When I started this blog many months ago a chose the title as a humorous expression of how I was feeling. My mother was driving me crazy. Little did I realize I would really slip “over the edge” . It started after I had a stay in the hospital last Fall for a blocked intestine and continued through the sorting and sale of my mother’s possessions and dealing with escrow paperwork in the sale of her house. I first felt “out of balance” which I thought might be caused by the diet I was put on. But I soon recognized the signs. I was jittery, couldn’t make decisions, and was not motivated to do anything. I began to notice only the negative news in the paper, would worry about all the projects I hadn’t completed and cried easily. I was in a state of depression. I had been there before. My seratonin levels had dropped. I needed to change my medication. Getting back to normal is a slow process, but after many months of care from a good doctor I am OK. And ready to write once again.
Assisted Living I: The Big Decision
It finally came time to move Mom from her rehab facility. It wasn’t that she had reached her goals for physical therapy, although she was walking with the walker on her own. She was still afraid and the steps she was supposed to take were more like shuffles. No, the decision point came when Medicare said they would no longer pay.
She had to move somewhere and it couldn’t be back home. I had contracted breast cancer that summer and I knew I could not drive up to Riverside to check on her along with my surgery and chemo and radiation treatments. We thought this would be the perfect time to have her move into an assisted living facility. The year before I had checked out all of the facilities close to me with the aid of a Senior Living Options representative, who was of invaluable help and I picked out the one that I thought she would fit in the best. Each facility has its own personality. Some are very low key and the residents are mellow and not very active. Others are extremely active with residents out of their rooms and participating in a lot of activities. Others are a blend of the two. The ages of the residents is a key factor in the placement decision also. If there is a large majority of 70 and early 80 year olds someone like my mother, who was in her 90’s, would not fit in. My sister and niece went with me to the place I had selected to check it out once more and we were ready to go.
However, after conferring with her doctor and the nurses we began to have second thoughts. They thought she should be where she could have more care. I called the Senior Living rep again and told her our concerns. She was quick to respond. The next day we set out to look at several residential homes that usually had room for four to five residents. These were homes whose bedrooms were converted for use for the residents. The ones we could afford had two people to a room! I wasn’t really comfortable with any of them as I tried to picture my mother with a roommate. No way. I was discouraged. The next day the representative called. “I think I found the perfect place for your mom,” she said. A new home had opened up and it would be ready to accept residents in two weeks. I made an appointment to see it the next day. She was right . It was perfect. Palm Desert Senior Living was a group of neighboring homes whose backyards were connected into one large area with grass, pond and patio. The home that my mother would live in had been recently renovated to accommodate four residents, each with their own room. It was clean and nicely furnished and I met and liked the owner Laurie. After consulting with my sister via telephone I signed a lease for six months. Now came the hard part. Telling my mother.