Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Safe Haven

It is time for One Word Wednesday.  This is a little exercise created by my friend Lisa Moles.  She wrote down 52 words and threw them in a jar.  Each Wednesday her kids draw a word. Lisa shares it with her followers, a community of caregivers, and we all write about how that word strikes us in our care giving capacity.  Today's word is SAFETY.

I have been a caregiver all of my adult life.  I took care of my children as a parent.  My husband as a spouse. The people on my beat as a police officer.  Rookie officers as a training officer. My pets, and there have been many throughout the years.  My farm animals.  My exchange students and most recently my parents.

My parents moved in with me many years ago when my Pops got lung cancer.  Mom was showing the first signs of  Alzheimers/Dementia disease and Pops had been her sole care giver.  When Pops got sick, he needed rest and Alz patients cannot comprehend any one else's needs but their own so Frank and I moved Ting into the small bedroom upstairs, moved ourselves into Tings room and turned our master suite into a little area for my folks.  A new care giving role evolved for me as I helped my Pops die with a lot of assistance from Hospice.

Once Pops died Mom's mind seemed to leave with him.  Prior to that time she still pretty much had contact with reality but after his death she seemed to lose it more and more each day.  We moved Mom, upstairs to the small bedroom, moved Ting back into her room and we returned to our master suite.  That was 4 years ago now.  It has been quite the experience dealing with this awful disease.  Last October, I started documenting  my journey with Mom.  You can read all about it here.  These posts turned out to be very popular so I dedicated and entire page for Mom and my care giving journey here.

During time of documentation, Mom fell several times during this period.  You can read about those falls here, here and here.  These were very scary incidents' and the last one got me to worrying about Mom's safety since her bedroom here was upstairs.  We started talking about moving our house around again and moving Mom back into our bedroom but we weren't sure that would help.  None of the falls had thus far happened on the staircase it was small steps that seemed to cause the problem.

As Mom's disease progressed she could no longer remember that she lived here in this house.  She always wanted to go home.  She left my brother's house while he was caring for her and upon hearing the door close he ran down and found her walking down the drive "going home".  While I was in yoga class and Frank was making dinner he heard Mom open the front door.  Again she was "going home".  We put extra locks on all the doors, up high where she couldn't reach them, for her safety.

Last month, after 6 years, I finally acknowledged that I could no longer care for Mom in the capacity that she needed.  I placed her in a memory care center and she has adjusted extremely well.  We make sure that Mom has a visitor at least once each day to assure us of her safety and we intend to install a nanny cam to further ease our minds.

I am now embarking on a new care giver role, that of grandmother.  We have been putting together the baby's nursery and need to go out and buy electrical socket covers, cabinet door locks, baby gates.....all those things designed for a baby's safety.

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