When More Translates to More Options for Failure

holeinnetI visit my mom in her community two to three times a week. There is usually one medical or care issue to follow-up on or navigate. We’ve been monitoring some minor issues with a focus on keeping mom as happy and comfortable as we can. I was planning on a social visit with mom today but arrive to find that her personal care assistant (PCA) is no where in sight. Mom is sitting in the living room staring at a soap opera on television when I arrive. She is dressed, but her hair hasn’t been combed yet and it’s 1 P.M. I brush her hair and take her into the community room to join in the afternoon activity. After joining in the games, I realize it’s 2:30 and I am concerned that I haven’t heard from her regular PCA and send her a text. She lets me know she’s home with a sick son, and apologizes for not texting me.

It’s not the job of the PCA to tell me mom doesn’t have an assistant today. I call the agency to understand why no one has communicated with me. Excuses are made, but I’m just mad. In addition to having mom in a community dedicated to memory care, we pay for the extra assistant to ensure mom is dressed in the manner she prefers, cared for, and happy. Now it just feels like I have more people to follow-up with to find out why no one seems to be on top of mom’s needs right now.

I follow-up with the community and learn that the agency called the head nurse, but none of the staff on my mom’s hallway knew. I’m not sure I’m okay with them parking her in front of a soap opera. I think they should have gotten mom to the activity room. I check my feelings and let the staff know that they should include mom in the activities.

While I love the concept of “many hands make light work,” today it feels like because so many are involved, no one seems to feel responsible.

Mom was fine. She’s safe, fed, and doesn’t complain. It’s my job to be her advocate and I wonder if this has happened before and I never knew about it. It makes me feel like I’m failing in my duties.

My hope was that more resources would help build a stronger safety net and today it feels like I have one with more places for failure. Disappointed. 

10 thoughts on “When More Translates to More Options for Failure

  1. I am so sorry you had to deal with this. I worry about this all the time on the days Mom’s private-pay PCA isn’t there. Or on the days when I arrive and Mom’s hair looks like she was in a tornado. My sister, who lives 3 miles from the ALF (I am 45 miles away) and is Mom’s POA/advocate, picks her battles carefully. Mom has no clue, nor do the other residents. But *I* do. Sigh…….

  2. I’m sorry to hear about this Kay. As I posted on my thread a week or so ago things are not good for either my brother or mum in their respective homes.. I will see it with my own eyes when I visit on Saturday. Hope you can sort things out!

  3. I feel your frustration and disappointment. It’s like they simply go for the easiest option – plonk someone in front of the television – rather than thinking about what would be the best option for the person concerned. I hope things improve.

  4. I think you are doing an amazing job. It’s really hard to juggle everything that you are juggling.

    We had problems with Dad sending away the caregivers for Mom and not being told by the agency. Luckily, I think we got that straightened out, though Mom didn’t have caregivers for long. We tried to get ongoing caregiving for Mom in the facility, and then we found that she was primarily just dropping my dad off, and he would take a cab home – I don’t even think she stayed and helped/supervised like she was supposed to.

    It can be hard to stay on top of everything at times. My boss the other day made a comment, about how everything would work well in the department, if only everyone did what they were supposed to do. Simple, but so true!

  5. My mother in law, who has dementia, is in a lovely retirement home (assisted living now). Though she feels very well cared for, we have had issues like medication errors, sent on an emergency doctors visit with no staff (which is policy), lack of communication with outside doctors about important needed care, etc…. Call your local ombudsman representative (google for contact by state) . You don’t have to file a complaint to get information or advise. Also speak with someone in authority where your parent lives, and follow up with an email or letter. We had originally gone to the head nurse in assisted living, which solved none of the issues. Don’t think of it as complaining, but as being proactive.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion. I should have done this, but sometimes feel so overwhelmed it’s easier to move onto the next issue. However, that doesn’t make it better for the next person.

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