Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 30 May, 2024

Thursday

Interesting visit to Beck House this morning. I’d been told that they’d be ready to let family members see the area that residents would be moved to some time in the last week of May. They’re not ready. They’ve got electricians and decorators all over the top floor running round like mad things. I didn’t get to see Mum’s room.

I wasn’t concerned though. That wasn’t really the main priority of the visit. The most important thing for me was to start building relationships with the staff and in that respect it couldn’t have gone better. The Manager was as lovely as I’d hoped and she saw how the maintenance team from Mum’s current home greeted me so she saw how I like to fit in with the wider ‘family’ at the home.

They’ve got their work cut out though. They’ve had the top floor moth-balled for a couple of years. Effectively since the plan to re-develop The Home first got put in place and they were told they would be taking their residents. But they only found out that the plan had been resurrected the same day we did and they’re struggling a bit. So while The Manager at The Home is saying the transfer schedule is fixed and that it will all go smoothly, The Manager at Beck House is saying that there may be some ‘flexibility’ in who gets transferred when. That suits me because ideally I would be with Mum when they get her out of bed and move her to the lounge and I could be among the first faces she sees when she arrives at Beck House. But I can’t do that if she moves on the 25th as I’ve got chauffeur duty that day for a trip to Oxford.

I’m sure it’ll all be fine. Mum’s moved twice within The Home and it didn’t cause any significant upset. I don’t expect it to be too traumatic for her.

From there to Lesley’s dad. His cleaning lady had reported to us on our way there that there had been an ‘accident’ in the ‘trouser area’ that required every item of clothing he was wearing to be put in the washing machine. He was clean and changed by the time we got there. He did a pretty good job of styling it out but he definitely seemed subdued. I don’t think he knew we knew what had happened. He was extremely wobbly today and when I helped him in and out of the car for the trip to get his ears cleaned he seemed as light as a feather. His clothes are just hanging off him. Even though he was ultra-compliant we were both utterly drained afterwards.

And so to Mum. She was starting to wake up. Sue had been wondering about a video call and we did give it a go but Mum was too quiet and indistinct to contribute much. She seemed content to hold my hand as she listened to the conversation around her and drifted off to sleep again. I think she’d had a decent day though. There was a row of cups on her table but they were all at least three-quarters finished and she asked for another drink as soon as she realised I was there.

There was a nice moment when I arrived. Eve was, unusually, sitting in the rear lounge with Audrey. I bade everyone good evening as I walked through as per.

Everyone: “Good evening Nick!”

Audrey¬†(theatrically): “How lovely to see you!”

Me: “It’s always lovely to see you Audrey. How are you? Have you had a fun-filled day?”

Audrey¬†(still theatrically): “Haha! Yes, I’m well thank-you and all the better for seeing you”

Me: “How wonderful. Likewise I’m sure”

I carried on towards Mum’s room but I could hear puzzlement behind me

“Audrey?” asked Eve, “Do you know Nick then?”

“Who?”

“That man. That’s Nick. Do you know him?”

“No”

“Oh!”

“He’s just a very nice man”

“Yes. Yes he is. A very nice man”

Brother commented in the family chat that it’s always good to be appreciated. It is indeed. I’m sure Audrey feels the same. The woman craves company and in all the time I’ve been going there I’ve only seen her get a visitor twice. Twice. Since July. And it only takes half a minute to make her laugh and feel valued. In fact that few seconds of banter with Audrey makes everybody in the room laugh.

So why not?

Author’s Note

My Mum is in a nursing home in a small village in the Thames Valley. The photo is not of the home. I used an AI image generator to give the reader some idea of the home she’s in.

All, some or maybe even none (you’ll never know!) of the names have been changed to protect privacy and hide real identities. If you think you recognise someone then let me know and I’ll edit the post or remove it entirely

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