An extraordinary event took place yesterday at my mom’s assisted-living facility.
The FBI arrived at 6 a.m. and took control of the house. With them was a small army of the Dept. of Social Services and the county Ombudsman service.
The owners of the house, and three others like it, were arrested and charged with trafficking in human beings—basically Filippino house aides working as slave labor.
I got a call around 9 a.m. which alerted me to the situation. Mom was safe and a caregiver was on site. It was unknown if the house would remain open. For now all was well (!)
I immediately started making calls to track down the county ombudsman service and get more information. Nothing more could be told to me. They would contact me in the afternoon. A “placement” person would be seeing what she could put together for Mom, if it developed that she would have to leave the house.
At 2 p.m. I got home from an AA meeting to find a message on my house phone from the FBI, that the house was being closed immediately and my mother and the other residents needed to be moved out just as immediately.
The ombudsman gave me a very short list of facilities reputable enough to take my severely demented mother. None of them was willing to take her immediately. None of them was in my town. All of them were large facilities with high prices, protocol that required assessments of the client, multiple forms completed by a doctor, and no sooner openings than perhaps the next day, which is today, if they indeed chose to accept her.
The price quotes they gave me were $5,800 to $6,800 per month. In my town, an assisted-living facility charges between $2,700 and $3,500. In my town, assisted-living facilities licensed to care for dementia patients are in critically short supply.
When I got over to Mom’s house after exhausting all avenues for assistance that night, the kind FBI folks told me my mother was a sweetheart, she had been interviewed, and now it was my turn. I told what I know of the way the house was run, and I asked what they proposed to do about my mother.
They looked at me blankly. She was not their responsibility. Their concern was the house aides in a form of indentured labor. Someone from the FBI’s “Victim Assistance” office was there, but she could not assist, because her area of concern was the house aides of the other three homes, which also had to be shut down. No one in official capacity was interested in what became of the residents.
The Ombudsman said there was simply nothing that could be done for my mom. One of the other houseguests had found the last room at a facility 30 miles away. The other one had relatively no dementia and found a home in our town with another board and care home. Mom was on her own, because her level of dementia is technically “advanced” and it requires higher level of care.
So, praying like a mad dog, I took my moms things and put what I could into my car. Then I got Mom in the car and tried to explain to her what had happened. She couldn’t comprehend. I got her home, got her night-time meds into her, put her to bed.
Mom is a lost little girl who doesn’t speak grown-up language. She has nightly roaming problems, staying up and wandering in the dead of night, sometimes shouting at people.
She no longer understands her bathroom functions and uses whatever surface that is easily found…such as the floor, a chair, a hope chest….
So I’m trying to practice the tools I’ve learned in AA: Just keep doing the next right indicated thing. I have a small plan for tomorrow, running Mom hither and yon to meet with new facilities, go by the Doctor’s office, see about the requisite new paperwork, and see what unfolds. I’m pretty powerless and very confused.
But I know God knows and He is in charge, and I need only wait on his direction, keep taking the next indicated step. God has a place for my mom. Please join me, those of you who pray, and let us ask the Lord together, to be merciful to Mom. To guide us clearly in the way we should go. Mom has been asking God for a long time just to take her home to heaven. We join her in those prayers. We also ask that she receive good quality of life in whatever time remains for her.
Please remember us in the next few crazy days. Thank you!
She was understandably distressed and confused. I helped her sit on the floor, wrapped in a blanket. Having no other bed, I laid a mat of dry towels on the bed, ran and got a pair of the Depends I'd gone out to buy at the late night store after she went to sleep, found some sweat clothes of mine (too big), and came back to the guest room. There she sat like a confused little girl.
I helped her to pull on her first pair of adult diapers (no fuss from her, as there had been at the house), got her dressed. Laid down another mat of dry towels on the bed, and she laid back down. Found dry blankets to cover her with. I rubbed her bony skull and forehead, and talked to her a bit. She found my warm hands welcome, and she drifted off to sleep.
My hubby dear stood by helplessly. Shouldn't we strip the bed and wash the sheets? He wondered. It quite mattered to him that the bed would be soaked. I said Eff that, she wants to go back to sleep. She was dry enough, and if the mattress got soaked, so be it.
I feel triumphant that she consented to wear her first Depends. This is going to be one hell of an interesting day.
Maybe with some luck and cooperation, I can give her a little bed bath before we head out to see what the day brings.
Keep first things first. Going now to have a little quiet time with God....