Saturday, April 10, 2010

Memory Care (heart)

Memory Care is a sweet euphemism for "Locked Ward". Although every effort has been made to make the facility light and cheery, there's no getting around the truth that nobody in your family can take full-time care of you anymore and this is your last stop. There's a certain amount of stage dressing and salesmanship that is necessary to make it palatable to family members. My latest tour include a visit to a large corporate facility with Assisted Living and Memory Care units. I met the perky, sexily dressed salesperson, er, community relations coordinator, and she took me for a tour of the Memory Care wing. As soon Mike and I stepped off the elevator she did a strange sort of shielding maneuver to shepherd us around the corner. Not fast enough apparently, to avoid the catcalls of an elderly gentleman seated directly across from the doors. As our guide tried to attract the attention of the nursing staff, the old guy caught sight of our party. "Shake it!" he leered and me, and I obliged. Just doing my part to improve the daily lives of the residents! Our guide apologized, "I was trying to hurry you past Fred, because sometimes he makes inappropriate remarks." Mike and I joined in on the exercise group, where 70% of the residents are unable to sit up in their wheelchairs, much less rotate their ankles. Mostly they just curl up and doze. Mike was definitely the most alert and agile patient in the room, over and above some of the caregivers, even. He quickly attached himself to a genial old fellow named Nigel, who had a jolly demeanor which made his gibberish quite pleasant to listen to. After the class, we wheeled Nigel down to group singing class. We passed Nigel's room which listed Nigel's achievements in life, including his accolades in the fields of academics and physics. I Googled Nigel later and discovered he had made ground breaking discoveries in aeronautics. Poignant, no?
It was rapidly becoming clear to me, that Mike was not ready for Memory Care, and I was not ready to send him there. It was time to revisit a decision I had made when Mike first became incapacitated. Maybe it could work: Should I move Mike permanently into the Frannex?

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