Thursday, October 17, 2013
Mother-in-law visited for seven days and today, went back to her independent-living senior home. She has a reassessment at the end of the month and I figure we will have to move her again because she cannot really care for herself anymore.
BUT.. While mom visited with us, I really noticed an improvement in her cognitive skills in 7 days. I focused on her nutrition (vitamins, minerals and fibre at each meal) and I wouldn't allow her to skip meals or use endless laxatives.
At the senior's home, this lady would rather drink mugs and mugs of coffee with half a slice of toast instead of actually eating a full meal at the senior's home. By sending half of each meal back to the kitchen, she thinks she can control something in her life.
"One can never be too skinny!" is her motto.
Yes you can.
At 85, mom-in-law looks like a bag of bones. She had no energy to walk when she first came to our house. Concentration in conversation didn't exist. She's been known to sleep 20 hours a day if the staff or visiting family do not persist in getting her going.
With us, there was a daily outing using a roller chair. Each time, she tried to stumble about for a few yards and then sit back for us to push. She loved the fresh air, the tree colours and the different scenery.
At each meal together, the coffee was served at the END of a meal. I offered lots of water but she understood-- No lunch? No coffee.
It really worked.
We served decaf at lunch and dinner. Amazingly, her all-night walking came to a stop.
Soon she was talkative, less "lost" and vacant. Her sleep was more normal. She was interested in seeing something different, even if it was just some wild flowers and fallen leaves.
The sad side of this experience is knowing that she will revert to the "coffee and bread syndrome" once she gets home. By the end of the month, I feel she will fail her evaluation and life will have to be institutionalized for her. She will need one-on-one care.
It was a pleasant visit but so very bitter sweet.