Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Maggie's Behaviors

Each of the flood refugees, here at South Hampton Place, have further developed behaviors that are foreign to their “former lives’. A recording over several days would show almost perfect repeats of unique behaviors. The rest of the day they respond almost “normally”.

A memory care facility is designed to accommodate these behaviors. A skilled-nursing facility is not so designed. It takes the entire SHP, experienced, staff to help the Provision Living caregivers keep tab on the six memory care refugees. One PVL caregiver has lost weight walking from one end of the building to the most distant end several times a day with individual refugees and in groups.

A typical day for Maggie involves a slow continuous search, collect, and reposition of everything she can pick up or, in our room, move. At Provision Living at Columbia she had her two keepsake shelves, with the office chair between, to play with by the hour. She also had the large activity area with several project tables that were under constant observation. She had a long wide empty hall in which to exercise her two charges, including Dr. ___ without getting lost.

In two months we have picked up new friends. Maggie breaks out into her characteristic smile as we pass through the dining hall, to the room where we eat and play, as we go by each table. The people respond. Today one stopped me in the hall. “Maggie is your wife. I like her. She pushed me all around the place.” I waited a bit, considering her last event ended with the man yelling for help and, “I’m being kidnapped.”  “I liked that,” And she wheeled herself on down our hall.

As I am again writing on this, an empty bottle of general vitamins was delivered. I need to get a new bottle. I put it on the bed beside me so I could finish what I was doing. Now, after a 15-minute double search of the room, we cannot find it in one small room. Our house had seven rooms. The contents in the kitchen were totally randomized. I wish I had learned about the magnetic drawer locks then.

That continues here at South Hampton Place.

Syrupy Sweethearts

Syrup Container

Container Lid in Bath
Mac Packed
One Snack Left

Fruit Snacks
"He dropped it"

The movie “Still Alice” shows two solutions for a couple: one in memory care in Minnesota near her husband’s new job and the other with Alice staying home with a relative and a home caregiver. Both would contain the many behaviors that develop over a period of several years. We both progressed to memory care for an accommodating secure environment (the flood should never have happened) until skilled-nursing would be needed.

Unless you have the money, and we do for a few years in memory care, thanks to Maggie’s management, the stay-at-home option is the only one.  High quality memory care provides a feeling of comfort to both the resident and to relatives and friends. The money is not being spent on just one person, but on several; several of which are now following this blog. Dementia requires the help (time) of a number of people: relatives, friends, and/or hired quality caregivers (money). They are somewhat interchangable.

The time to move to memory care is often stated as one to two years before you actually do move. The 20th December flood of Provision Living at Columbia has produced a natural experiment: the effect of moving from a space that has become familiar, after eight weeks, at South Hampton Place to return to a prior familiar space. We anticipate a marked reduction in the intensity of behaviors among the refugees, in general.

We have one week until we return to our 3-bed (day and split Sleep Number bed) studio apartment. It has as much free space as this 2-bed skilled-nursing room (21 by 12 ft) but also a full bath with walk-in shower. The beds (Invacare CS5, about $2000 single articulating bed and mattress) at SHP have been as comfortable as the Sleep Number bed! Maggie trades beds here each time we are both up at the same time at night.

For less than $10,000 we could have equipped our house and yard to match memory care and skilled-nursing to accommodate Maggie’s behaviors to date. Home Instead could have provided much of the care she has required. At some point the cost of this arrangement could exceed memory care.

Memory care provides a stable environment with new friends of equal abilities: People to tease and laugh with. Around the clock monitoring and supervision. High quality caregivers, who not only know their role, but act it in such a timely manner that calming drugs are not required.

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