Ch.107 Pat Moves to a Very Good Memory Care Center
September 13, 2021
Three months ago, I helped Pat apply to a local memory care center that I will name “The Refuge.” (I am using fictional names for people and places to preserve the privacy of the caregivers and the agency). This center has an excellent reputation; several of my support group members have placed their loved ones at The Refuge and been very satisfied with the level of care those individuals received. Above all, this place could provide Pat with a level of safety the assisted living center cannot provide.
The waiting list for The Refuge was about 10 persons deep when we applied, so I expected we wouldn’t be able to get there for at least a year. But, amazingly, just last week I received a phone call from Betty, the administrator, saying that everybody in front of us had passed on an opening and so we could have a room if we wanted it. YES! Yes, we wanted that room.
There were a few wrinkles that needed to be addressed, though. The most significant one revolved around the possibility of trying Pat on “mood-stabilizing” medications designed to ease her fears and subsequent defensive bouts of aggression. We wrote about this issue a couple chapters ago “(What We’ve Avoided Telling You”). Fortunately, after a candid conversation with the Director and Head Nurse at The Refuge, we have reached a mutual understanding. Pat will begin without additional medications. There will be a thirty-day evaluation period, after which we will re-examine the situation.
The transfer was scheduled for the coming Monday. On Friday, though, Pat fell out of bed, bumped her head, and was taken to the hospital for a checkup. Nothing broken. We brought her back to Peaceful Life. And then Pat fell out of bed again, that same day. She returned to the hospital. This time the doctor discovered Pat has a urinary tract infection, her third in about one year. Next morning, Saturday, Pat returned to the assisted living center in a very weakened state. Later that day she could not get out of bed, even with a two person assist team.
I was scared. If Pat could not get out of bed even with help, shouldn’t we change her destination from The Refuge to the hospital? I recalled how weak Pat became with previous urinary tract infections. She could have died if she hadn’t been hospitalized. However, my daughter Cindy, who has been with Pat, tried to reassure me; she said that this time the uti had been discovered early and that Pat is already taking antibiotics for it. Cindy was certain Pat would be strong enough by Monday to get into her wheelchair with little difficulty. I hoped with all my anxiety-filled heart that she was right. I knew I wouldn’t feel safe until she got there. I wouldn’t feel safe until I knew Pat was safe.
And now the good news: PAT IS THERE! At The Refuge. As Cindy predicted, she did gain strength over the weekend. Pat had a hard time getting dressed and a tough ride in the van, so she arrived exhausted. However, she was re-energized a little when she was enthusiastically greeted by the Director and the facility nurse. This evening she even had enough energy to get out of bed and eat dinner in a private dining area with my daughter Jenny.
It may seem strange to be so excited about getting someone to a memory care facility. But that is where Pat needs to be. That is where we, her family, need her to be, so we can all feel she is safe and well- tended.
Pat’s Comments on: Pat Moves to a Very Good Memory Care Center:
I like it here. I like the people. I like the food. I’m not feeling scared here. I feel safe.