My mother has been in the memory unit for nearly a year. In all that time, whenever I go to visit her, most of the time, I find her in her room, either sleeping or sitting in her chair. Lately, I've found her wandering around the building. Sometimes she is sitting in a chair at the opposite end of the hall from her apartment, or sitting in the community room, where the television is on (I doubt she's watching it). Once she was sleeping in the chair by where the aides' office is, once sleeping on the couch in the "library" which is at the end of the hall where her apartment is.
I'm not sure if this newfound "mobility" is of her own making or if it is because I think that at mealtime they lock all the doors so that the residents can't get into their apartments, presumably to force them to be more social with everyone else (though to look at the common room and see them all staring off into space, I'm not sure if that is what it does!)
However, in all these months I have never NOT been able to find her.
I arrived the other day and went into her room and she was not there. I checked everywhere and she was not to be found. This is a locked facility, so I knew she hadn't left the place, but where was she?
One of the aides told me that she has started going into other apartments. I'm not sure if it's to see other people, or because she can't find her own apartment any more. The aide started checking every apartment and finally found her in the apartment the farthest from her own. I am remember her former roommate, Marge (who has since been moved to a place closer to her own kids), who used to wander into my mother's apartment and stand there looking kind of lost, then start to talk in nonsensical sentences before she left, or before we escorted her out.
Anyway, all was well. She was found. She came in and sat on a very uncomfortable folding metal chair and couldn't understand it when I suggested she move to the more comfortable chair where she usually sat. It did not compute for her.
I had brought the memory book I had made for her and she looked through it, but couldn't recognize most of the people in it (including her mother and brothers), but was slightly more interested in the book I had made years ago when we visited the ranch in Valley Springs where she spent her earliest years. The books are mainly for Alix, her Alzheimer's buddy, who is on spring break right now but who will be back eventually and asked for old scrapbooks she could look through with my mother.
She looked through the Valley Springs book twice, then put it down and said she was going to lie down because her "front" hurt. She got onto her bed and after a couple of minutes, got up and left the apartment. I assumed she was going to go to the bathroom, but she opened the front door instead. I figured she would turn around and come back, but she didn't and when I went out the front door after her, she had disappeared. I don't know where she was because she wasn't in the usual places again. I guess she was "visiting" again. A new wrinkle. I came on home.
Today I received the following text message from Jeri, who is now at Tom's house.
Her next text message told me that the "sorry" message had been written by Brianna. I guess they are having fun with technology.