Mrs. J was placed in a nursing home while we were on vacation in New York City a few months ago. Her mental state was very poor when we left, so we didn’t know if she would even fully realize what was happening. Her son made a seemingly rash decision to admit her because he said he couldn’t follow her around every minute of the day to prevent her from getting into things.
Because she kept describing her mental state as confused and disoriented, we had wondered aloud to her son if she might have been mixing up her medicine. Anyone would expect a 93-year-old to need some assistance with organizing numerous small pills from hard-to-read bottles, but he didn’t seem to care enough to help. He said he had decided to go ahead and put her in the nursing home, and if she improved he would bring her back home.
We were very surprised to find her memory perfectly fine when we visited her after returning from vacation. The nursing home is administering her pills as prescribed, so I believe our previous assumption about medicine being the root of the problem was accurate.
Mrs. J has now been in the nursing home for several weeks. She became quite depressed initially and lost her appetite (and forty pounds along with it), but as she adapted to her new living arrangements she began to see that things could be much worse. She now enjoys visits from various animals (including a skunk), playing bingo, and attending short services that various local churches hold in the lobby.
Although we were unhappy that she had to leave her home and move into a facility, we are comforted by the fact she is getting cared for properly. She is getting fed regularly, taking physical therapy, and even receiving better medical care. This nursing home is also a huge improvement over the one she was in while recuperating from hip surgery. The decor is welcoming, the nurses are very nice, and you don’t get slapped in the face by the smell of urine when you walk through the front door.
This evening we checked Mrs. J out of the nursing home for a few hours and took her to dinner. Three other friends joined us, then we all met up at another spot for dessert. After all she has been through over the past couple of months, it was great to see her smiling and enjoying herself again.
I guess if there’s a lesson to learn from this ordeal, it would be one about persistence. Mrs. J gets down and out sometimes, but she never ever gives up.