Posted in Poem of the Day

You Don’t Need Toilet Paper (a poem)

Listen up... you don't need Toilet Paper in your life!
Please take it from me, and Betty, my wife.
This Corona-virus they say, it's creeping up quickly
"Buy toilet rolls NOW, for when you get sickly!"

The squabbling in shops; aren't people just AWFUL?
Well, we got through The War, it made us resourceful.
So here's a few tips, you might put into practice
For bathroom ablutions, while the Kleenex is cactus.

The go-to solution?  Simply shred up The Times!
Too bad that it's raspy (and it might leave print lines).
But it's worth it for smugness, when wiping on the face
Of a fool politician, with dumb policies in place.

Another good ploy, for loo-roll relief
Is to extract from your fig tree, a large singular leaf.
Totally natural, so there's no need to be frowny
Just make sure it's utilised, bristle-side downy!

An old shirt can be handy, as you perch there alone
When you find yourself paperless, sat on the throne.
Or a dried-up old corn-cob, on the end of a twig
You can double it up, for the jobs that are BIG.

But a slice of Bet's fruit loaf, is solid and thick
And for ultimate absorption, it does do the trick.
Chock full of goodies, it's the thickest of ply
Just watch out the NUTS don't get caught in your 'eye'!

Oh, our lives are a shambles, there's an odd-smelling stench
We'd rather hold off; we're starting to CLENCH.
Like the loss of a pet, we grieve for bathroom tissue
Come back, Toilet Paper... DEAR GOD, HOW WE MISS YOU!

-by Barry P. Knightly (94)

ALL IS FORGIVEN!!!

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie
Posted in Aged Care, Working with Elderly

Rosanne! Put on the Red Light!

The Comings and Goings at No. 22

“Oh, thank goodness it’s you, Dollie.  Well, what a day I’m having!  

Would you believe it?  It’s been like a train station here today.  Heaven knows what the neighbours must be thinking!

First I had a nice man, Derek, from the council come and do my Home Help.  Must’ve been 9 o’clock when he arrived because he was here quite early.  I usually have Sharon come at 10 o’clock… but I think she’s away on holiday?  

So instead Derek came, but he was lovely.

And he did a really good job… which I was worried about because it’s never the same as when a woman cleans, you know?

Lovely Derek

Anyway, so while Derek was here, I had my physiotherapy man, Gary arrive.  He could see Derek with the vacuum cleaner, hoovering away, making a racket.

So Gary left, said he’d come back later.  Which is fine ‘cos I’m not going anywhere with this useless leg!

And then just as Gary was going, blooming heck, my son in law, Tony turns up to check the tap in the bathroom.  Stupid things been dripping it’s head off and my hands aren’t strong enough to twist it, so I can’t turn it off properly.

So I had Tony in the bathroom, Derek beavering away, Gary doing wheelies in the driveway…. then blow me down, silly old Jim from the Bird Society pops by!  

He likes to go through the minutes of our Meetings before he prints the newsletter each month. To be honest, I think he just likes the company but that’s OK because he’s a nice enough chap and he doesn’t stay long.  

He smells like lavender…. which is an odd flavour for a man, don’t you think, Dollie?

Then I laughed because just as I was waving that lot off, I had Gary the Physio come back – as well as Ron from over the back fence came to chop my hedges back at the same blooming time!  Talk about bedlam in the front garden… and it wasn’t even lunchtime!

Thank goodness Tony was here to sort them out with reversing their cars down the drive… and making sure Jim didn’t hit the fence. He’s got terrible eyesight, Jim, he’s already hit it once before… silly old duffer. I’m amazed they let him still drive!

So, while I had all this going on… I could see nosey-parker Shirley from across the road peering out of her windows. Easy to spot ‘cos the curtains were twitching away…  

Oh, she was LOOKING alright!

Then Gladys from next door came outside… pretending to check her letterbox for what must’ve been the umpteenth time, haha she thinks I don’t know what she’s really up to. Having a good long sticky-beak she was…eyes nearly POPPING!

I can see how they’d be wondering though; their heads would be spinning. Blooming heck, I’ve never had so many men at my house at the one time !  And all in one hit… ha ha MOST UNSAVOURY!

Felt like I was in one of those SEX windows in that street over in Amsterdam.  You know, in the red light district there where it’s all legal.  Where the ladies stand round waiting to lure in the men… WITH THEIR BITS OUT!

Even my son in law Tony had a good laugh after they’d finally all gone. “Geez Rosie, I’m starting to wonder what you’ve got going on here… EXACTLY WHAT COLOUR IS THE LIGHT ON YOUR FRONT PORCH AGAIN?”

Take your eye out, these ‘bits’

***Mrs Rosanne D. Pimms, aged 88 – Jam & Pickling specialist, Budgerigar enthusiast, Neighbourhood Watch president (recently suspended…)

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie
Posted in Poem of the Day

My Grandson, Sam (a poem)

I made my grandson hot cocoa
To warm him from top to toes.
He took a sip
And burnt his lip,
The froth came out his nose!

My grandson loves climbing the plum tree
I call him Super Sam.
We eat all the plums
‘Til we get sore tums
And start pooping out purple plum jam!

Some days we play at the seaside
Sammy off chasing a bird.
Too late to go…
“LOOK OUT BELOW!”
His ice-cream covered in turd!

I love my grandson, Sammy
So sweetly he squeals with glee.
We stole Grandma’s hat
To put on the cat
She sent us to bed without tea!

by Jimbo Loveworthy (‘Grandpa Bo’), age 89

What could go wrong?!

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie

Posted in Aged Care, Joke of the Day

A Hypnotist Visits the Senior’s Centre

You’d better ‘Watch’ Out!

So, anyway… it was entertainment night at the Senior Citizens’ centre. 

After the community sing-along led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the visiting star of the show – Claude the Hypnotist!  Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance. 

“Yes, each and every one of you… and all at the same time!” said showman Claude. 

As the lights dimmed, the excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew from beneath his waistcoat, a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain. 

“I want you to keep your eyes on this watch” said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see.  “This is a very special and valuable watch which has been in my family for six generations,” Claude announced proudly. 

you are getting sleeeepy…..

Slowly, he began to swing the watch gently back and forth while, quietly chanting: 

“You must watch the watch — 

Watch the watch —

Watch the watch—” 

The elderly audience became mesmerised as the watch swayed back and forth, sparkling as it reflected light from the watch’s gleaming surfaces.  A hundred and fifty pairs of aged eyes intently followed the movements of the gentle, methodically swaying watch… 

There was no doubt – the crowd were actually hypnotised. Even the staff could not look away!

But then, suddenly, the chain broke!!!   Horror of all horrors, the golden watch fell and rolled off the stage where it hit the ground and burst apart on impact. Shattered pieces of intricate mechanism and smashed glass crystals tinkled across the hard floor.

“SHIT !!!” …cried Claude in dismay at the sight of his bewitching timepiece in smithereens before him. 

It took them three days to properly clean the Senior Citizen’s Centre.

Claude was never invited there again.

Oh, dear…

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie
Posted in Poem of the Day

My Little Yellow Sports Car (a poem)

Because life’s more fun in a sharp suit!
My little yellow sports car,
I puff my chest with pride
When zipping along the freeway,
or tootling through countryside.

My little yellow sports car,
oh, I feel just like James Bond
All that’s missing beside me,
is a long-legged, busty blonde.

My little yellow sports car,
the envy of all my friends
A cut ‘n’ polish each Sunday,
the joy it is immense.

My little yellow sports car,
my daughter calls me absurd
“You’re too old to be driving so fast!”
"That’s shaken’ dear, not stirred".

My little yellow sports car,
now locked up in the shed
I’m not allowed to drive her,
I may as well be dead.

My little yellow sports car,
bye-bye from this ‘Double-oh-Seven’
'Cos when I go I’m taking her with me,
So I can race her to Hell in Heaven.

- by Ted J. Tailpipe, age 88 
....BEEP, BEEP!
Live & Let Die…. sadly, abandoned in the shed

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie

Posted in Aged Care, cooking

Mrs Chadwick’s Cheating Cheesecake

Family Food Faves (shhh… there’s NO CHEESE!)

It has to be said that one of the more pleasurable perks of caring for older adults in their own homes is the wonderful foody treats I am often introduced to.  Thankfully, not at every house I go to – but definitely more often than the top button of my work pants cares to admit!  

What!  Are you calling me FAT?

Seriously though, there’s nothing like sitting down at the end of a long, arduous shift with a grateful client who insists on sharing a cuppa, a nice chat about life… AND A WHOPPING GREAT SLAB OF THEIR FRESHLY BAKED SPONGE CAKE!

Because if there’s one thing these dear ageing ladies know – it’s how to COOK.  

Let’s face it, and yes clearly I’m generalising BIG time… but they have after all, spent a lifetime literally feeding people.  Preparing grand family feasts for an eternity of Christmases, birthdays and engagement parties; churning out countless baked goodies for school fetes, charity fundraisers, church picnics and sports club bashes or just whenever the cause called for it. Nobody told them they had to – that’s just the way it was being a woman, wife and mother back in the day. 

And so that’s what they did.

Are we having fun yet?

Which is why, when I get offered a special something from my beloved client’s cake tin, I know it’s gonna be good!  Then, after I’ve marvelled at how delicious it is and how clever they are, there is a very good chance I’ll then be entrusted with the RECIPE for this tried-and-true family favourite to have as my very own.  

Also, as another angle (and brilliant as a conversation starter), I might ask my client for their views on the best way to bake a leg of lamb without it shrivelling up to nothing, or hints on how to stop spaghetti pasta from clumping together in the pot (me, every damn time).  Then… if you’re sincere and show that you truly rooly respect these culinary Dames and their nifty cooking tricks, you’ll find a proud as punch client who’d share just about anything with you.  

Take note, that if you’re offered the secret recipe for a traditional masterpiece dish – you’ve struck GOLD! Sometimes too, they may even write them out by hand for you – all from memory of course.

By this caring and sharing stage, you can rest assured that you’ve earned your client’s confidence completely (which is HUGE) and pretty much means that your worthiness as their carer is a done deal.  And if that’s not job satisfaction, I don’t know what is?

In fact over the years, and seeing that we are such a multi-cultural bunch… I feel like I’ve travelled the globe thanks to some of the sacred scrummy recipes I’ve been endeared with.  

Some tasty examples:

  • Mrs Petrie’s Vanilla Bean Custard – made with REAL custard and REAL bean “none of this packet rubbish!” 
  • Mrs Maradona’s Mama Mia Meatballs with traditional spicy Napoli Saucepassed-down-from-6-generations of Mamas!
  • Mrs Tippy’s Never-fail Date Scones… and they never do, not even when I make em!
  • Mrs Bun’s original Choc Chip Cookies…secret ingredient: butter, Butter, BUTTER!
  • Mrs Formosa’s Pumpkin & Chickpea ‘Curry-in-a-Hurry’... because guess where you’ll be running afterwards!
  • Mrs DiDonato’s famously rich Osso Bucco… for compliments AND heartburn, guaranteed!
Go on, get it in ya!

Trouble is, these wondrous apron-clad matriarchs eventually become worn-out elderly ladies and sadly, the art of cooking regresses into HARD WORK.  Which was the predicament that my 88 year old client, Mrs Madeleine Chadwick found herself in recently.

For it is written, that Madeline Chadwick can make a CHEESECAKE better than anyone else in the cheesecake universe. Her family know it, the neighbours know it, the bowls club know it and now, happily, I can testify to it too.  Melt in your mouth TO DIE FOR kind of cheesecake.  And every fortnight when her extended family all gather for a meal at her table, Maddie gets to wheel out her latest dessert creation and have them all coo with delight at another splendid pud from good ol’ reliable Nan-Nan.

Problem is, and unbeknownst to her loving fam, Maddie can cope with long stints in the kitchen, no longer.  Yes, they know Mum has health issues: swollen fluid-retentive ankles, a recently diagnosed heart condition, perilously high blood pressure, osteoarthritis galore and now irreversible glaucoma has consumed her eyesight to a stage where surgery is not an option. Maddie, however, has opted to keep hidden the true extent of her deterioration in order to preserve the precious mealtime ritual she holds so dear.

So, rather than make a fuss and risk disrupting an important family custom… Maddie confided in me that she has instead resorted to cheating!  Thanks to a session with the girls at her ‘Stitch n Bitch’ knitting group, Maddie was able to swap her usual legendary but painfully long-winded cheesecake recipe for another which her friend Wilma discovered on the ‘interweb’.

Here ’tis:

No Muss – No Fuss!

So! Where once the production of her signature dish meant hours of beavering away for an entire morning, as well as depleting her energy stocks for the rest of the week – it now only took Maddie four minutes! 

“Plus extra fiddling-about time, of course”, Maddie confessed to me.

And so the show can go on!  Her family are none the wiser; in fact she tells me they all squeal how they just LOVE the new extra creaminess and texture. And please, Mum…can I have some more?

“Oh, I’m just trying a few different flavours”, says Maddie with a cheeky glint in her eye, when they make inquiries.  

And not a dot of cheese to be seen!  Wilma from the knitting club promised Maddie that no one would ever notice – because the yoghurt imparts a sneaky cheese flavour once it had been zapped on high in the microwave.  Good ol’ Wilma – she was right!  

It doesn’t sound like a big deal in the grand scale of things, but I’m so pleased to see, even if it may not be forever… how happy and proud Maddie Chadwick is knowing she gets to continue the precious cheesecake tradition for a little longer with her adoring family.  

And I myself, will be able to confirm how easy-peasy it is too, after I attempt one for my lot tonight (Fingers crossed… and toes…and arms… and …)

“Make sure you use full-fat yoghurt though, Dollie.  And using Anzac biscuits is a nice touch for the base.  Melt some butter into them once they’re crushed up – that’ll stop your bottom from going all dry and falling apart.”

Oh, indeedy yes… the last thing any of us need is a dried-up, crumbly bottom.

Family feasting…. do we still smile like this?

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie
Posted in Aged Care, Communication, Working with Elderly

The Goodbye Wave

Warm Family Fuzzie-Wuzzies!

One of my fondest childhood memories is of our grandparents seeing us off, waving goodbye from their front porch. Smiling contentedly, and without fail at each and every departure time, they’d take up position watching and waving at the top of the steps.

Whether it be the big Sunday family lunch gathering or just a random quick visit to drop off groceries or pick up a bag of lemons from grandad’s garden – it didn’t matter the reason for the visit or how long we were there.  Waving us off was just one of those heart-felt routines that our grandparents dutifully undertook when it came time to seal the deal and bid us farewell.

Grandma Dollie
(circa 1977)

Of course, that’s after the obligatory round of goodbye kisses, hugs and hair ruffling that seemed to go on forever, before we finally got to bundle ourselves into the car for the ride home.

And I remember too, if we turned around at any stage during our exit, as mum or dad manoeuvred the car down the driveway, that they would still be stood there, happily waving and watching for our return waves through the back window.

Then, as we began slowly to pull away out of view, they’d both sing out in perfect unison:

Bye, bye….LOVE YOU!”

I sometimes wondered, after we had gone, how long they might have remained standing there! Waving away… clinging on to happy times in a now empty front garden.

Lovely too, was that even after the granddads were gone, both my grandmothers continued the waving tradition alone, never missing a beat. As if this treasured practice was integral to keeping the family unit bound and sacred forever.

I was too young to realise then, but it was indeed likely that this cherished ritual be the final thrust in my grandparent’s campaign to squeeze out as much valuable ‘together’ time as they possibly could.

I wish now, in hindsight, that I had waved back a lot, lot harder.

Waving – a universal language
(especially popular at train stations)

But, as it delightfully turns out, my grandparents were not the only ‘wavers’ I would ever have the pleasure of!

Thanks to my recent adventures in Aged-Care where I work with older adults in their own homes… I have been fortunate to encounter clients on my travels who also conduct a similar performance when it’s time to say goodbye. 

In fact, possibly as a ploy to prolong my visit, some of my clients even go so far as to walk me right out to my car!  I guess old habits die hard and chatting all the way, we discuss the cat’s weepy eye, admire the Azaleas and analyse the weather as we go.

Unfortunately, for some of my less sprightly clients who have forgotten that their mobility is not as reliable as it once was, I then have to turn round and walk (or wheel) them back inside again! The thought of driving off and leaving a wobbly pensioner on the footpath clinging to their letterbox just doesn’t bear thinking about! So, I don’t mind in the slightest having to spend a bit more time escorting them back to their front doors again.

Besides, it’s a nice little moment that I know will bring a significant amount of joy to someone else’s day. And to be honest, I consider it a compliment that it feels so comfortable for them to think me wave-worthy in the first place.

“Off we go… let’s get you back inside again, Mr Gadabout!”

Stranded at the letterbox

Why only today, one of my regular ladies, Florence, whom I’ve worked with for a couple of years now, makes it her business to accompany me out onto her front verandah where she likes to wait, waving goodbye as I hop into my car.

Having observed Flo become increasingly more and more absent-minded (her symptoms recently diagnosed ‘most likely’ as Dementia), to her it’s the most natural thing in the world to see me off. The same as she would a visit from any close friend or family member – except that I am neither.

“I’ll see you off, dear. And then I’ll put Walt’s dinner on”.

In my rear-view mirror I see the the nonchalant Florence surveying the rosebushes for mottled leaves as she continues her well-rehearsed wave, leaning on the rail for support and so she stays in my sights. Then, just as I reach the end of her drive and I do my return wave back, she looks up at that last second when I’ve straightened up and am about to disappear from her view.

Then, a final flourish with her wrist finishes it all off!

And it’s funny… as I pause for a brief moment to watch her go back inside to peel the spuds for her husband Walter (who actually died 12 years ago), I’m struck with nostalgic thoughts of warm childhood family times and the ghosts of ‘wavers’ past.

So unexpected are the feelings in fact, that I find I have to stop myself from the involuntary urge to call out a big cheery “Bye-bye….LOVE YOU!”

Awwww… feelin’ it

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers, Dollie
Posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Working with Elderly

An Alzheimer’s Poem

Leaving our Loved Ones “Sad and Sick…and Lost”

Every time I visit 82-year old Ruth Cuddlepot I read this poem. 

She has it up on a wall in her kitchen near the toaster, just above the bench.  I know it by heart now because it’s so hard to miss and I stand there every Wednesday reading it (at least three times over) – while I’m waiting for her crumpets to pop!  

It’s a short, but popular verse and most experienced carers have encountered it on their travels in and around the Aged-Care industry. To be honest, I always end up feel annoyed after I’ve read it because as far as describing the hopelessness and grim reality of Alzheimer’s disease – it’s pretty spot on.

It is also completely SAD.

We all know this one, right? 

So, the story goes that back in her day, Ruth Cuddlepot forged for herself (and prospered for many years in) an outstanding career as a Headmistress in some posh private school for boys – at the time the only woman on record to obtain such a role.  She never married, didn’t have children and had no real family to speak of.  Therefore, a very well-to-do Ruth had mountains of cash and high-performing investments squared nicely away for that one ‘rainy day’ when she just might need it. 

That drab, dreary, drizzly day came a few years back when Ruth received the official crushing diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Being the no-nonsense insightful person that she was however, Ruth decided immediately that she would face her destiny head-on and set herself up for the inevitable; for when she could no longer work or take care of herself.

Indeed, there would be NO nursing home for Principal Ruth Cuddlepot! 

Without wallowing in self-pity and in typical Headmistress fashion, Ruth seized control to ensure her affairs were arranged down to the very teensiest detail. The health services, neurologists, an endless supply of support workers and the most fastidious fleet of solicitors were all put in place so Ruth could be completely looked after and cared for IN HER OWN HOME.

No matter what.  

She knew her condition would deteriorate; that her memory would crumble, and she would eventually “lose my marbles completely!”  Apparently, that’s how Ruth used to brazenly declare it, although I didn’t know her then and have relied on verbal reports from other carers to fill me in on all the background reading. 

Needless to say, she was one very smart woman. Although, by the time I had the pleasure of caring for the well-respected Ruth Cuddlepot, she was no longer the organised and efficient educator I had been told she once was. 

Ruth had, instead, evolved into ‘Ruthie’.  

And thanks to the personality-morphing Alzheimer’s, Ruthie had become a frail, yet openly happy and affectionate elderly woman…. WHO LOVED TO HUG! 

Even when her speech faltered, Ruthie could at least continue to communicate with a nice big welcoming embrace whenever I arrived for my shift.  I looked forward to it in fact!  

There she would be, perched in her favourite place on a big comfy chair in front of her enormous lounge room windows. The spot where she had the wonderful view of her ever-changing garden, the birds flying by to say hello… and where she could keep a watchful eye out for her next visitor whom she could throw her arms around and give a great big hearty squeeeeze to!

Really if it wasn’t so heart-breaking, it would be lovely.

Ruthie at her window...
 – waiting for the next hug-ee!

Recently though, Ruthie had started calling me Wendy.  

Which is fine by me, because you can imagine it happens a lot in this line of work (I’m also known as Debbie, Louise and Margie with some of my other cognitively-challenged clients). Let’s face it, remembering each of your carers’ name, rank and serial numbers is understandably not high on the priority list for some seniors.

Especially when they no longer know their OWN name!

I knew something had started to change in Ruthie when one day – the hugs stopped.  And another cruel stage of the Alzheimer’s curse set in… Ruthie Cuddlepot started to become aggressive.

Without much warning her moods became erratic and it eventuated that Ruthie couldn’t STAND to be touched.  Not even a handshake or a gentle pat on the shoulder.  You just wouldn’t dare in case she would flare up and start screaming and punching the air (or anything else within proximity) in what appeared to be the ultimate frustration within Ruthie’s muddled-up mind. 

This most heartless and indiscriminate Dementia had finally taken hold of her … it has been just awful to watch.

Finally, after accusations that Ruthie had started slapping and pushing her carers, we were told there was a serious incident last week where she had to be whisked away by ambulance and sedated in hospital.  

Quite honestly, it became apparent to all, that they didn’t know WHAT to do with her!

After all Ruth’s organising, having purposely prepared herself and her future to remain forever being tended to in her own home by an army of paid care-working bees and service providers, it now seemed this was no longer a viable option.  

I wonder now looking back, how Ruthie could have possibly planned for this final gloom-ridden phase of her illness?

Perhaps she’d anticipated that by this late phase: 1) she wouldn’t know where she was, and 2) she wouldn’t care? I hoped so for her sake.

The poem was right, and the best of Ruth had gone.  And sadly yes, we had failed in standing beside her.  Basically, it had become too unsafe to do so!  Poor Ruthie had become a danger not only to herself, but to everyone else as well.  And if a support worker is under any threat whilst looking after a client in in their home, then the people in charge needed to modify to an alternative arrangement.  

I was informed only today that the once proud and brilliant Ruth Cuddlepot had been relocated ‘indefinitely’ into a High Care nursing home facility.  

Just like the poem had foretold she was now sad and sick and lost.  Her beautiful forward-thinking mind now full-to-capacity on sensory-depriving medication to keep her comatose and manageable (for her own protection, we were told).

I have deliberated greatly about going to visit Ruthie but honestly, what would be the point? And as harsh and as self-serving as might sound – I don’t think I could bear it.  

The worst part is finding out she doesn’t even have a window.

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers, Dollie

Posted in Aged Care, Dementia

Dementia Diagnosis for Aunty Win

A Letter to my Fam-Bam

I received this email from my cousin Rochelle recently.

Thought I’d share it here (because I can), and also to emphasise how shitty and random this increasingly common disease called Dementia is. Not to mention the despair and frustration for families who are left heart-broken and grief-stricken as they watch on hopelessly; it is totally NOT FAIR.

Aunt Winnie taught me that girls don’t have to aspire to be receptionists or typists or office note-takers who run around after others… “unless you want to, then that’s fine, too.”

Instead, if you’ve got the gumption (her favourite word) – you can make a great career doing something you love, settle down and hopefully find a nice boy “wearing not-too-tight slacks” to make a good enough life together.

It has eventuated that I have done both.

Aunt ‘Winnie-the-Poo’ – – –  YOU ROCK!

(We miss you so much).

Winnie – younger days
(great hair!)

To my dear family,

I’ve been back from overseas for almost 2 weeks and there have been a few changes with Mum (our Winnie), so thought I’d send a group email update so you all know where that’s at.

Unfortunately, and as predicted by most of us, her mental health has declined significantly.  

I took her to her GP and she completed a MoCA test (half hour competency testing), where the results were not flash:  ie: 10 out of 30 is bad.

Poor mum scored 2…(TWO!)  Is that even a number???

Thank the Lord she defiantly remembered where she was from, although truthfully, I think she must have fluked the second point by just sheer good luck!

We also discussed her anxiety levels and turns out, they’ve put Mum on a little ‘upper’ to assist with her mood.  Arthur is great with mum and loves her to bits which I could cry with relief about cos he’s such a caring wonderful man.  

Obviously, as a retired school teacher, he revels in the role of directing and correcting!  (Plus, the Citalopram will be doing it’s job – keeping Mum calm and ticking along, happy to stay back after class with another special Arthur ‘detention’ !!!)

In the meantime, the Geriatricians will without doubt, assess Mum for ‘Care-Home’ level assistance, and I assume officially diagnose her with Dementia. This should happen soon.  Hopefully, while I am still in the country – although I may be called up any day now so not sure what we do then… 

Thankfully, in all the zippity-do-da (haha another one of her ‘funnies’) most stuff can be sorted online and organised via email etc.  And legally, I don’t need to go to the lawyers- which is just perfect.

Happy family, beachy days
(and the discovery of ginger beer!!)

The best thing is that the staff at the Respite home where Mum is now are all on the same page as I am.  And they have been concerned with her deterioration for a while – the head nurses have an amazing rapport with her, plus they’ve kept me fully up to speed on things. 

I am just SO impressed with the set-up there!

Win gets to stay in her current apartment WITH Arthur – and the Care Team actually comes to her! This includes 3 showers a week, getting dressed daily and undressed, breakfast, lunch and dinner, dispensing medications, clothes washing, housekeeping etc.

At the moment, Mum is just having shower and dressing assistance (extra $100 a week).  Once the new level of care comes through, we will apply for a subsidy as their combined total assets is less than $119k.

This new level of care will be paid from Dad’s deceased estate account (ie: $23k – and then the good old government takes over…PHEW).

I did have Mum come stay with me by herself last week (and my girls too, much to their horror), for a night recently. She spent the WHOLE TIME thinking Arthur would be coming to pick her up at any second – watching out the window, pacing up and down etc. 

I could tell she really would have preferred to go back ‘home’ to Arthur; we had to phone him a few times during the night when the panic set in. 

You should have seen it the next day, though, when they re-united.  I just about died… they had the biggest SNOG I’ve seen in ages! In front of all the staff…everyone…THEY DIDN’T CARE!!!

(I think I was actually JEALOUS!)

Arthur & Winnie’s ‘golf’ wedding cake
FOURRRRR!

Mum’s just fine where she is and like I said, Arthur loves her to bits. So as weird as all this is, Winnie’s definitely safe and cared for. She actually does realise her memory is bad (kind of), but quickly seems to forget she had that flash of realisation and so we just move on.

She happily accepts shower assistance, and for her own dignity and personal presentation, I’m terribly thankful for that.  Physically, Win looks and IS well.

Don’t know what else to say but I really hope this email doesn’t cause any concern for you guys.  I really feel she is in the right place and I think we should all feel blessed that she married Arthur last year – as crazy as that seemed at the time…. WHO IS THIS MAN WITH THE GIANT MOUSTACH WHO IS IN LOVE WITH MY MOTHER? 

Because it certainly takes the load off me – not that I’m complaining…

It’s just hard, you know?

Anyway, I hope all is well with you guys – sorry if I’ve rambled on but I wanted to put you in the picture seeing as you are her family,,, the people who love her the most. 

God, does she even remember?  

You know what…I really don’t know any more.  Today for example, she called me Geraldine.  As in Aunty Gerry, her twin, who died when they were in their 20’s.  And I can tell when she looks at me that she’s not ‘Mum’ anymore.  I hate that the most about this awful disease.

Anyway, I’m waiting for confirmation of my next placement abroad – not sure when or where that might be but I’m loving my Oncology nursing and the fabulous people involved in the industry so that makes it all worthwhile (as well as being the best distraction from the Win & Arthur show!)

Will keep you all updated as the rest of the saga of our gorgeous mum/sister/aunty’s life unfolds. 

Love you guys,

Rochelle

PS: please, don’t worry about mum.  She is fine, really.

PPS: we must all get together in the SAME room one day.  Life’s too short. – I could end up losing my mind, just like Mum.  ARRRGGGHHHH!

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers, Dollie
Posted in Aged Care, Respect

The Wooden Bowl

Just a nice story about Compassion & Respect (and PEAS!)

“I guarantee you will remember this tale of The Wooden Bowl, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now. It goes like this:

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and 4-yr-old grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. Every night, the family ate together at the table.

Unfortunately, the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped his glass, he always spilled milk on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

“We must do something about my father,” said the son. ‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.”

The husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather would eat alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner at the big table. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. If he dropped the bowl, it would clatter with a loud noise, but at least it would not break.

This went on for some time. When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence. 

One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, “What are you making?”

Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little wooden bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The 4-yr-old smiled and went back to work. 

The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. They looked at each other, and felt a cold sensation wash over them. Though no words were spoken, both knew they had acted poorly and needed to take action. 

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

<Author Unknown>

A big ol’ BOWL

“On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:  a rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life’.

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back sometimes.

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.  But if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can – happiness will find you.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decisions.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I dont have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch; holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.”

Pesky, trouble-making peas…

HAPPY CARING!

Cheers,
Dollie