My mother was a resident in the Reflections wing (hospice) of Dove Healthcare West for six months during 2016. As my mother’s health declined she was unable to do many of the things at home that she used to do, and not being able to do those things was a constant reminder for her of the losses she was experiencing in her decline.
When it became apparent Mom could no longer live at home, and we were unable to continue caring for her, we made that difficult decision to move her to Dove. At the time I don’t think any of us (including Mom) realized how the move would actually improve her quality of life to the degree it did.
At Dove, the focus was on what she COULD do. The nurses checked her oxygen tanks and monitored her medications so we didn't have to worry if she had taken the right pill at the right time. Her room was cleaned for her, her laundry was done for her, she got her hair done weekly and enjoyed whirlpool baths. She loved that someone else did the cooking now. (Many people like to complain about institutional food, but both I and my mother thought that Dove made a special effort to provide a varied menu and she had no complaints, ever.) Dove had activities when she felt like socializing and when she didn’t, that was okay with them too. In her room in the Refections wing we were allowed to hang pictures and bring in many personal items from home to make her new room feel more comfortable. Being surrounded by her things helped Mom to adjust and I appreciated that Dove encouraged us to do this. Because she was now being well cared for by professionals at Dove Mom regained the energy to resume her interests (reading, knitting, puzzles, visiting with and calling her friends) – things that were declining for her while at home due to a lack of energy just trying to get through each day.
I have been so impressed with the attention and care Mom received from all the staff at Dove, (including housekeeping staff, food service, the hair stylist, activities director, as well as her entire care team — to name a few of the many people who assisted her in some way). The nursing staff on the Reflections wing are deeply caring professionals who treated her as their number one priority. Everyone is friendly. I remember on the day Mom was admitted how professional and courteous the staff was to us under what was a very stressful situation for us at the time. They made us feel welcome and that meant a lot.
No one really wants to leave their home and go to a nursing home when the time comes. One day Mom told me she felt safe and content at Dove. During the time we were caregivers for her in her home my time (and other family members' time) was spent seeing to her immediate needs, managing her medications and attending to the routine daily things that happen in a home. There was no quality time to appreciate our last days together as we were constantly worried about her, as well as being tired and stressed. Once she moved to Dove the worry was lifted, we got that precious quality time back and were able to spend time visiting and enjoying every moment we still had together. Mom was happy and that made me, as her daughter, happy too.