Friday, 21 December 2007

moving-in day

For several days now, Mum's been drifting on and off-message. Sometimes we'll have the same conversation 4 times over about where she will be living from today. I worry that she's not made an informed decision.

I had a stressful time this morning getting Mum out the door by mid-day. I wanted the day be a good one and for it to go smoothly, but instead I found myself losing my temper again. Eventually, Mum sat in the car babbling as though she was going back down South to her old flat and simultaneously as if she was moving into the Day-Care place. Even though we have had relatively coherent conversations about the Cheshire Home, I still felt guilty.

Around 1:30 pm we arrived and I took Mum up to reception, where we sat for about 30 minutes waiting to be seen. The staff seemed to be in even more disarray than last time. Finally, someone took pity on us and took us up to Mum's "household", where there was some confusion about which room had been assigned to Mum. I had selected the one which was furthest away from the front door, from the communal television and the kitchen area, and on the side of the building overlooking a garden and field. The room looked smaller than the one we'd seen last time, there were some flaws in the finish (cracks in the new plaster, misaligned doors in the wardrobe) but overall it was acceptable and warm. Mum, at least, seemed pleased, even if my guilty eyes were finding fault. We had lunch in the decidedly chilly cafĂ© at Reception, and then I left Mum in her room while I went to sign the admission and finance forms.

The Finance Officer was another warm and friendly person, who confided that she was having some problems with her own 92-year-old Mother but "trying to keep from putting her in a home if at all possible" (thanks - just what I needed to hear). She also was a bit too quick to reassure me that of course she didn't live anywhere "around here" (thanks again). The paperwork was very straightforward, and I asked her how I should deal with Mum's personal spending. I explained my anxiety over Mum having a Debit card, given that she is prone to announcing her PIN to the whole shop, if she can remember it at all. The Finance Officer told me that hairdressing and chiropody costs would be itemised on the monthly bill sent to me, but suggested I leave some money in Mum's purse to give her the reassuring illusion that she could go out shopping if she needed to. I discussed how I was feeling about all this, and she warned me that I would naturally feel guilty about leaving Mum here, as a matter of course.

Back on the "household" floor it transpired that Mum was one of only 2 residents moving in before Christmas, so staffing levels were to be reduced for the initial period. I sat in Mum's room transcribing contact details of other relatives in the area, while Mum was served an evening meal and encouraged to decorate a Christmas tree. By 7 pm, however, Mum was evidently exhausted and she returned and fell asleep on the bed. I suggested that she got under the sheets, but then we found the bed was unmade. Once I'd sorted this, I said my good-byes. 

I hugged Mum gently. Her bowed back felt as fragile as a glass Christmas tree bauble. Driving home I felt dreadfully guilty.


after55 said...

Don't feel guilty. Your mom is so much safer now. As time goes on she will need routine just to feel safe so you are helping her a lot. It's normal to feel guilty but what choice did you have? If there was another way you would have taken it. There is always an adjustment period. She will settle in. Go get your dictionary, rip out the page that has the word guilt on it and throw that page away. Know that your mom has a wonderful daughter who is looking out for the best for her mom....Warm Regards

Greg said...

Thank you so much. It's a comfort to hear that. It sounds like you know what you're talking about. My worries are whether I've chosen the right Home but you're right that I need to give her time to settle in before deciding if that's the case here. I'm her Son, actually - her Daughter isn't involved in her life at all, unfortunately. But thank you for your thoughts.

Sorata said...

Greg, you've done nothing but to give your Mum the best based on all the information you've got. You've made the best decision for your Mum, and that's what you need to remind yourself of.

There are a lot of external factors that can affect the outcome of this Home, but as you have no control over them for the time being, you should drop those worries and evaluate it as they come. Alright?

You've gave your Mum the best Christmas gift this year: the care, the thoughts, the future. Even if she might not know it or show she appreciates it at first, you did. *hugs*

Merry Christmas.

Greg said...

Thanks. I'm going to pick her up on Christmas Day and bring her here for the night. Some friends and I are cooking a big meal (well we've got food enough for about 3 meals!) but I'm sure Mum and I will have time to talk about how she's finding her new home. Direct questions don't really work with Mum as she usually answers how she thinks you want her to answer, but she may give me other indications.

Merry Christmas to you, too!