In response to the profound unhappiness that my mother was experiencing in her residence in aged care, before Christmas she took things into her own hands. Firstly, she asked me to make contact with other aged care places she had looked at to see where she was on the waiting list. No good news was forthcoming from this – she was still on the list… and waiting.
Mum had determined that she did not want to be in a place that was run under the profit motive, as her residence then was, as she blamed this for the low quality of care/low carer to resident ratio. As well, she wanted somewhere that was physically endowed with gardens and outdoor areas. As I was moving to Bundoora, proximity to me was also a factor. Continue reading “14 Trees”
One day this week mum found that the only carers available to her that morning were two 19 year old girls. She was aghast! How could they at their young age be expected to look after 28 elderly, including 4 who needed two staff to be hoisted to sitting, or to the toilet. Both had only been working as carers a short time, and had not done the morning shift in her section before.
They were lovely girls, she said, enthusiastic and willing, but that’s not the point. Admittedly they had been scheduled on with an older more experienced carer, but that person called in early unable to attend due to a sick child. The more experienced carer was not replaced, leaving the two young girls to manage the morning shift for 28 people between them. Mum feels more comfortable with mature women carers, as she can develop better friendships with them. She doesn’t have much in common with the younger ones, and building a friendship is important as carers are her main contacts on a daily basis. Continue reading “Be Happy!”
The concept of groundhog day has been popularised in the film by that name with Bill Murray as the main character, where he experiences the same day occurring over and over again. This happens for Mum every time there is someone new taking care of her. That could be a new carer, or as with events this week, even with someone new in the kitchen.
Mum has special needs. She is not the person going slowly demented, and waiting to die. She is bright of mind, but has lost muscle in her arms and legs. She cannot use her hands or do anything for herself. She has no grip, and no movement in her fingers and her hands hang from a wrist no longer strong and straight. She can only feed herself by using special cutlery with very thick handles that she is only able to partially grip, and move them using the strength that still remains in her upper arms. This is all because she has a neurological condition – a form of slow progressing motor neuron disease where all her limb muscles are wasting away.
Because she cannot cut anything, she has instructions on the name tag on her food tray for her food to be cut into bite size pieces. I was unexpectedly there when she had lunch this week and the food came all shredded, ie, slightly larger than if it had been grated. Even the peas were chopped up!
Continue reading “Groundhog days in Aged Care”