Thursday, 22 November 2007

more home hunting

I had a phone call yesterday from the House Manager of one of the Care Homes I visited 2 weekends ago. She brought our conversation to an abrupt halt once she reached the section in her notes that told of Mum's problems with Dementia. She told me that there were other homes run by the same company that would be better suited.

So today I used my day off work to go and visit 2 more properties run by the same Healthcare group, this time closer to my home. Both were indicated as dealing with Dementia. The first was a grand old stone mansion typical of this area of Yorkshire, the stones still blackened with Victorian soot. This place wasn't as vast as the Manor house I saw last time but was still very nicely appointed and from the exterior looked like it might appeal to Mum. The staff were warm and friendly. I was given a brochure of the place and the Receptionist looked for some additional information and gave me a smaller booklet on bereavement (I hope that was an error on her part - I really should consider buying some clothes that aren't black).

It turned out that the home was split between Nursing Care and Dementia Care. I was shown around the Dementia unit. The Residents' rooms were pleasant, though I could see that Mum would take issue with the en-suite facilities, which were limited to basin and toilet. I know Mum would like her own shower. Then we entered the communal lounge and my jaw dropped. All the residents were pretty far gone in their Dementia. Several were asleep in their chairs, a couple were babbling away toothlessly, and one was directly in our path, motionless and bent over as if she was trying to touch her toes. While the Manor 2 weeks ago had smelt faintly of urine, I'm sorry to say that this place reeked of shit. There's no way I could persuade Mum to go there, and I don't think it's the right place for her. I made a swift exit.

Next up was a smaller place even closer to home, but the Receptionist here was very clear from the start that unless my Mother needed Nursing specifically then this wasn't the right place for her. Nevertheless, she showed me around and I was encouraged to see the Residents sitting watching a movie together with plenty of staff around them. The Receptionist dug out some useful booklets, including one on Alzheimer's and one on funding a Care place (I suspect this is the one that the woman at the first place intended to give me - being a similar size). She recommended I use the resources of the Alzheimer's Society and Age Concern to track down an appropriate home for Mum.

So, another unsuccessful couple of visits, but I'm slowly learning the difference between Residential, Nursing and Dementia Care, so it's all useful. I've yet to see a place that I'd be happy to show to Mum as a possibility, but I'm confident that I'm closing in on the target.

I got home to find an answer-phone message from the Warden, telling me that he had some more concerns about Mum which he wanted to pass on. He's going to call me tomorrow.

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