I've let these updates go for so long now that I'm afraid all of the minor events will seem jumbled and confusing. I'll try and just hit the major developments and make the last month or so come across as much more simpler than it has been in reality.
The psychiatrist that visits Autumn View suggested a while back that my mom might do better on this new drug combo Neudexta that is specific to the mood swings and crying/laughing jags that often accompany dementia. I agreed that it sounded promising, so he phased her off of the Lexapro and started a low dose of this new medicine.
That's about the same time that she started to become a lot more agitated, angry and combative. It might have been the change in meds, it might have been related to two new caregivers coming on staff, it's hard to know. We tried the new medicine for another week or so to see if things would even out, but when things didn't improve and she started trying to leave the building, we reversed courses.
Things have sort of improved now from the worst of that, but my mom is still getting frustrated more easily than she used to and she doesn't have any constructive ways of venting those feelings. She's raised her hand to strike both me and one of the caretakers she really likes and regularly shoves the ones she doesn't like so much when they try to assist her with dressing, toileting, etc. I'm also unhappy with the level of care, some of what my mom needs these days is not really included in the official definition of assisted living, so there's only so much I can do in terms of complaining. She still tries to leave on occasion and tells people that she needs to get out of there and can theygive her a ride. She has to wear a 'wander-guard' anklet that sets off an alarm if she goes out a door and she HATES that.
And then at the end of April, Autumn View informed me that they will no longer be able to take care of her and gave us 30 days to find another living situation. They suggested three skilled nursing facilities that have memory care units and will accept Medicaid, but I find all of them depressing and most are not very conveniently located. I found another one that both she and I liked, but just found out today that her "elopement" issues (I love that's what they call it when you try and leave) disqualify her from residence there.
I think I'm pretty settled on us trying a new private pay assisted living residence with a memory care unit that's fairly close to us that will open June 1. We'll still have to make another move when it comes time to apply for Medicaid, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
We had another rough day today and I finally figured out that my mom was not put back on Lexapro after that whole medication debacle. No wonder she's still dealing with extreme issues of anxiety and tearfulness...she's no longer getting any pharmaceutical help at all in that department! So I'm going to see if I have any leftover meds that I can start her back on tomorrow (just call me Dr. Peltier) and I'll call the doctor on Monday to insist on official documentation for that move.
Really kind of pisses me off and makes me get all conspiracy theorist on this since my mom's anxiety-fueled behavior gives Autumn View justification for kicking us out, whereas before, she was just a lot of extra work. And even on that, I sometimes feel like the aides wait until later than necessary to help her get ready for bed since they know that if they wait long enough, I'll just do it for them.
That was me venting.
In the interest of balance, I'll try to end on a happier note. I don't know if it's true empathy or just imitated behavior, but when Nathan saw his grandma crying today he watched thoughtfully for a minute, then went off towards the back of her apartment. He came back with tissue paper to dry her tears, as he'd seen me do, but his was still attached to the roll in the bathroom and trailing along behind him. It was a sweet gesture though and it did make her laugh.
Also, my dad will be coming in for a visit on Tuesday, so he'll be able to spend some time visiting with her during the week, so it will be nice to have that extra support. Now I just need to a crazy amount of last minute cleaning...off to start that right now.