02 January 2010

"Elegant Senior Living"

My mother is 84. In the 1950's our family Doctor prescribed diuretics for her, and we have since found out he should have prescribed Potassium supplements to take with them. Her heart was damaged, and she had her first pacemaker installed when she was 58. She is a tough bird, and is in better physical and mental health than anyone expected her to be at this time.

She lives by herself in a home for Seniors in Pensacola, Florida.
Enter the front door and you'll see a Grand piano, two fireplaces and a sitting area in the foyer. The premises also has a billiard room, indoor swimming pool, theater, workout room, dining area in addition to kitchenettes in individual rooms, and a putting course out back. The sign out front says "Elegant Senior Living" and it's true... I wouldn't mind living there myself if I could afford it.
This is not a nursing home... you're really supposed to be self-sustaining in order to live there. Still, people get older every day, and she's had some interesting "age related" stories to tell.
This morning she emailed me one:

Ok , it is 3:45 on the first night of the new year.
I have been up watching the ball and Pelican drop with other friends in the common area on the second floor.Have gone to bed and am asleep when my squeaking door opens and closes waking me up. A little scared but I try to go back to sleep when my squeaking door really opens and the light from the hall shines in... I say "who is there" and a man's voice says " how do I get out of here?" I say " you don't need to get out of here" because I can see by his silhouette that it is a decrepit old man that I could knock over with a feather. He has boxer shorts and t-shirt and nothing else on... has a cane and a twisted knee. I recognize him as the man who lives around the corner in the hall, so I try to take him back to his apartment but it is locked up tight . Nobody else on the first floor is awake. He says " I woke up and I was in the wrong bed", so I told him to go lie down on the couch in the common area of the first floor and I go back to bed. I lay there still with my heart beating 'til it hurts for a few minutes and worried that he might get out the front door that opens automatically and not be able to get back in so I get up and go check to see that he is on the couch and he is, so I come back to my apartment and call the nurse on the 3rd floor and they come down and unlock his door and put him to bed. I go back to bed but can't get to sleep until it is daylight. I missed breakfast .
I don't want to do that again.
Never a dull moment.


Greybeard said...

Mom, I wish I had a nickel for every time I've suggested you lock your door. And I truly believe the only reason you don't lock it is because you like to have things to complain about.
This was a good one...
Thanks for sharing.

cj said...

She sounds like a real pip, GB...

You're lucky to have her around. This time of year has me missing my parents that much more.

Thanks for sharing.


wksaz said...

Hey GB, going through this myself right now. My dad was at a place like hers for a short time, and is now back at home. (With caregivers) He is an 81 year old Norwegian "ex" Marine, retired farmer and generally stubborn, cantankerous but nice old dude. He was too stubborn to live there.

An elderly friend of mine told me that "It'll be OK Brady, it's tough raising parents". Dad doesn't listen to my suggestions either.


Greybeard said...

My thoughts are with you, Brady.
"With caregivers" is the important term I picked up on in your comment.
My folks cared for my grandfather for years without outside help, and dealt with his senility and stubbornness with more patience than I could ever have shown.

After her stroke, Sara Jean's Mother came to live with us. She wasn't working at her after-stroke therapy... she had pretty much decided she just wanted to die. The stress of continuously hearing her in pain, along with the workload of caring for her by ourselves was taking its toll on our relationship. We finally realized it wasn't fair to her, or us, and luckily found a home for her right here in town. It was one of the hardest decisions we ever made.

Happy New Year to you and your "cantankerous" former Marine Dad. When you begin to lose patience with him, just think how frustrated he must feel, being out of control of his life.
I wish you well.

Bubbles said...

Love this story. GB, I am a geriatric nurse working in long term care facilities for years. I love the elderly, they have so much to offer, especially the ones that still have their witts about them. I do enjoy working with dementia and Alzheimer's also. Someday I would like to open my home to 2-4 people and be their private caregiver. My aging mother lives with me now, it is so different when it comes to caring for a loved one. I think it is harder and I don't always see the situation the same as when I am delivering care to a resident where I am employed. Thank you for sharing your mother's event with us.