Friday, August 10, 2007

Elderly Care Facility

This day my Wife's elderly Mother, that fell and broke her hip a few weeks ago, (prev blog post) was moved to a more advanced facility where the care is more tuned to rehabilitation. The goal is to get her up and walking again. Progress was made in the 'skilled nursing' facility of the hospital where the surgery was done. Now the next stage is a little more intense with more walking to strengthen the hip.

This facility is one of the more advanced in care and attention. It is closer to our home so visits are easier. The staff and facility is very well attuned to the residents needs, with ample staff for even the late night care. The first person we met was the helpful receptionist followed shortly by the Director of Community Relations, Carol, a wonderful tall attractive woman with such sincere eyes. She took us on a tour of the facility. The rooms are carpeted, cheery, and have windows to see the difference in night and day. Don't laugh, some facilities do not. The walls had color. Hospitals are pretty stark, white and sterile in comparison.

The rooms have several activity areas close by. Today a few of the residents in this wing, were gathered around a friendly activities attendant, for a table game in the room close to our Matriarch family member. I was reading a magazine in there but could not help but enter a conversation with a bright eyed 90 year old woman playing Solitaire. She mentioned that Delaware was where she was from, and this facility brought her closer to family. I teased her about playing a game of poker. she replyed quickly that she would not play for 'money' just for fun. I had better be prepared for the next visit and bring the chips.

I told her that my own Mom played solitaire for years with actual cards until the computer given her by my sister, proved so addictive to her, that the paper cards were put away in favor of the 'virtual cards'. My own Mom passed away at 92. Now can you imagine, that a woman that age was very active on the Internet? She enjoyed daily 'email', as well as using Google searches right up until the last week of her life? She would have made a great 'blogger'.

I was reading my National Geographic but also intently observing each and every act of kindness performed by the attendants for the residents. This is the most dedicated group of professional caregivers that I have watched work. This group, which is comprised of people of all ages, attended to each need with courtesy and caring friendship.

The 'outside world' would do well to witness this life first hand. These people are driven by an inner 'Calling' and that is no doubt, as my Wife noticed. The likes of 'Hollywood Michael Moore' are totally clueless about our true society and seem to beleive that Cuba and Comunism is the best life stye, well "go for it 'Supersize Me' Mike and take 'Cindy Sheehan' with you". We need to reduce 'toxic' pollution in the USA. I can not truly understand any intelligent people following along with this 'thinking'...or lack of it. They give their 'money' to this group so they must believe in it, along with 'Rosie O' and 'Jerry Springer'.

Our Daughter in Law, with her Daughter and new baby Son, (my only Grandson) stopped by to try and fit my Mother in Law into some new garments they had shopped for and purchased for her stay. She requires five changes of clothing with her name written inside. Kind of sounds like 'summer camp' doesn't it? Many of the new clothes were understandably a little off in size but some fit well. Returning a few is always in the mix. Our family has the pleasure of being fairly close so visitors are plenty.

The elderly appreciate attention just as much as most of us young hearty souls...My equally caring Daughter in Law is planning a birthday party for my Mother in Law on her birthday. We are to have it at this facility. My own birthday is to be celebrated that day there as well. The cake will have to be very large because the residents in that wing are sure to want some as well. Fun stuff...

At a certain time and day, ice cream is served. My 'solitaire playing lady' speedily left in her wheelchair as soon as she noticed the ice cream attendants. I even received an offer to take one from a perky young attendant. Another caring attendant gave my Mother in Law the extra one she had been saving for herself. See what this group is all about?
There are different 'tiers' of care depending on need. This wings room that we are associated with, has skilled nursing and a doctor on call to assist with the special needs of a 'post surgery' resident.

A lifelong friend of my Mother in Law, is there as well. He was hit in a grocery store parking lot by an inattentive (cell phone mental block?) young woman driving through the spaces where he was loading the car with groceries along side his wife. Now he is slowly recuperating in this facility. His wife can no longer live alone now as well.

Life has interesting changes in store for all of us. Be certain that you have your 'Spiritual' life in order. Things happen in life that are out of our control. Be totally prepared for any happening and you will not be surprised by the unforeseen. Our Great Nation has some of the most wonderful people in the world. God Bless All!

Also read Global Warming, the real thing.


Blogger blogengeezer said...

Today my Wife and I went to the care facility. Her Mom was rolling her wheelchair down the hall towards her room. She was fully dressed and had been to breakfast and lunch after visiting the 'Salon' for a 'hair do' and finger nail 're-do'. What a difference from the hospital environment. Her mood seemed to be down a bit though after seeing so many people worse off than herself. She wants to return to the 'good old days' but that seems not likely in her condition. Things will improve but understandably slowly at her advanced years. This is an educational experience for us, seeing as we are headed in that direction some day ourselves. I hope I can deal with it as well as some seem capable of. Something for all to think about...

I answered a 'Casting Call' today for a film, Angel Maker. Gwyn Savage the casting director said that maybe I can be used in the next film 'Five Dollars a Day' as well as a couple of more coming up. Hopefully this remaining summer and fall are going to be somewhat busy for the Film Industry in NM which is what I keep active in. 'Swing Vote' (Kevin Costner) is 'In 'Production', so far I have three days in it, during 'Dennis Hoppers' run for president. I am a demonstrator on the Greenleaf Party. It is being filmed in the mountains NE of ABQ. I'm a conservatively dressed 'LIB', go figure that.

7:57 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Sunday at the 'Care Facility' with my wifes Mom; I brought her a couple of old 'Brookstone' toys. She is fascinated with a desk clock that waves a small electronic 'led' wand that displays the date, time, day of the week, and several little daily phrases, which appear to hang in mid air. This device keeps her interested for hours during any times that visitors are not around. Especially when the nightime hours are dragging, she watches it to see what it will say next. I also found another old 'Brookstone' device. A glass electronic 'plazma' globe with a constant beautiful multi colored Lightning display roaming around inside. Placing your hand on the globe, attracts the aura of electrical trails to follow your fingertips. Now she is just amazed at that little toy. It does not take much to entertain the elderly, and family are not always there to help stave off the inevitable boredom of a small room. Visitors find these items fun as a converstion piece as well. TV is ok but something different is always welcome. Now what can I find for my next visit?....Hmmm

7:35 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

This days visit was a nice easy time with My wifes Mom getting around more easily in her wheelchair. At some point between our last visit and today, the chair had been swapped with one that lacked a matching set of foot supports. It is taking a little bit of searching, but some were found that sort of worked. An assistant was kind enought to search the storage room for some but the functionality was in question. Maybe by tomorrow the problem will be resolved. Another Minor lunch table seating problem was solved by Carol using her influence to fix the descrepency within minutes. Great people with a genuine interest in the wellfare of the residents are the norm at this facility. Keep up the super work. we truly appreciate your dedication. My wifes Mom is getting stronger each day due to the fact that these people know when to step back and let the resident take over.

5:39 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Another surprise was given us today. My Wife was just amazed. With her help, Her Mom got up, used her walker, and went to the restroom without using the wheelchair. We have heard her talk about the other residents not even trying to get around. Many of them are really in such bad shape from debilitating strokes, heart attacks or whatever else, that they cannot ever do anything to return to a normal life, as we all take for granted. The fact that she wants to move on up a tier to the assisted living wing is a good sign. I tend to think of old age as 'the great equalizer'. It matters not who you were or what you did in life. We are all equal when our time comes to an end. What we do in the last stages is mostly out of our control...except for a relative few 'old cotton pickers'.

8:39 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Well today was another extraordinary day at the care facility. My wifes Mom got herself dressed this morning and called my wife to tell her about it. Now some may think 'what's so special about that'? When the past few weeks are all summed up, that is very special. she also was up and wheeling back from lunch. A meeting was held indicating she is progressing well. Today I found out the reason for all of this rapid advancement in her physical abilities. To sum it up, a physical fitness trainer by the name of Jennifer. Today while looking for a matching pair of footrests for her wheelchair, I met this person in a room that contains several pieces of specialized exercise equipment. Jennifer told me that my Mother-in-Law had been 'working out on the 'Nu-Step' pedal machine and also barbells for a few sessions daily. The mystery is now solved. A positive attitude on the part of my wifes Mom, a surely positive 'you can do it' attitude on the part of the trainer, and a bit of time spent by both parties, results in amazing advances in physical and mental health for the resident. I am totally impressed by such gains under difficult conditions. What a great country we live in. Dedicated people helping others to live a more satisfying life. Welcome to the USA.

6:25 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Today was the 96th birthday of my Wifes Mom. The celebration began at 10:00AM with a performance by the 'Young at Heart' singing group. My wifes Mom sang and traveled with that group for 20 plus years. The travel was all over the Nation. They performed in nursing homes and churches everwhere they were called. The routine involved early morning bus rides to far away sites in many states. The 'full dress' performance was done with a great mix of comedy and faith based music. Her Mom was the oldest member and kept up with the best of them. Today was her turn to accept their 'honor'.
Later in the day we all met in a rec room for a family gathering with cake and lemonade to honor her 96th year of life on this Earth.
The cake left over was distributed to the residents after their evening meal in the dining area. Being a Saturday, the attendants were pretty busy fulfilling the needs of the other people in the wing.
These attendants are remarkable in the fact that even under pressure, they still keep their composure. The desk is, at all times, surrounded by residents. I believe that they see some sort of connection with the attendants. The bird display is also one of the more attractive areas for people to gather. Her condition today seemed a little reserved but still wanting her two other tablemates to be with her. Her great grandchildren were well liked by the people playing cards. One little girl even won a hand of 'Rummy' or 'Rum' as she called it. This was after watching the three ladies play for only a few minutes. My brother in law said that maybe she would be a Las Vegas Dealer some day. Her parents were not thrilled about that aspect of her future but thought it would be nice if the girls visited this facility some more to cheer up any 'blues' hanging around. Sounds good to me.

7:12 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

This afternoon was a Re-hab session with 10 minutes on the Nu-Step machine. Longer each day with short intervals for breath catch-up. Then the young dedicated trainer had her stand and do many reps of dance routine to strengthen seperate muscle groups. I danced along side during this part to give encouragement along with a little levity. After that it was time for the 'medicine ball' not the heavy one we had in school, a lighter beach ball version to build co-ordination and reflexes. folowing was a larger ball to build strength in arms. 'Sit-Stand' rep exercise, helped build leg and arm muscle. A rubber band 'stretch' rep worked the shoulders and arms through several ranges. These trainers are quite patient with the residents, several of which even though younger, can not comprehend or manage even the basic 'moves'. I give extremely high grades to this 96 year old gal, she's got 'The right Stuff'

6:07 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

Yesterday we got her up and she walked about a couple of hundred yards using her walker. Each day is progress toward her goal of getting back to a somewhat normal life away from the skilled nursing facility, she is presently in. The 'Independant Living' area is looking very do-able in the near future. Many of the residents of 'skilled nursing' are in for the duration. My wifes Mom wants no part of 'the duration', so works harder than most desire to. I hope I can be that determined when it comes a situation like this. Every person handles their life differently. A positive attitude is the main requirement. Hang in there, is true.

8:46 AM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

The progress that is made by the daily regimen of physical therapy applied to her, is truly amazing. She actually walks with much more confidence now than before the fall. She walked from the front door all the way around the building to the back door, a couple of days ago. We get her out for long walks, on our visits, and she uses her walker to get along quite rapidly. The daily dosing of pain meds for an ailment she had for years is drastically reduced. Sciatica has always been a problem for her due to spinal degradation. The therapy seems to have stabilized her old condition to the point where it is manageable with 'over the counter' meds. A problem came up when my wife questioned a certain med. A very helpful and experienced nurse, brought out the books. The records of her meds and the reason why, were fully explained. A new, additional respect for this dedicated staff was established after the explanation. The food apparently is very agreeable. She is gaining weight steadily along with strength. Ice cream is a special treat a couple of times a week. The independant living area is looking more doable each day. Thank you 'Providers' you are all doing a great job.

7:34 PM  
Blogger blogengeezer said...

The latest revelation is, the day is rapidly approaching for her release from 'skilled Nursing' and the next step up to 'Assisted Living'. Our two Son's help with the transfer of some furniture from her home to the new room, was extremely welcome. The room is small but now she can watch her TV without the roomate being bothered and vice versa. Hopefully the exercise regimen will continue. Her strength is improving each day. The assistants are still doing a great job in caring for all of their guests. She gets to visit her new room, but can not stay there until released from the other wing. The restaurant style food service area is attractive. there is also a nice area where they can gather for any entertainment or just to socialize. The doors to each guests room, are customized to a small extent. Wreaths and, as my Son pointed out, shadow boxes containing memorabilia of the persons past, including treasured pictures from their younger years, are fastened to the doorways in the hall. Each person has a past life that was productive and full of adventure. This time in life, is not as easy to accept for some. Others have no problem with it. I do not know how I will deal with it when my time comes. Interesting opportunity to watch others for pointers on the future.

9:08 PM  

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