Posted by Owen Griffiths at 20/09/2012 14:14:32
It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post ‘how to raise the subject of finances with the family’.
My wife and I had a weeks holiday in Wales. We stayed with family close to the home where my grandma now lives, which gave us several opportunities to visit my grandma during our stay. Whilst she seems happy enough in herself, her short term memory is now worse than ever, which is rather sad to see. However, in one visit she was equally thrilled and overjoyed each of the ten times my wife and I told her we were married! It reminded me that it’s all relative.
I found that by visiting several times in one week, I saw more of the good and bad days than in a weekend visit. On one of the days I visited, the weather was scorching hot and it seemed to throw all the residents at the home into confusion. Some days my grandma recognised me immediately but on others, she thought I was my dad or even my granddad (understandable, as there is a strong family resemblance). The memories she now lives with are from a much earlier part of her life and she sees herself as a young woman in her 20’s – she even introduced me to another resident as her boyfriend on one of the visits!
One of the heart-warming things on each visit is regardless of whether my grandma remembers who I am, the look of joy on her face whenever we visit shows some degree of recognition, even if it is subconscious. Even though I know my grandma will have no memory of us visiting once we leave the room, the glint of recognition and smile she keeps even after we have gone, makes the visiting feel so important.
One of the difficulties in considering the move is that the care home she is in already is doing a great job. The home was originally run by Southern Cross, whose recent collapse gave us much anxiety, as the future of the home and residents was unclear for a while. The home is now run by HC One and the difference is remarkable. The atmosphere they have created is a homely one, not clinical. The staff are great with all the residents. It’s the little warm things like reading through the paper with the residents that makes all the difference.
However, it finally looks like we’ve had a breakthrough in finding a potential place for my grandma. Phone calls with Staffordshire’s health services revealed that Staffordshire’s care home charges are two thirds those in Wales, so there is no financial barrier to the move. Even better, an Alzheimer’s care home place has become available in a home within five miles of my parent’s home. Provided my grandma’s care plan checks out ok, it looks like there may now be an end in sight.
Next time - sorting through the details with the new care home…