Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ok, I'm back

We are back on home territory and I'm attempting to squeeze back into my blogging boots. What a trip. Long story short, during the final 10 days of our time at my mom's, we moved my mother into assisted living. Unbeknown to us, that is what her aged care social worker had expected us to achieve during our time home, although of course, she didn't assume the responsibility of letting us know this ahead of time so we could prepare. I'd been under the impression that it was Mom's decision to make, not mine. Instead  the social worker chose to go the 'threatening' phone call route.

I just happened to casually mention to the visiting nurse that Mom wasn't wanting to move into aged care yet. 10 minutes later we get 'the call'. The conversation  opened with this,

"We can no longer provide any of our services to your mother. I will be ceasing them all as of today. Your mother will no longer receive a weekly nurse, a senior companion or the lifeline facility. I just wanted to let you know that because your mother will not be moving into assisted living, we can no longer help her as we feel she is unsafe in her home. We've already extending our services longer than we'd planned because we knew you were coming. But since you've failed in making this change for your mother we can no longer provide these services."

"I'm sorry, what?"

Telepathy doesn't work very well for me. I'm just not tuned into that channel apparently. Suppose I hadn't made that comment?

There is more to that conversation. Indeed. In the end, I had the social worker come over to the house. She can't get off easy by just relaying this crap over the phone. Face to face please. Thank you.

As one can imagine, it was a challenge and a half. Put together one rambunctious almost 5 year old who needed much more outdoor time than was possible to give, with one memory impaired octogenarian and you've got yourself an enormous pocketful of challenges, a managerial minefield.

"Grandma didn't remember telling you that story, Bub." Shoulder pat.

"Yes, I know you've heard it before, me too, but Grandma doesn't recall that, plus she likes telling it. It brings her happiness. It's kind of fun to hear it again too, isn't it?" Hopeful look.

"Yes, I understand you don't like to be told things over and over again but try to relax about this. We are here to help Grandma. Let's make sure that Grandma is happy." Another hopeful look.

"Well, I'm sorry if I sound bossy. I'm just trying to explain things from Grandma's point of view." Sigh.......

"Look, I know you don't like bossy but I need your help. I need your cooperation and it would be great if we could all just try to remain cheerful." Grumble grumble........


And those were the more promising exchanges. There were some truly awful scenes of intense behaviour that I'm not sure I can even put to words. Sometimes my chest would hurt from the stress of it all.

But in the end, Grandma now lives in lovely accommodation which I think she will like in time. I sensed a bit of 'post performance let down' - what us former dancers might feel after a final performance that you worked 9 months on to then perform only 5 times - but I am hopeful that the staff will help her become involved. When I called yesterday, she'd had a busy day of going to a memorial service at the battleship memorial and then to the church bazaar so it sounds like she's getting out and about and had a great day. That is my greatest fear - that she will just sit in her little apartment and feel abandoned.

I worked hard to do her apartment up cute. It's something I enjoy - especially with downsizing. It was fun to try to figure out what to bring. She has most of her carnival glass there (I brought home to OZ 1 candy dish....), and other lovely treasures. I figured she'd want her treasures. I would. It might be a little over stuffed with treasures but not too bad. She mentioned that she wanted her sewing machine so I will have to send an email to my uncle to see if he can get her to the house to get it.

I managed to bring home a good portion of vintage scraps, half the wool fabric, some large skeins of knitting wool (she used to machine knit) and a couple of unfinished quilts. I brought few breakables home as I just didn't feel confident about their safety. I guess that will be for another trip. I'll probably go back in about 6 months time to help clear the house. Final decisions and all.

Sans the 5 year old though. I know I'll miss him, and so will Grandma, rascally fellow as he is, but my attention will need to be focused in a different direction for a change.


forward tumble said...

What a way to end a holiday break. Beggars belief these social service people.

sending love and a pat on the back, well done for keeping it all together

and my warmest wishes to your mum in her new home

xx Ines

Cathy {tinniegirl} said...

Welcome back. It sounds like a huge trip on lots of levels.

Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog today. I really appreciated it, and think you might be right about some of it being post-performance or post-event coming down.

Hey, can you email me. I want to get your postal address. I have a little something I want to send you and I don't have your email address to get in touch.

CJCACC's Mom said...

Welcome home my dear friend!

Sounds stressful beyond words.

Please give Mr. M a kiss from his Mexican auntie.

Aylwen said...

My goodness. I didn't realise how much stress you were under. Hope you are breathing better now.

We're heading over to the US in August for the Vintage Dance Week in Newport - want to join us for that and use it as a de-stessing exercise?


Karin said...

Oh I would love to join you Aylwen! Sounds awesome. Is that Newport Rhode Island? I could maybe get an ex-dancer friend of mine to join us. Oh how fun! Of course, all depends on finances. They always have the final word!

Thanks everyone. I am feeling more balanced again after a few days. Just got an email from my brother who seemed very pleased with our help so that is encouraging for me. He was great too. But we missed out on our trip to the Black Hills. Next time.

laura said...

That was some vacation! I hope your next one is a little more relaxing. I feel for your little guy though! We were helping my grandfather clean out his house and he drove us crazy with his constant repetitions! Even though we knew he had Alzheimers it was still tough. And I don't think your mother will be doing a lot of sitting around, those places keep their residents on the run!

JustJess said...

Oh Karin - I had no idea that you were going through this. Sending you hugs, energy, support. Please let me know if I can help with The Four Year Old. xx