up. Apparently the third time is a charm and it doesn’t hurt to have a great caseworker like mom’s. She was awesome in helping me navigate the confusing red tape of the healthcare bureaucracy in this country. I thank her from the bottom of my heart.

We continue to play this one day at a time. I keep in touch by phone and talking with her, her caregivers and the director. They could be in lockdown for 8-10 weeks. It’s necessary for their safety. I can live with that and I just ask that folks be patient and kind as we maneuver through these times.

More later.

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