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Updates on Mom & Dad July

I realized it was March when I last did an update on mom and dad, so it’s time for another one. Time flies so fast these days and these last almost 2 years that they’ve been in assisted living and memory care has gone fast. It will be 2 years October 1st that they moved in. I’ve written all about our journey, so if you want to catch up on it all, you can go here for all the posts.

Mom and Dad Updates

We’ve had some health issues with mom and dad since March, so I’ll share those too. With two 95 year olds, dad soon to be 96 this month, there are bound to be health scares. We have no idea what might be around the next corner, but we trust God for the best for them.

In April, we celebrated Easter with mom and dad and had Easter lunch there with them. We brought dad over from memory care for the meal. He enjoys all the meals (even if they are not the best) and makes the most of the food.

We had a good visit and I’m glad that Dogwood makes an effort to bring families together for special occasions. It makes for a festive time for them and something out of the day to day routine. I get by at least twice a week to see them both.

Dad is about the same in his dementia. He continues to fight taking showers, which is not fun for the caretakers I know, but they handle him well. He had a recent scare a couple of months ago, when after breakfast  he threw up a little bit and was confused and not talking much. They were not sure what was going on, so called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. I was alerted and went up the the hospital as soon as I could get there. They had him in ER checking him out, but said they didn’t find anything going on that he needed to be admitted for, so I brought him back to Dogwood late that afternoon, just in time for dinner. It was a little scary and we were afraid he might have had a mini-stroke or TIA, but the hospital didn’t seem to find that and released him. He’s been fine since then.

I had mentioned in my last post that dad was on hospice because of his heart condition. We were happy about that as it meant more nurses and care staff to look after him during their visits each week and they paid for part of his medications and personal supplies too. But alas, he was released from hospice at the end of May because his health has not declined substantially in the 6 months he’s been on there and that’s a requirement to stay on. So that’s a blessing, yes but it was nice to have extra eyes on him.

Dad enjoys talking to Mark when he comes, so that’s nice too. Dad doesn’t carry on long conversations at all anymore. We try to engage him in talking, but it’s harder to do these days. He can’t remember that much anymore as far as people and places, but sometimes surprises us with something from the past. Thankfully, he no longer mentions the house and cars anymore.

As I’ve shared, Mark and I went on our cruise in April into May. Mom wasn’t too happy that I would be gone for 3 weeks, but she made it. Unfortunately, the week before we left on the cruise, mom came down with shingles and I got her to the doctor right before we left. She was in pain and got some pain meds prescribed while I was gone so that worked out. She had a pretty bad case and it took them awhile to clear up. There was not much we could do for her, she just needed to stay in her room and rest so that’s what she did. She was able to get meals delivered to her room (although that is not smooth sailing either at assisted living). She was doing pretty well when we came back just before Mother’s Day weekend.

My sister, Renee and her husband, Bruce came home for Mother’s Day, as well as Lauren and Parker and Iris. She left the baby, Alex, at home. It’s easier that way. Their family has a busy life as well and they go on a lot of family trips. We picked up food and brought it in when Renee was here and mom and dad enjoy that as well. I do the same periodically, as mom gets tired of the food at  assisted living. It’s definitely not the same as her home cooking.

I’ve found a local home cooking place close to us that is my new favorite. Doug’s Place in Emerson is a staple around here and I sort of forgot about it and never tried it, always lamenting that there wasn’t a good meat and 3 around here. But Doug’s fits the bill for sure and it’s a great country cooking restaurant. I go there often now and we’ve brought it in to mom and dad a few times. Dogwood even had an outing there and I took mom and one of her friends so that was my introduction, even though I knew about it for years, I just never made it there. Now it’s one of my fave places to go! It’s as close to my mom’s homemade cooking as I’ve found.

So that’s some of what we’ve been up to with mom and dad. Renee stayed for a few days and went back to Louisiana, so things fall on me solely for the most part in taking care of things for mom and dad. I pay most of the bills and take mom to the doctor when she needs to go. We’ve pretty much decided unless dad is sick, we aren’t going to drag him to Primary Care for checkups. He’s about to turn 96, so if and when God decides to take him, we will miss him but know that he has lived such a long and productive life.

We still miss his garden and those homegrown tomatoes that we all enjoyed every summer. I would kill for those tomatoes now!

Getting outside is one of dad’s favorite things to do, so we do that as often as the weather allows. We had a cooler than normal spring into early summer this year, but things are finally heating up to the mid 90’s and it’s summertime around here. As you can see, he still gets dressed in flannel, since he has a lot of that in his closet. He’s cold natured anyway, so they keep putting those shirts on him and he doesn’t complain very often.

I make it a point to take their picture when I go and visit and try to capture as many of these pics as I can since we have no idea when things will change or when one of them will get sick or worse. I just want them to be as comfortable and happy as they can be at this stage. I know it’s sometimes frustrating for both of them, to be out of their home and in assisted living, but it’s still the best place for them. We are still grateful that there are assisted living facilities. They aren’t perfect, but it’s a great alternative when seniors can’t live at home anymore.

We’ve experienced the 3rd General Manager at Dogwood since they moved in less than 2 years ago, so these things are somewhat concerning, but I’m hopeful things will settle down. Staffing seems to be at a shortage too with good help and mom says the weekend is the worse. The dining room service is sorely lacking on the weekends. They do have a residents meeting and complaints are made along the way, so I hope things might improve in time. I know none of them are perfect, but it’s hard to watch these issues since they pay so much to live there.

We celebrated Mother’s Day at our house this year and the weather cooperated beautifully. Lauren was home with 2 of the girls and Bruce’s mom, Doris, joined us as she usually does for the celebration.

We made it easy on ourselves and ordered Chicken Salad Chick for our lunch and it was delicious. It’s a nice way to celebrate and we all enjoyed it, even the guys. I ordered a coconut cake and strawberry cake and they were a hit too.

It was a beautiful afternoon!

So after Mother’s Day, there wasn’t a lot going on. I visit mom and dad and see about their needs.

Mark and I have taken food to them and then sat outside to visit.

I took my cruise pictures for mom and dad to look at. I made books for Hawaii and Alaska.

It’s nice to see them smiling.

Mark and I went for a Father’s Day dinner when Dogwood planned that for the families and we are glad to participate in these celebrations.

Honoring dad, even if he has no clue it’s Father’s Day. He enjoyed the card I gave him.

We sat outside afterward and visited. I’m wearing glasses because I’m waiting for my cataracts surgery consultation this month. I’ve been in contacts for 50 years and have to wear my glasses for many weeks. I hope this all goes smoothly so I’ll do a post about that when I have my consultation.

Mom and dad look really good here. We had no idea that mom was going to take a turn for the worse after this.

I gave dad a new shirt and pants for Father’s Day and he was very appreciative. It’s nice that I can make him smile still, he’s always grateful for anything you do for him.

I thought mom was recovering well from shingles and starting to get her energy back, but then she started feeling bad right after this. The following week she was complaining of shortness of breath and some other symptoms. Her primary care doctor suggested we go to an urgent care or emergency room, so I started with urgent care. They did a few scans on her and an EKG and suggested we go to the emergency room, so that’s what I did. We got there late afternoon on a Thursday, so they ended up admitting her and she stayed in the hospital for 2 nights. I stayed with her. The next day we found out she had pneumonia, so they started treating her with antibiotics and some other things.

She hates being in the hospital, but thankfully she wasn’t too bad and they saw no need to keep her in the hospital past day 2, so she was released early that Saturday morning and I brought her back to Dogwood.

One week later, she’s still recovering  and is trying to get her strength back after all of this. It’s so hard to watch them go through illnesses and not being able to make things better. These things have to run their course and at her age of 95, it’s harder to get over things. We are taking lunch by today to see them both.

We are thankful she’s made it through these things and hopefully getting better. It does make me sad to see her not feeling good. I brought dad over to see her since she was staying in her room a lot last week. He always feels bad when she’s not doing good too and has prayed for her on many occasions. It’s so sweet! They are still so devoted to each other and wants the best for the other. As I said, we don’t know what the Lord has in mind, but we pray for an easy and painless transition for both of them when the time comes. Mom has said more than once that she is ready to go. I know it’s so hard with a deteriorating body to keep going. Her back issues and other issues really get her some days, but she keeps her faith and determination. Growing old and facing death is not something we all like to think about, but we all face the same thing. For me now it’s up close and personal with my parents. We know they can’t last forever and we will let them go when the time comes. I just pray that God is merciful to them both, they have been faithful to Him and I would choose a fast and painless death for both of them if it’s up to me. No lingering and in pain. We can’t order these things, so we will see what God has in mind. We’re grateful for the long lives they have been given.

That’s the update for now, it’s been up and down, so I’m hopeful for more UP days going forward!

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