I’m Not Really in a Nursing Home

June 30, 2009

Bird of Paradise Flower, My Mother's Favorite

As some of you know, my mother’s been in an nursing home assisted-living facility since last October. In a recent call to her to say Hello, she spoke as usual about her frustration at not being allowed to go home, to be cared for there. Although she can afford to be cared for at home, the nursing home assisted-living facility was more “convenient” for other family members. She spent Easter and Mother’s Day alone, despite the fact that one of the relatives who chose the nursing home assisted-living facility lives 10 minutes away. So my mother spends her remaining lucid days — before the Alzeheimer’s curtain falls — in the company of strangers, instead of in her home of 40 years. I find it sad, and disrespectful. It was easy for us. Was it easy for her?

She worsens by almost imperceptible degrees. In a recent conversation, she discussed going to a musical recital of some sort at the facility. When I said I was glad she could participate in activities at the nursing home, she said: “I’m not in a nursing home.” “Then where are you, Shangri-La?” I wondered. The Garden of Eden? Utopia? It’s hard to tell what’s going on in her mind. She recently lost the ability to tell time. One of her friends visited and spent quite awhile teaching my mother that the small hand was the hour hand and the big hand was the minute hand. Soon, my mother was telling me that the “big sticks” on the wall clock made it “too hard to learn to tell time.” Soon, time won’t matter at all. The last of her good days will be gone.

Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease.

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