Suddenly, one day after the hospital appointment the manager at the Sheltered housing called to say that Betty is in need of a higher level of support than can be offered by the wardens. She is calling the wardens all the time and expecting them to act as security and companions. She is weeping and not getting off the bed.
Luckily, a work colleague had his father in a facility near to Betty's flat. So without seeing the home I rang and asked if they had a bed for respite care. This was at 10.00 a.m. They had - hurrah! Someone would be out to assess Mum at 2.30 p.m. I went over and found her, as described, in low spirits. She said " I need to go somewhere to be looked after". Sue, the Senior worker from the facility arrived to assess Mum. She confirmed Mum was suitable for residential care and she would talk to her manager. It was now 3.15 p.m. " Is it possible for her to come tonight? She does not need a meal."
Fingers crossed and she rang to say " Yes". We packed the bags, complete with the cocktail of drugs and used the famous lightweight wheelchair to transfer to the car. Betty does not want to walk.
When we arrived it was a relief to see a large, modern facility. The staff were so welcoming and we arrived in a simple, clean and fresh room. Betty sat in the wing chair. Blanket on legs and one round her shoulders. Hard to believe this was my fiesty mother! She sat with her right hand supporting her forehead and could give no reason why it was so comfortable to be like that.
I was able to leave knowing that she had the right level of support. I telephoned the Dr and he remained of the opinion she did not need to be in care and advised me to be led by her as to where she stayed.
The next day the staff told me she had stayed in her room all day, hardly eaten, head in hands. " I have lived too long" she said. What happens next? I wondered.