The Wild Bunch

More news from the Eldercare Underground:  Nursing Home Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I thought my mother would have about as much chance of liking her new surroundings in the nursing home as Newt Gingrich would making it into the Republican presidential candidates top tier.

Turns out, I was wrong on both counts.

She seems to like the attention lavished on her and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for the food they serve.  And, best of all, she has gotten to know a small group of ladies who share the table with her in the dining room.

Yesterday she had an appointment with the cardiologist.  I went along with her in the nursing home’s wheel chair equipped van.  Door-to-door service.  You can’t beat a deal like that.

We returned right at lunch time and the driver wheeled her into the dining room, where I directed him to her usual table. 

He positioned her next to Cora, the 96-year-old “ringleader” of their merry band.

A dining room aide brought a plate of food immediately and then asked my mother if she would like coffee, tea or apple juice to drink with her meal.

Cora, her eyes twinkling mischievously, leaned over to my mother and said in a loud stage whisper:

“Why don’t you order a beer?”

Uh oh.  I think we’ll have to watch out for this one.

I can just see them busting out of the home and heading on down the road in their wheel chairs to the new sports bar that just opened nearby out on the highway.

If they leave right now (Saturday), they might make it in time for Monday Night football.


19 thoughts on “The Wild Bunch

  1. Oh so glad your mother is adjusting well and making friends. Didn’t quite go as well for my mom. This gives me hope for the future – say what is the name of that nursing home? The way things are going with Medicare, we might have to book now or get on the waiting list….that is…if there is still Medicare. 😦


  2. Agree with Susan and love that your Mom is in a fine place all in all without you becoming the “nasty person that made her go there”. Your Mom is happier, has company, has meals and people to share them with and partners in crime. I could wish for no better than that for any of us.

    We had a family friend that had stroked out in many ways. The care setting allowed her a shot of whiskey every night, she liked that, and we all found out that she liked to sing. Couldn’t finish a sentance but could sing it. Go figure.

    As long as your Mom is in the best place possible, and not living with you, kudos, kiddo. It’s not easy making those two transitions. Mom is happy and she has new family watching out for her and friends to get in trouble with, heh, good for her. Again, blessing on you for sheparding her through safely to this new place. While yo might be wrestling with that, the weight is no longer on your shoulders and your Mom is happier. Problem with that? None. I only hope that in the next 5 to 7 years that me and my mom get to the same place. Love an hugs to you both. I’m sure this has been harder on you than on MOm. You’ve stil got a load of crap to clear up. Apartment, furniture, bills, family, al lof that..hugs from here. Stay strong, be strong.


    • Thanks, Laurie. Your kind comment means a lot. I was “the nasty person” in the beginning, and still am off and on, but she has allowed that at 92 perhaps this is for the best. I’m sure each time I visit won’t be as fun as a barrel of monkeys, but I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s as good as it is this soon. For many reasons (for me and for her), there is no way she could have moved in with me. I’m very grateful to the great doctor who was on call at the hospital for her advice. The hospital case worker and social worker were there for me too, without my having to ask.

      Yes, a very large weight has been lifted. Now I know, and don’t have to guess, that she’s in a safe place 24/7. As for her finances, we’ve been handling that for a couple of years now for her and I can’t emphasize enough having everything locally with both our names on the accounts. Also, having medical and durable power of attorney, along with advance directive for physicians. We got all of that done when she moved here in 1999.

      My husband has been cleaning up her house and bringing home bags of photos, etc. for me to go through. She had given away a number of things to us and the grandkids over the years, and just before all of this happened she wanted me to go through her extensive dish collection, but I demurred and gave that pleasure to my daughter, the collector. My brother will be coming from Colorado before too long to take a few family pieces back home with him. Both he and I are more interested in old family photos than furniture or a lot of knick knacks. We have too much crap in our houses as it is!

      Anyway, the biggest hurdle has been cleared right now. I don’t think there is any doubt in any of our family’s minds about this decision. It was pretty much made for us by the circumstances. Thanks again for commenting, and to all the others who took the time to comment!


  3. I’m just tickled pink that this has gone as smoothly as it has. Tickled and relieved for you. And I simply MUST force myself to purchase that Continuing Long Term Care Insurance that I’m likely to need someday…quick, while I’m still in my right mind, so I don’t torment my own kids down the road.

    They served beer and wine in my Dad’s assisted living facility. I think they were alcohol-free but the denizens weren’t informed, so everybody got tipsy anyway.


    • Hate to be a downer here. but be sure to read the fine print on the long term care policy. It might not be as good a deal as you hope, according to what i read.


  4. Ah, how wonderful that your mom has settled in peacefully. And how wonderful that you can relax about her being cared for and protected. That is huge. I can appreciate this. I am my aunt’s only family member, aside from my kids. She has been in some kind of psychiatric care for most of her adult life. After she herself demanded to go into an assisted living, I had to deal with numerous hysterical calls each day, telling me to come and get her out. This lasted for several years. I truly thought I’d lose my mind. Now, whether it’s because of mental deterioration or lowered energy level or the staff secretly plying her with alcohol, I no longer get calls. And when I visit, she seems content, maybe for the first time in her life. Now all I have to deal with are 27 trash bags of mostly unworn clothing up in her attic.


  5. I can understand what a relief this is for you! I helped my dad move into a seniors complex a few months ago, and there is a nice ‘pub’ right next to the dining room. It is open before dinner, and the drinks are reasonably priced. I think my dad goes down there for a pint nearly every day. It was a great way for him to get to meet people!


  6. Good food is the key to a happy retirement facility. They have a happy hour at both of the places my mom has been. Wine and beer, but you could BYOB if you’d like. There certainly is no reason other than medication complications not to have a few. I love your mom’s friend.
    My mom has a tendency to isolate herself. She is the first one down for meals so that others have to come to the table to sit with her rather than her having to find a seat at a table. It is high school all over again in the dining room. Sounds like your mom is at the popular kids’ table already!


  7. Those are my kind of gals. When I think of nursing homes my mind immediately turns to the movie ‘Cocoon’. I think your cast of characters would fit right in.

    And Newt will self destruct.


  8. This is great! I love the attitude of Cora! That’s how I want to be!
    I am not surprised your mother is adjusting. A friend’s mother who didn’t want to leave her bedroom for 3 years and every time we visited we paid a visit to her in her bedroom, in her pj’s not coiffed. So when her husband (who did everything even thought he was on dyalisis in the end) passed away. We thought uh oh, how is she going to manage? Her daughter living too far away, put her in the nursing home. Well…image her surprise when on her first visit. her 86 year old mother was not only out of bed, but holding court in the smoking room all dressed up with make-up on to boot!
    You just never know 🙂


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