Thursday, December 11, 2008
My Poor Mom
My mother's had a couple of falls in the last month because her knee is giving out. Years ago she was hit by a car while crossing Main Street. She got fitted for a new brace while I was visiting two days ago, but it is a monster brace that goes from hip through foot, locking her leg.
She's in better shape mentally than her phone calls would indicate. Over the three days when I was visiting we had many laughs. But her world has shrunk so much. They had her bed wired with a buzzer so she wouldn't try to get out of bed in the night without help. But everytime we laughed or she moved her hands while talking the buzzer went off. Now they have a different system set up that's less big brother.
She said she wishes she'd never taken vitamin pills in the 70's and 80's. Her basic health is quite good but her vision and hearing are not. At present she's stuck on her bed except when she's wheeled to the dining room. And you should hear the silence in the dining room.
I don't think I want to write more about it here. In six days I visited two top drawer senior homes. The one in Florida is much fancier than my mother's, but hers is also nationally recognized for its superior health care and grounds, started in the 1970's, run by Quakers. Both places advertise in the Princeton Alum weekly, my brother told me.
Both places are encountering big problems: they need fresh blood, as in new residents. At the Florida retirement resort 100 spaces are empty out of about 600, where formerly there was a long waiting list. The problem is the fresh blood can't sell their houses to put down the big down payments. And people are living longer, and spending longer parts of their lives in Assisted Living. The huge number of skilled and vetted nurses needed costs these places a lot. Another problem that's going to hit us old baby boomers.