Goldilocks mission for Little Red Riding Hood successful thus far: The dreaded nursing home decision.

little redI haven’t written any posts for more than a week. I’ve been a bit numb from the drain of the last weeks with Mom, or Little Red Riding Hood, as I like to call her on my blog. And I know you readers enjoy my more light-hearted posts. So I’ve been torn about writing about Little Red Riding Hood for the last month or so. But it’s part of my Life on Wry, so I’m sharing a post I wrote today for my other blog, Laughing at Alzheimer’s (because laughing doesn’t’ make my mascara run).  So here we go.

Nursing Home selected. Check. (I’m tired … are you?)

The much anticipated intervention meeting with my Stepdad was successful. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy convincing a man that it’s best for his wife of 30-plus years to be in a nursing home because of the level of care she needs. But the hospice folks helped me get through this difficult conversation. It had to happen. I was losing too much sleep worried about them both.

We ended the meeting with him open to the idea and to hearing about my top choices after researching and touring area nursing homes that were a potential fit.

The next day when I came to help with Mom, I again explained to my Stepdad that I wasn’t trying to be pushy, but that I felt – for various reasons that I explained and probably over-explained – that it was the right thing to do for both of their safety and well being, as hard as it was to formulate those words.  He knew I didn’t take this lightly and that I had been researching options for when the next shoe might drop (after our infection in December sent Mom into a tailspin of decline). He knew my heart was in the right place.

In true Goldilocks style, I have been researching and touring various nursing homes of various sizes with differing amenities and programs. Small, medium, big homes, ones with lots of programming and little programming, ones close to my house and close to my parents’ house, in the lower, medium and higher price ranges.

I participated in these tours almost robotically, as if for a work project for which I was designing a features and benefits grid in order to write a brochure about their differences. I only cried on the way home from the tours a couple of times. It was a completely surreal experience. I wanted to have my sister with me, but it wasn’t an option. She’s been gone for 13 years. This was a solo mission. And she was with me in spirit, I really think she was.

After I went through all of my notes and all of the brochures with my Stepdad he agreed. He said it sounded like I had a favorite and he liked my rationale. I gulped and told him how much pressure that was to be the one to pick and he calmed my nerves and reminded me how much effort I had put forth. Was he really on board? He would go see it with me later in the week (last week) and bring his checkbook for a deposit if it felt right.

Was I hearing him right? Was he really on board? Don’t get me wrong, this took much time and many “come to Jesus” conversations, as I like to call them, over the last couple of years, and more angst than I can even explain. But he knew I seemed more serious this last few months since Mom’s decline. And he knew, in his heart, it was time. But was I actually hearing him agree with me on this subject for which I dreaded the very thought of? Indeed.

I explained to him how one of the nursing homes just felt right to me and I could picture Mom there. How natural it even felt with the Executive Director who gave me the tour. She reminded me of someone dear from my hometown. So many things made it seem like the right place. I drove away dabbing tears and pulling myself together, knowing that it was the place my Mom should be.

I took my Stepdad a couple days later. It was clear to me that he had taken some time to think about this whole issue, and felt even more resolve that the stimulation and care she could receive was what would be best at this point in her decline. I was still in shock that this was really happening and that I had steered our ship to this point.

Tomorrow the ‘assessment team’ from the nursing home will assess her at my parents’ house. To determine her needs, and that the facility is a good fit. Now that we’ve come this far, I only hope it will all go smoothly. I know it’s going to be a rough ride, but surely it can’t be more rough than the last couple of years, right? I’m probably wrong about that aspect, but I still know in my heart it’s what is best.

I’ve already picked out a comforter and curtains for her little room. They have flowers and the colors of pink roses in them like she likes, or liked anyway. And I have a list ready of what all that I will furnish her room with, from photos and knick knacks to her wall calendar and hand lotion. My stomach is wrought with unease, and I wake each morning consumed with guilt and wishing my sister were here to tell me I’m doing the right thing.

We’ll see what tomorrow holds. I’m going to think positively. Besides, that’s what I tell everyone else to do all of the time.

But being a grown-up really does suck sometimes. And it makes me tired.

Wish me luck.

19 thoughts on “Goldilocks mission for Little Red Riding Hood successful thus far: The dreaded nursing home decision.

  1. A beautifully written post. I could sense a daughter’s deep concern for her mom. I really hope she is getting better care. And yes, you took the right decision. A daughter can never make wrong chouces for parents. More strength to you. My the environment support you in your mission. Best of luck.

  2. My sister took the lead role in this for our family. My father had passed and she held the power of attorney. At the time I had 3 kids and am a single mom. She had the leave time and no children. It took an incredible toll on her and she was required to be very non-emotional and logical in her choices. She narrowed it down to 3 that I visited with her. “We” ultimately selected the one closest to my sister (an hour+ drive for me on a good day) that was across the street from a fire department with EMT’s and a less than 2 mile journey from the hospital. My sister is my hero and I spoke of this at mom’s funeral 4 years later. She stood on her behalf and fought off the wolves who sought to devour her. She took on a role I never knew she had in her and rose to the challenge. She nutured my mother like you would a child. My mom was afforded as much dignity as human possible with my sister by her side. This is a profoundly difficult time and my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I am so proud of you as well!

  3. Came over from Susie’s party and decided to poke about while i was here. The title of your blog was enough to get my attention.
    While I have never experienced what you are living through, your words certainly were eloquent enough to allow me to peek into what it must be like to be you right now. I am sorry for your pain and for how bewildering it must be for your mom. My aunt lived for too many years trying to hide her Alzheimer’s and it just about destroyed her. Once she was safely tucked into a nursing home, she was able to relax and she blossomed. She smiled a lot and seemed to enjoy her life much more. I hope that happens for your mom, it would ease your pain, I’m sure.
    Sorry this is such a long comment but I wanted to do your post justice. You should be very proud.

  4. Even though you’ve been through the mill with this, I can feel your relief at your step-father’s agreement. You’ve worked so hard to get your mum help – kudos to you my brave friend and I hope it all works out for the best…

  5. I salute you dear lady..the effort and care you have been extending in making sure Mom is in a good home needs to be commended.
    Not an easy decision I know..

  6. I can relate. I beat myself up so much if it had been a boxing match they would have stopped the fight before I quit punching. You did the right thing and made a good decision based on research and hard work. I only hope my kids put out that kind of effort for me when the time comes.

  7. I can relate. I don’t know how many times I beat myself up, but if it had been a boxing match they would have called the fight long before I stopped pounding on myself. Believe me, you have done the very best you can and made a sound decision based on extensive research. I only hope my kids put out this kind of effort when my time comes.

  8. You are a remarkable grown-up and daughter. Thank you for sharing this Laughing at Alzheimer’s post with your Life on Wry readers.

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