When I went to get Mom to take her to church, the staff of Ocean View Assisted Living reported that she had been agitated in the night.
I went to the log and read the following entry:
Evelyn alarm came off @ 2 am. I went to her room to discovered that she was at the edge of her bed. She claimed franicly that her brother just died in a fire. She had a night terror and tought it was real. She didn't want to go back to bed until she had her bra and stockings on. Stanley redirected her autention. Offer her something to drink. She refused. --Sarneva
"I'm sorry, this was all my fault," I told the staff. "I told her yesterday that her cousin had died, and she remembered that her brother died two years ago. Now she's all mixed up."
"Mom, did you have a bad dream last night?" I asked her.
"I was just getting my underclothes on," she answered serenely.
We went to church, and I brought her back to her residence by 2 pm.
I went home, but at 2:30 I got a call from her private caregiver, Racquel, who had arrived for her 2 pm to 10 pm shift.
"She's agitated. Okay, Anne, you will come."
"Wait a minute. What is she doing? I was just with her and she was fine. We went to church."
"She's crying... she says her brother died."
"Let me talk with her. Mom, how are you?"
"I'm just so sad because Reynold died."
"Yes, Reynold died two years ago. You miss him, don't you?"
"Yes, he was a good big brother."
"Racquel would like to take you out to the drug store. Could you go out with her and maybe get an ice cream?"
"I don't want any ice cream, but I can go out if you want me to."
"That would be good... you need to get out in the sunshine and not worry about Reynold. He's fine now."
"All right, I'll go out."
I talked with Racquel and explained that I had just been with Mom for five hours. I was not going to come back to deal with this problem, but I wanted her to take Mom out in the wheelchair for fresh air.
Crisis averted again--but from now on I will not tell Mom when anyone dies. It is too hard for her, too confusing.