After only 5 months of living in her new home, my Grandmother had a stroke which has left her paralyzed on her left side. She is unable to get out of bed on her own, walk, sit, eat…… She is bed bound with the exception of being lifted and placed in a wheel chair. She is temporarily in a therapy facility in hopes to get her strength up and have some improvement.
Where to start!!!!
The therapy facility is one with a good reputation. It is close and convenient. But like all “facilities” it does not provide the same love and care as a loved one or the comfort and well-being as being at home.
The care there……ugh….so/so. Its clean and people are nice. They all mean well and that is good. The admin is very nice and professional. The therapists are all doing a good job and the 3 hours of therapy she is receiving each day is much needed. However, they are way understaffed with their CNA’s. This causes many issues. So many issues, I really don’t like my Grandmother there without a personal aide or advocate. Since the CNA’s are really the primary caretakers in a nursing, assisted living or therapy facility, a shortage in them causes great concern. I am there as much as I can be (I visit everyday), but as a person with a full time job, I do have limitations. I have people go in 2 hour increments 2-3x a day, that way she is not left alone for too long of periods. I would suggest if you are in this position with a loved one to do a similar thing. If you are fortunate enough to have friends or family that will help you out, lean on them. If not, find CNA’s or sitters for hire. If anyone is willing to donate/work some shifts during the week you will feel much more comfortable in your decision to have your loved one in a facility whether it be temporarily or long term. With family and professionals around, the facility is more on their toes and your loved one is much better taken care of (by them and you). The help doesn’t need to be 24/7 but shouldn’t leave your loved one alone for more then a few hours at a time when they are awake.
Since my grandmother has dementia, she can not remember she is paralyzed and tries to get up- while she was left unattended in a wheel chair tried to get up and fell. She cut her leg and hurt herself. The dementia means she doesn’t remember where she is and gets confused. She doesn’t always remember how to push the nurse button and ask for help. Because of the stroke she is weak. She can not feed herself unless it is (one handed) finger food. The CNA’s drop off her food tray off while she is in a laying position and lay it on her tray, yet she cant remember how to lift the bed. She can’t cut the food or feed herself or even hold the large cups on her own. Sometimes the tray isn’t reachable. I am totally afraid to not be there (or have someone there) during food time! I bring her food in instead– things I know she CAN eat and LIKES to eat. I set it up for her and make sure she eats. When she likes the food, she eats well. They think she never eats, but the reality is she doesn’t like their food and its too hard for her to eat on her own. She will one handed fist the food I bring to her (lol).
After asking (begging) her children who live out of state to come and help me with their mother, one of them decided to come. She is here temporarily and helping out (totally appreciate that). I can not express in words the feelings I have towards her children. I know every family has selfish people- but it never ceases to amaze me. They actually find every excuse possible to NOT participate in actions or financial obligations to support and better the quality of life of their own mother. It has caused big family stress and break up.
I just bought my grandmother a computer made for the elderly with dementia so I can stay in touch with her when I am not there. I need more time to give an adequate review since its only been two days-so that will come soon. Some features I like, others need improvement. Anything that helps better my grandmothers quality of life is worth trying!!!
The one feature I can review and I know that she loves is the picture changing feature. Its similar to those picture frames you upload your pictures into and it rotates through them. The difference is I can upload from my computer at any location and it places on the computer tablet she has at her location. I can add, change, or delete pictures at anytime. This is truly great as it helps her memory and gives her something to focus on. When I am with her I make it a game and have her tell me who is in each picture and/or what it is a picture of. I included about 150 pictures so far ranging from her life. She loves watching them! The dementia makes each time a new time so its always exciting for her. I also included images that say things like “I love my Grandmother”and “I love you everyday”. She always smiles at these:)
I have also placed letters on her bed, table, and tray that tell her where she is and all the details she needs to know. If she gets scared or lonely she reads them. The staff there will read them to her too or remind her to read them. Each times she reads “Grandma you are in a rehab facility because you had a stroke…..” she says, “I had a stroke?”. Sometimes she even argues that she did not, lol, which is easily confirmed when you ask her to raise her left arm. The letters are very helpful. I printed out a few pictures and placed them in the room with some other items from home, but theft is an issue so you need to be careful. I tried to bring some familiarity into the sterile white walled room but honestly since she cant move much, I really don’t know that she is noticing the few things there. For someone who is more aware or mobile I would go all out making the room comfortable and familiar.
Right now I am trying to make my grandmother as comfortable as possible, push the frustration towards some of my family out of my head, and consider long term options that are in my Grandmothers best interest. Some of her children want whatever doesn’t inconvenience them and is free. It is very interesting how different we all think and what our priorities are. Like parenting, being a caretaker for someone you love means your priorities come second. Sucks sometimes, yes that is true, but I believe very much that our own children learn from what they see and that God will use all the bad for good.