Archive for March 30th, 2011|Daily archive page

Another care conference

I had a quarterly care conference with staff members at the Alz center last week. Mom lost 13 pounds over the last three months. Isn’t that amazing? She walks so much, but she apparently is also eating only between 50 percent and 75 percent of her meals. I guess her restlessness makes it difficult for her to concentrate on sitting still for meals. But she enjoys 100 percent of her snacks, which I think is funny. She can be mobile and enjoy a snack, which is often also sweet – a cookie, a jelly sandwich, sometimes a peanut butter sandwich. On Fridays, when ice cream is served after lunch, pretty much 100 percent of the residents enjoy the snack for the day, Mom among them.

Mom also occasionally participates in activities. She recently even sat in on a crafting session, which took the activities director by surprise, because Mom hasn’t done that much lately. Part of Mom’s problem is she doesn’t necessarily know how to perform the task at hand – painting, or coloring, or assembling puzzle pieces, or whatever it might be. And she doesn’t take well to being given instructions, either. She is well-known for that character trait.

She still spends a lot of time with Mr. R. Interestingly, though, he is making rounds to other women – something that I thought had stopped. I certainly don’t mind this, and apparently Mom doesn’t mind, either. They find each other and hang out a lot, but they also spend time apart. One staffer told me Mom will sometimes hold hands with a female companion, as well. She likes companionship of all kinds, and I am glad she is able to find that wherever and whenever she needs it. It’s really so sweet to think about residents just enjoying the comfort of holding another’s hand and resting on a couch, or taking a little stroll.

Mom apparently is having trouble finding her words – not new, but apparently she shows some frustration about it. If something is troubling her, she might describe a problem using words and phrases that are very hard to decipher. But if someone on the staff responds with kind attention and offers some comfort, Mom responds well to that, too. I was glad to hear that. For the most part, she is super pleasant. “She’s a joy,” the nurse said.

The nurse also went through the list of Mom’s medications and I learned for the first time that she is taking a blood pressure medication. I had never heard this. Typically, in care conferences, we discuss meds related to the disease and mood. But the nurse was going through every detail on this day, she said, just because. She looked through Mom’s chart and it appeared that Mom’s previous facility started her on this drug without telling me, probably when her behavior was really disruptive for those two weeks between assisted living and the move to the Alz center. I said I didn’t really see the need for her to be on that – I had never heard that her blood pressure is high. So they are looking into it. By now, I would imagine her BP is normal, considering how completely content Mom is. Call me crazy, or mean or, I don’t know, LOGICAL, but I don’t see any point to controlling the blood pressure of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease.

I visited Mom after the care conference, and found her with Mr. R in the program area. She had her leg hoisted on the arm of his chair, which cracked me up.

A relaxed Bonnie. She also had her sleeve pushed up because her skin was itchy.

I visited briefly with her. She said a few interesting things, including: “Where are the three little girls?” Could that possibly be a reference to her three children? And, “I was waiting for Emily. She was sweeping the floor.” I later looked behind me to find a housekeeper mopping a floor in a distant room. This reinforces my theory that at least sometimes, the things Mom says are observations of the world around her. The best thing she said, though, was upon my departure. I said, “I should leave now; I have to get back to work.” And she said, “Did you brush your teeth?” For someone who misses having a mom, that was a delicious little reminder of days gone by.

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