It was 4:00 in the morning, when my mother was awakened by an intruder in her assisted living bedroom. It was pitch dark, and the man was in a wheel chair, ramming into everything and scaring my 97-year-old mother to death. How did you get in here, she yelled, as she struggled out of bed. Get out of here! He did leave, but Mom was so shaken that she needed medication to get calmed down and back to sleep. Youd think that when youre paying over $5,000 a month for assisted living, you shouldnt have to worry about something like this. When I went over there later that day, it was confirmed that this did indeed happen. It was not a bad dream, as I had hoped. According to the housekeeping staff, the answer to my question, How could this happen? was that apparently, the door to her apartment wasnt locked. The more important question is, What is going to be done to keep this from happening again? Then theres the whole issue of why this man was wandering around at 4:00 in the morning. Obviously, he was a resident and had become disoriented, but why didnt anybody notice him?
Being 97 with vision loss, hearing loss, constant pain, and loneliness is enough without having to worry about being safe from intruders. Most of the time, Mother is well cared for, but an incident like this is hard to forgive and certainly hard to forget.
After speaking with someone in charge, I learned that she had not been informed about this. Of course not. Communication in this place is one of their many weaknesses. I was told that precautions would be taken to make sure Moms door is always locked. This is just another example of why anyone in a nursing facility, whether it is a hospital or a nursing home, needs an advocate.