This was my lunch at Sushi Oto, where I used to go with my mom.
My mom wasn’t in her room when I arrived at her assisted living facility.
Her name was still on the door. Her things were inside. I took a quick roam around to the dining room and living rooms to see if I could find her.
I stopped at a nurses’ station and was informed that she was upstairs in “Skilled Nursing.”
My brother had told me that they were going to move her there eventually. He fought against it for two years. But I didn’t know they finally moved her. She had fallen several times, she wasn’t walking and she’s incontinent — so she went to the next level of care.
When she first moved in, she was in a two-bedroom apartment on campus that didn’t have help. Then she was moved into a studio room when she need more help with daily tasks.
I found her upstairs in the skilled nursing floor. The rooms are all the same. Two hospital beds with a curtain in between.
Her roommate came out from behind the curtain, wearing nothing but adult diapers. I mean stark naked except for pull ups. She spoke gibberish and my mom dove under her blankets to hide.
I went to the nurses station and said, “The woman in my mother’s room is talking to me and I don’t understand what she needs.”
“Oh, don’t mind her. She has severe Alzheimer’s. I’ll send someone to check on her,” the attendant said.
Two staff members came in and profusely apologized to me as the naked geriatric patient was standing at my side.
“Miss Helen, where are your clothes?” she was asked.
They moved her back to her side of the curtain and got her dressed.
My mom needs physical help, but mentally she is not as far gone as most of the people I saw on the skilled nursing floor. She has trouble with short term memory but enjoys laughing and has a great sense of humor.
During my last visit, we played croquet and I took her out to lunch for sushi. We played cards in the card room, went to Bingo and chair yoga. This visit, she demanded that I take her back to her old room. I told her if she could walk to the elevator, I would take her there. She walked about ten yards with her walker and said, “I can’t do it.”
What a reminder for me to get out and move. I’m heartbroken at how quickly my mom has aged since my last visit.
When our parents age, do you find it heartbreaking too?