Sunday, March 6, 2016

Breaking the Bond

 3 Mar 2016                             -8-

“Just leave her here and we will call you in one to two weeks”, San Antonio, Texas. This was our introduction to memory care about two years ago.

Today at Provision Living at Columbia (MO) we share a one-bedroom and one-office apartment adjacent to a 12-apartment memory care unit that has yet to open. Our life is comparable to living in our house with the exception of great meals and the daily exercise periods. When the  “worries” strike any time of the day, a 10-20 minute drive will generally provide relief for a couple of hours.

Experience here and at our house indicates that about nine-days is needed for a memory care patient to adjust to something new, in general. There are other concerns that can override this. These concerns can last for weeks with varying form and intensity.

“Richard?” This call was repeated every 15-20 minutes when I was not in sight at our house and again in the past two weeks here also. My wife’s greatest fear was obtained by a Home Instead caregiver when helping my wife fill out the forms for Provisional Living at Columbia (MO): fear of losing me (which has many meanings).

Our room care person reported to me yesterday: “She needs you. She is constantly checking on where you are.”

It is sometime between 7:00 and 9:00 pm that she comes into our office room and sits down on the daybed that she says what is the most endearing and heart wrenching. In a low voice, almost a whisper, she will say, “I love you.” (One meaning is: “Do not leave me here alone.”)  

It is now a very real $84,000/yr question (estimated at about  $500,000 in five years): Is there a better fit that may include skilled nursing care and have Medicaid beds in reserve? Or do we go back to our house for the summer and wait for Provision Living at Columbia (MO) to mature?

Should we break the bond? That is, memory care for my wife and a room or apartment within walking distance for me. (We do not drive alone now.)

Is breaking the bond, to the extent we live separately, just acceleration of what is taking place now; with my wife being fully integrated into memory care during the day? We are learning from a couple we often dine with, who rent an apartment on each side of the “door”.

Is my stress building again? Coming here is related to a marked reduction in stress for me, in reduction in severe back pain. It is time to print out the BASIS and Sleep Number bed data for the past three weeks, which include both of us having the norovirus.

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