From Sandi in FL
My mother has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's and, because
of those issues, resides in a wheelchair. I am her
sole caregiver. She came to the Keys so I could oversee
her care while she lived in a nursing home about a mile
from my home. It has been quite the experience, with a
lot of twists and turns. The first nursing home closed
down and evicted everyone "just like that." Over 100
residents were split up, all were scattered to different
places, some died as a result, and a few quickly got to
travel together to yet another nursing home on short
notice. My mother was one of those people. She had to
move north to Homestead, over 100 miles round trip for
me, while I worked 90 miles round trip in the other
direction. It took me almost two years to "get her back"
to the local facility by my home.
I learn something from my mother every day, even though
she is now 87 and I am 62, just retired from teaching
second grade. (She is a saint, a pleasant saint.) When I
am not with her, I am forever dealing with paperwork
issues, medical reports, meetings about her, billings,
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, a vast array of
roommate issues over the years, nurses, caregivers who,
though nice, don't speak her language or mine. At this
point, my mother hardly speaks at all and eye contact is
something we have to work at as Parkinson's takes away
your ability to show expression. She also has a tremor.
It's hard to watch your own mother progress into more
My only sibling, her son, and his entire family, stepped
out of the picture four years ago when I moved her from
Chicago to the Florida Keys. They wanted her to move
because she got lost driving twice and the police took
her license away. My brother saw the writing on the wall
and he and his wife wanted no part of further care. She
lived in the home she helped them buy to raise their
children, but they wanted her "out," so I took her. I
thought they would be happy. They were SO happy, they
stopped all communication as if she does not exist,
except maybe a Christmas card from her son, but nothing
from the grandchildren she helped raise. I never hear
from them either. It has been a difficult experience for
my mother. That's what Alzheimer's is like in this
particular case. Everyone wants to forget, not just the
person with the actual disease.
It leaves me to wonder, if she did not have me, an
educated daughter who has the patience to fill out
endless forms, who would be watching over her interests?
How does that work?
I am sure there are even more difficult stories of those
with parents living in their home. It is a fallacy to
think that you "drop your parent off" at a nursing home
and just stop by once in a while with a piece of coffee
cake and copy of Ladies Home Journal and then leave.
It's not like that at all.