Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Through My Caregiver Eyes - Nursing Home

How to begin.

My mom was never one to express preferences in life.  She usually went along with life - adjusting to whatever was put in her path without much resistance.

With one exception!

She never wanted to be placed in a nursing home.

Today she sits in a nursing home - because her physical and mental abilities do no permit her to continue in an assisted living environment.  She is getting physical and occupational and speech therapies ... and it is hoped that this caring environment will help repair the damage to her dementia that that hospitalization caused.

It is hoped.

But as I look back over the last 7 or 8 years of being there while she aged - it breaks my heart to know she is now in a nursing home.

I console myself with the knowledge that this nursing home, Brooke Grove Rehabilitation and Skill Nursing Center, is an excellent facility.  This retirement community is number 1 in the county and in the top 5 in our state.  I have been there with her through several rehabilitations 2 years ago and during this admission as well.  The staff is very stable - with many of them remembering her from other times.  And since her hospital discharge she has improved markedly because the environment is very much less stressful.

When I am feeling very down, I remind myself of those facts.

But how do I overshadow some of the memories from the hospital ...

One memory is burned in my brain.  It brings tears to my eyes even now.  After one especially difficult and frightening hospital procedure my sister and I returned to the room and found mom quietly very upset - trembling.  We stood on either side of her bed - trying to be there for her.  I don't recall if she was aware of our presence, but she pulled the covers up and began performing the sign of the cross on her person.  She silently repeated the sign of the cross over and over again.

In her mind there was no other help for her except God.

I felt helpless.

My own belief in God is less traditional than mom's and certainly not as intense.  But in that moment I desperately hoped that the spirit of God was standing by her with us.  She deserved at least that much.

Today her medical record has an order ... no ambulence transports, no hospitalizations.

Finally I have found the silver lining of dementia  ...  hope that dementia has lost that memory in her brain.

Now I must find a way to cope with that memory in my brain.


  1. I wish I was in a room with you instead of writing . . . If that were so I would help you remember your faithfulness, goodness, kindness . . . for I sensed that early on, when I first met you and your mother was living in your home with you . . .

  2. God Bless you my friend. I know where you are at right this moment. One of the hardest places to be. I have never promised Richard he won't go to a nursing home. He has wanted me to promise him. All I can do is say it will be the last resort. We made that same decision last year. No more hospitals. Sending you the biggest of {{hugs}}

  3. and even with the recent hospitalization and now nursing home . . . you are with your mother and walking on that path of life ending . . . Dementia holds few bright spots and ones life which was once rich and full seems as if never lived. I encourage holding on to those bright spots and memories. They are the "real" . . . always yours and can bring some solace as you face the decisions of today.

    I extend my friendship and caring . . . be present with your care and give rest for yourself as well.

  4. Such hard times. I'm shedding tears for you and your mom.

  5. Words fail me but I'm hugging you in my mind now.
    I pray that God will comfort you and your mom.


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