People living with dementia often move into a care home as the disease progresses and Mum moved to Rivermead care home in December 2013, following a short stay in hospital. Our story includes more of our families journey.
Before the move we were really anxious as Mum had been adamant that she didn’t want to go into a home but to our surprise she settled really well and to some degree we got our old Mum back (one who wasn’t constantly anxious).
Rivermead was an ideal setting for Mum because the layout was similar to a school and Mum often talked as though she was at work (she had been a teacher). The home also had lots of room to walk about, had a secure central garden area and an open bedroom door policy.
Mum was at Rivermead a little over 3 years and I have some lovely memories of the time she spent there. Mum was always a ‘good sport’ and throughout her illness she used to keep us amused with her sense of humour, below are a few stories from her time at Rivermead.
As Mum’s illness progressed, it became more and more difficult to get Mum to the hairdressers. She became reluctant to have her hair washed and would get distracted and fidget, never keeping her head still. However, if you could catch her in the right mood, she was still a good sport.
Rabbit … Rabbit.
I remember one day when I arrived, Mum was having a lie down on her bed and below was the scene in the bathroom. Although I almost dare not ask we had the following conversation:
Me – “Mum, what is this rabbit doing in your bathroom?”
Mum – “Where?”
Me – “On the toilet”
Mum – “Probably having a wee then!”
Of course, silly me!!!!!!
Who turned the lights off?
One day Mum and I decided to go for a coffee in the local café. We got into the car and I was distracted by my phone when Mum suddenly asked “why is it so dark?”
Erm probably because you have a tissue down the front of your glasses!!!. I don’t know what possessed Mum to do this but I had to laugh, although Mum wasn’t amused.
It definitely wasn’t me!!
There was a reception area at Rivermead, where you could go and have a coffee and a cake, which we used to do often. Once I had got us both a coffee and a cake, when I nipped to the loo. When I got back Mum had demolished her cake and had started on mine. She was outraged when I suggested that she was eating my cake!!!!
What do you mean the wrong way round?
Once when I visited Mum she had her cardigan on back to front. Initially Mum didn’t seem to notice so I didn’t say anything to her. However when we sat down for a coffee, the cardigan kept dropping down and Mum couldn’t work out how to stop it, so I casually mentioned it was the wrong way round.
“What do you mean the wrong way round” she said indignantly. “It’s back to front” I replied. She thought about this for a moment and then said “your doolally” and went back to drinking her juice.
Who said it should fasten at the front anyway!!!!!
Many of the doors at Rivermead were locked, to stop residents from leaving safe and secure areas. Some of these doors had murals on them, to disguise the fact that they were doors, to stop residents from becoming frustrated when they couldn’t open them.
Push button keypads opened the doors, and one day Mum and I were strolling round when I went to open this door and Mum shouted “STOP”. When I enquired what the problem was she said “you will flood the place”!!!
It’s a funny thing the brain!!!!!!
Same Destination … Different Journey.
Mum’s illness and subsequent death had a profound impact on my life. to help me cope with my grief I wrote a book of our journey with Mum through her illness and the impact it had on our family. The book also includes all the key information that you will need if you or a loved one is affected by dementia with Lewy bodies.