This is a snapshot of the past two months. Grandma's been in this rehab/nursing home facility since June and we visit nearly every day (even though she doesn't remember if we were there or not) These photos are just a snapshot of grandma's life on the 4th floor.
At the end of May grandma fell (twice!) and was hospitalized. She spent a week or so in the hospital and then was moved to a rehab facility in Niles. It was so heartbreaking to leave her there. She wouldn't eat, she didn't want to socialize with the other "crazies" (as she called them) She was pretty miserable. Every time we came to visit, she thought she would be going home and would get really excited. So. Heartbreaking. About a week after we brought her to the rehab facility, she had some sort of really bad infection and was rushed back to the hospital (talk about a rough few weeks!) She got a hefty dose of fluids and antibiotics and was sent back to the rehab facility after a few days of recouping.
It's pretty depressing in the rehab/nursing home. It's decorated warmly enough and it doesn't look like the typical sterile decrepit and dingy nursing home you see on the television. There are laminate hardwood-esque floors, the walls are painted a warm golden color and there are bight curtains in each residents room. The residents are what I feel make it so depressing. The residents on the 4th floor are in various stages of dementia and Alzheimer's. Some are still communicative and seem to be pretty aware. Some are in their own little worlds and can't or don't communicate with anyone. They shuffle around or sit for hours and hours in their wheelchairs or special wheeled devices, lost in their own world.
There are a cast of characters living on the fourth floor with my grandma. There are two women that have little baby dolls that they hold onto. One of these women tries to feed the doll, keep it warm, talk to it, and kiss it-- as if it were a real baby. I wonder if these women think the doll is their own baby from happier times in years past? There's Ruby, a woman who stands outside or across from my grandma's door all the time (it's a little creepy, actually). Mary, who talks to my grandma in Polish (I didn't know my grandma could still communicate so well in Polish!) Hazel is the woman with the crash helmet and special wheeled contraption. She spends most of her time walking the hallways. There are the two sisters who are so sweet. They share a room together and always sit together. While at the table during meals, the sister who is in slightly better condition takes care of and helps feed the other one. Dorothy is fortunate to be pretty communicative and aware. She and my grandma sit next to each other often and talk. There are also several folks who are confined to special gurney type chairs, who cannot move their arms or legs that need to be fed and are dependent on the CNA's for complete care.
What makes me most sad is many of the residents do not have friends or family that visit them. My grandma is so lucky that someone from our family goes at least every day, and most days, two or three people stop in and see her. We're there to make sure she eats, make sure she's well and receiving the care she needs. We notify the nurses when she needs to use the bathroom, or when she has a headache and needs some aspirin. We make sure she has her clothes and belongings. She looks forward to someone coming to visit everyday. She's happy that we take her outside and we talk to her about what's going on in our lives, or the world. She laughs. She smiles. She may not always follow the conversation, or even remember much that we were there, but we show up. Every day.
goodness, isn't grandma cute?