That was the text I received from my sister to tell me that Mom was safe: “The eagle has landed 🙂 ”
Although my sister and I have health and financial POA for both of my parents, my dad, being the spouse, had retained decision making authority. He retained that authority partly as a practical matter, trying to balance the needs of two parents, and trying to retain the POA for both parents throughout this ordeal so that we have access to funds and will also be able to take care of dad long term too. And, as the hospice social worker had noted, part of this was making the (unconscious) choice to try to preserve the relationship of two people that have been married for over 60 years.
It had become clear that we needed to move Mom into a SNF (skilled nursing facility), but it was not clear how it would be paid for long term, nor how we would be able to remove her from the house without upsetting her and with her cooperation, and without an altercation with dad, or the need to have the police present.
The hospice social worker found a SNF for mom, which appears to be a good fit. My sister, with the hospice social worker, told Dad that Mom had a doctor’s appointment, and they were then able to remove her from the house without incident, and to get her to the facility. When she didn’t go back to the house with Dad, he was told that the doctor wanted to admit her, so he assumed that she had been admitted to the hospital, and we let him. The next day, today, he was told that she was moved to a SNF for more personal care. The social worker told us this was only the second time in over 25 years that something like this was necessary, with Dad being so difficult.
Last night we celebrated with a feeling of huge relief, as this should have been done probably two years ago. But today, I am incredibly sad, mostly about my dad. My sisters spent time with Mom today, and while she had quite a bit of agitation last night and this morning, by this afternoon, she was in better control, and seemed to fully understand that she now gets to rest and “just be” and let people take care of her – something I know she has wanted for a long time. I don’t know if she will remember that as we move forward, and I don’t know how she will respond when Dad visits and tells her how miserable she is and how much she really wants to come home, but today my sister said she left the facility happy because Mom knew she was were she should be, and Mom was even in control, telling my sister when to leave because she needed more rest.
After the drama is all said and done, what is left is the incredible sadness that my Dad is lost in a foreign world of his own that is difficult and mean, and, estimates for mom, are a matter of weeks, maybe, and since she is a tough cookie, months. And it just all hurts my heart.