Some of you know that my mother has Alzheimer’s. It is amazing how many people are dealing with parents having Alzheimer’s. It’s no fun.
We moved my mom from her own apartment into an Alzheimer’s facility about six months ago. She clearly wasn’t safe living on her own, but it was hard to do. The place seemed good. It was in Appleton, Wisconsin, near where my brother lives.
But she remembered enough to know that she didn’t like it there. She just wanted to be on her own. So she started sneaking out. I have to hand it to her, she’s very resourceful. The doors have alarms so she would remove a screen window and slip out (first floor windows, but still).
This place ultimately told us that she had to be moved to a more secure facility. Luckily we were able to find a good one. Or so we thought. It was a bit nicer than the first place, more staff and they said they had experience with “wanderers”.
It turns out salesmen are salesmen, even in Alzheimer’s facilities. This was a serious case of overselling.
We visited her last weekend. She hadn’t seen Victoria yet and Danielle had been asking to see Nana. So we made the long trek to Appleton. My brother had told me that she was declining. It was very true. She knew who I was most of the time, but not all of the time. She seemed to know who Danielle was, but didn’t know her name. There was one point where she looked at my wife and had the following conversation:
“Hello, where are you from”
“My, what a long trip. Are you here visiting someone?”
“Oh, I thought you looked familiar”
You have to laugh, otherwise you’d only cry.
But we would later find out that Mom was escaping from the new place as well. They just weren’t always telling us. She had started to get a bit manic depressive. She could be happy as a clam and then suicidal a minute later. One time she escaped and tried to go to a street and go into traffic, apparently trying to get hit. She wasn’t taking her medication, but the place didn’t tell us that.
So finally they recommended a short stay in a hospital that specializes in Alzheimer medications. They would observe her for 72 hours and try to get her on the right medication. But legally, we couldn’t just send her there. The Alzheimer place couldn’t just send her there. The only way for this to happen (short of getting her declared legally incompetent) was to let her escape again, call the police and have the police pick her up. The police could refer her to this hospital.
So that’s what happened. Her medication has been shifted to address her manic episodes. And she has been moved to a new, more truly secure place. We’ll see how she reacts to that.
But it was good to visit. Danielle got to see her Nana. Both my mom and my brother got to see Victoria for the first time (my brother will actually remember it). And Victoria is becoming a Packer fan…