I waited anxiously for the social worker to arrive. I had no idea what she was going to say or what plan she had in mind for Mom. There was a knock at the door and a small part of me didn’t want to answer it, but the other part of me whispered, ‘you have no choice’.
We carried out the formal introduction, then sat down at my dining table to discuss the matter at hand, Mom.
Andrea, as she asked me to call her, reached into her bag and pulled out pamphlets for me to read at my leisure. Next, she asked if Mom had drawn up a Power of Attorney for personal care and financial/property matters.
I said, ‘yes I think so’.
‘Well then you will have to get the original from her to begin the placement process, she said. Now is it just you, or do you have siblings?’
‘I have a younger brother, but I think as the oldest, I am going to be the one making the decisions’, I said.
Andrea also gave me a list of homes in and around the area so that I could visit them in order to make my final decision for placement. I told her I was not ready to begin any process, as I wanted another opinion.
‘Okay, she said. Do you have another specialist in mind?’
‘No, I don’t have anyone and Mom’s doctor hasn’t given me any suggestions or anything. I have to be completely honest, I don’t know what to do, but I don’t want her to go into a nursing home. Isn’t there any other way?’ I said, looking down at the pamphlets in front of me.
Andrea looked at me reassuringly and said ‘First, I would love to meet your Mom. I need to do an assessment on her and so does a social worker from the CCAC and after will determine our next move.’
‘The CCAC? What’s that?’ I questioned as I thought Mom had been through enough tests. What I didn’t know up to this point, was that the tests were just the beginning.
‘We also have a day program in place at the Alzheimer Society. Anyone with a dementia diagnosis can attend. There is a small fee, but at least you know your Mom would be taken care of during the day. We have different programs for each level of the disease. Do you think that is something your Mom would be interested in?’, Andrea asked.
I wanted to say YES, but knew deep down inside Mom would never be comfortable attending a program with others suffering from Alzheimer’s. So I said, ‘ I don’t know, Mom doesn’t socialize much, but maybe YOU could convince her…’
Andrea went on to explain the CCAC, ‘the CCAC is the Community Care Access Centre and all assessments for long-term care must be completed by them to determine eligibility. They assist families by explaining our health care system and will give you options for Mom’s care. You must have the POA (Power of Attorney) papers in order to begin this process. But before we go ahead with anything, as I had mentioned, I would love to meet your Mom to determine where her issues may lie.’
‘Sure’, I said.
I was beginning to really like this lady. She was compassionate and extremely knowledgeable, which is what I needed at that point. I was once again bombarded with information and tried to be strong and not break down. I think she saw I was teetering on the brink of tears when she said,
‘How’s Saturday for a visit with your Mom?’
‘Sounds good, I said, but how are we going to explain you? Mom doesn’t understand she ‘almost’ has Alzheimer’s and I’m afraid she will become angry.’
There was that word again, ‘almost’, if I had money I would have gambled everything to change it to ‘not’ Alzheimer’s.