Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Long Saga is Over

In late June my family and I looked forward with great anticipation to moving my mother into a new care home. We felt it was going to be very good for her since it was "state of the art" facility and brand new staff. Boy were we ever wrong!  It has been a virtual nightmare for mother and I and a very tiring and stressful one at that.  We have now moved mom back to her former facility and the difference is like night and day in a good way.  The move went smoothly though it took long as most of her things needed to go into storage.  She no longer has a private room. That was the only way to get her moved quickly.  There was only one hiccup which wasn't of the facility's making and that issue has since been resolved.

I had a couple of not very nice surprises about mom's condition.  One of them was the state of her pressure wounds.  Right after moving mother was assessed by her new nurse as having stage 3 pressure wounds, rather than the stage 1 which she was told by staff at the former facility. The new nursing team is working around the clock to treat and pack the wounds.  Part of the treatment is keeping mom in bed for much longer stretches of time so they can turn her on her side and relieve the pressure. In between lying in bed she gets up and motors around.  This keeps her happy.  The other problem is the terrible state of her oral health. I have to locate a dentist as soon as possible and make an appointment to address several problems, not the least of which is pain.

The good news is that though mom is now sharing a room, the things I packed for her fit nicely into the space.  We have retained her television and dvd player for her use but had to store the portable cd player, fridge, bookshelves, books etc.  She doesn't use any of this anyway but if you've ever dealt with an elderly person you know they like to have their things around them.   The only thing that helps deal with this situation is that mom is the one who decided over my objections, that she wanted a shared room.  That means she has to adjust to the situation. There are a number of positives about where she lives now.  Too many to itemize but a big one is that she is now she is able to "drive" all over the place without worrying about getting through doors by herself.

The new facility is located all on one level unlike her last residence. That alone really brightens her day.  Plus she was also welcomed back by so many people, staff and residents alike, and that can only lift one's spirits.  Since mother last lived at the "new" facility, there has been a change of management and I observe that things are much more organized and running better all around.  There is also a lot better communication with the family.  This is wonderful!  The long saga of dealing with the former facility is over. I'm so relieved. Now I can start to focus on some of mom's other pressing care needs like dental and eye care.

A huge snowfall was forecast for our journey.  In my city, the snow quickly turned to torrential rains but as we got an hour or two out of the city, the snow was coming down heavily.  These photos (above and below) show the early stages of snow fall.


By the time we got up the mountain, the snow was considerably heavier.  One hour from our final destination we passed one terrible accident on the highway due to the icy conditions.  The weather was significantly warmer and sunnier when we returned south a few days later.

I've been home for a few days and am slowly trying to get back into a normal routine. I am quite tired but have managed to do a few errands, lots of laundry and stock up on food for the weeks ahead.  This weekend I am taking it easy. I'm exhausted from the stresses and moves of the last 7 months.  We've moved mom 5 times in total (4 times within the former facility and once last week) and dealt with endless issues.  We may have to move her again if she gets a private room but have been told the wait is very long.  In the meantime I hope to get some rest.

It is a cold, rainy and windy night tonight.  As I sit here I am smelling the comforting aroma of a ham roasting in the oven and scalloped potatoes baking.  This kind of dinner is rare since I only roast ham about once a year at New Year's and make scalloped potatoes even less frequently.

It smells good!

Here is the recipe for the scalloped potatoes.


4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated cheese, to sprinkle on top


1.   In a small sauce pan, melt butter and blend in flour.
2.   Let sit for a minute.
3.   Add all of cold milk, stirring with a whisk.
4.   Season with salt and cayenne.
5.   Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk.
6.   Reduce heat and stir in cheese.
7.   Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish.
8.   Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.
9.   Repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce.
10. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
11. Top with some paprika for color.
12.  Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350°F.

The recipe for scalloped potatoes is from and is the first time I've tried it. I didn't have much cheese so saved it for the topping and omitted it from the sauce.   I'm used to mom's scalloped potatoes which is a much quicker and easier way to prepare them and doesn't use cheese at all.  Perhaps I will share that another time.

I like to cook the ham until it practically falls off the bone. I save the sauce for New Year's Dinner.


Terra said...

That sounds like a big improvement for your mom, and now you can move on to her other needs. This is keeping you busy!

Joy said...

I am so happy for you and your Mum that she has been re-settled and the pressure is off! What a time you've had and what a good daughter you are! What a shame that your Mum has those pressure sores, poor lady, and what a good thing you got her moved out of that place too!
Your meal looks so yummy - I'm hungry - it's lunchtime and I wish I could reach in the computer and help myself to this ham and scalloped potatoes for they sure look the best! Thank you for the recipe m'dear - I think I'll adapt the way I make mine usually, for yours looks much better to me!
I do hope your week turns out to be quiet and relaxing - do take care of yourself, blessings, Joy xo

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

It must be comforting to know your mum is now where she is really at home and well cared for. Aged care is a very tricky business. The facilities aren't the most important thing to one's health and well being. We are so grateful my mil is now very content where she is, nearly a year after moving in.

Jo said...

Oh Penny, what an ordeal; I know how long this has been pending. But thank goodness you have your dear mom sorted out in her new/old facility again. I commend you for the wonderful care you show her. Mmm, I love the scalloped potatoes and Grant would be there like a flash for that delicious looking ham should you invite him! Lol. Blessings, Jo

jabbott said...

Glad your mum is settled for now, sorry to hear she has pressure sores, glad she is some where that this problem is being addressed, from what your saying looks like they are following correct protocol. Hope you can get a little rest.lastly can your mum be visited by a mobile dentist and optician?In England we have this service, I have a family member who is disabled who accesses this service, Have a good week x

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad things with your Mum have settled down. I hope she is happier and comfortable soon!
The ham and potatoes look yummy xx

Joanne Noragon said...

Perhaps mom will do well with a room mate for company. Never know how these things will play out, but it seems better already.

Ceil said...

Hi Joyful! Oh brother, you have been through the wringer, haven't you? I know what this is like a little bit. My mother-in-law went to a care facility that was supposed to be good, but was terrible. We have to move her too. I am so happy that she is in a place that makes her feel at ease, and you know she is safe and treated well.

Honestly, you are a blessing to her. Who else would fight for her? Those pressure wounds can be very serious indeed, and need to be treated seriously. Care for the elderly is so variable. One place is great, one place is horrid. It's so hard. I can see why you'd be exhausted.

I hope you enjoyed your fun meal, and getting back to normal. Thank goodness you made it safely over the hills with the snow.

Denise said...

Praise God that things are better for your dear mom, love you.

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm thinking Joanne might be right, Penny. A roommate could be a good thing. Only time will tell.
I am just on my way to bed, and seem to have been eating almost the entire evening, but even so, your scalloped potato picture and recipe made me want some. Reminds me of my childhood, especially my maternal grandmother, and church suppers!
I hope you get some rest now, and don't have to tackle those snowy roads until next winter, if at all.
Luv, K

Mereknits said...

Bless your heart! you have been through so much with your Mom, I am so happy she is getting the care she needs in the right facility. Now you need to take good care of yourself, you deserve some, "Me" time.

Cynthia said...

Glad your mom is settling back in to a better environment. I hope you can relax a bit and enjoy your life more now. We have another blizzard coming tonight and tomorrow, but for right now I am soaking up a patch of sun on the couch and I'm thankful for it.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

How unfortunate that you had to go through so much with your Mom. I hope all will be okay. A shared room works well if the two are able to communicate well. It can make both happier.

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