Archive for August 2nd, 2009|Daily archive page

Room selection

I met with the assisted living administrator on Friday morning to pick out Mom’s room at the nursing home. The nursing home is attached to the assisted living facility. The nursing home was there first, at the front of the property, and the assisted living apartments were added on later (not sure when) and are attached to the back of the property and down a hill. Mom lives on the first floor of assisted living, which has three total floors. It has been a perfect spot for her, just down the hall from the lobby and the dining room. I am hoping to put her similarly near the action on the other side.

We looked at three rooms that are available, two that are currently empty and one occupied by a woman whose husband shared the room with her until he died. I think I am planning to take room 237, the first one we looked at. It is just a door or two down from a nursing station and across the hall from a lounge area where I can envision Mom sitting. Just around the corner in the other direction is the hallway that would take Mom back toward assisted living. She’d have to go straight down the hall until she saw the elevator, which would take her down one floor to the assisted living lobby area. (The first and only floor of the nursing home equals the second floor of the assisted living facility because of how the property is configured.) I am hoping she’ll be able to find her way. The administrator said it would be fine for her to continue going back to the lobby to sit with her friends.

There was another room just down the hall from 237, but I think the reason I liked 237 was that the sun was blazing in the window when we looked at it, and that just added a little cheer. All the rooms are the same and they are not very big. They are shared by two people – that is all that Medicaid will cover – and they contain two beds, two small closets and a shared bathroom. A nightstand and small dresser come with the room. I am hoping we can also cram in a buffet and two chairs, at least. We’ll put Mom’s TV in there, even though she doesn’t watch it that much anymore. And we can hang up pictures. Maybe we can fit one other small table or stand in there. But it will be tight. Plus Mom has a huge walk-in closet now, which she will swap for a tiny closet space. I’ll have to really give thought to what clothes to keep and what to donate. I’d like to avoid keeping things at my house, like clothes for different seasons. Our little house is already crammed full of our own stuff that we don’t necessarily use. The one thing I will bring back to our house is stacks and stacks of photos. And maybe some knickknacks. But this is also what I would like to divvy up with my brother and sister. I want Mom’s room to look familiar and comfy, but I don’t want to crowd it with things that probably won’t hold much meaning for her, or that she could lose.

Chances are decent that Mom will be able to move in to an empty room and start out alone until someone new comes along who needs a room. I’d like to start her out that way rather than moving her in with the woman whose husband recently died. I’d actually like Mom to have a roommate with dementia, too, so she is on “equal footing,” so to speak, with her roommate. I’m told there are plenty of people with dementia in this nursing home. It is not a locked Alzheimer’s ward. But it is much more secure than the assisted living side. Mom would not be able to stay if she started trying to escape – if she is “exit-seeking” in nursing home lingo. So far, any of her exits have been for walks on the property, so I’m not too worried that she’ll do that. If she does, and she gets kicked out, I will have to find an Alzheimer’s care facility that will take her and Medicaid. I hope never to have to do that.

The administrator recommended that I make frequent visits at the beginning of her move to assure her of that continuity, that I am still in her life. I can do that. And my sister for sure will be here at the beginning, too. And I hope my brother can come. I am a little daunted about the work involved, as Mom currently occupies a space that includes a small living room, an entry with a sink and small refrigerator, a bedroom and a huge bathroom. Plus two large closets. So there is some clearing out to be done. We already know her upholstered furniture, a couch and a chair with an ottoman, plus her bed, are destined for bulk trash pickup, as they all have been peed on any number of times by the cat, or Mom, or, most likely, both. But we’ll have to figure out what to do with a few sentimental items, such as Mom’s solid wood round dining-room table and her old dresser. And an old bookshelf from her parents’ house. But it will be nothing like moving her out of her apartment and into assisted living, which was utter hell. I am so glad that hard task is behind us forever.

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