Wandering Oaks . . .


About three weeks after Christmas on January 16th, 2000, you came down with a cough & cold. A drug interaction between the Xanax you were on & the cough medicine you were started on, led to several trips to the doctor, then the emergency room & finally admission to the hospital. Your mentation & level of functioning really diminished during the hospitalization. The Case Manager at the hospital & the admitting Doctor recommended that you be placed in a facility that was better able to cope with your current mental status. After considering several suggestions made by the Case Manager, I called a facility I heard about from an aide at Oak Park, Gerri Ellis, who had trained there. She was so impressed by how happy the residents were & their extensive use of music for different activities. Based on what she said, I decided to move you to: Wandering Oaks in Leesburg, Florida

Wandering Oaks' philosophy of care:

• to specialize in residents with dementia
• to provide care 24hours a day/ 7 days a week
• to prohibit the use of diapers
• to prohibit the use of physical & chemical restraints
• to provide all personal items & clothing
• to serve family style meals with real potatoes & home-made bread
• to use music therapy extensively &
• to use validation therapy instead of reality orientation

All of these & so much more.....almost too good to be true! Hopefully, you will regain your previous level of functioning & find happiness in your "new home".

The owner & administrator came to the hospital to interview us. They said they would accept you as a resident & would pick you up the next day for transfer to their facility. They felt it best for me not to be there so that you would not associate me with the transfer. They recommended I wait at least a week to visit so that you would have a chance to settle in.


Went to see you at Wandering Oaks for the first time and cried all the way home! Click on the button below to find out "why".

Why I cried !!
Don't worry if don't feel like reading all the dialogue
but please look at the pictures so you'll know what I mean!

Went to see Mom for the first time at Wandering Oaks today. As soon as I pulled up in front of the facility, I was shocked. Nothing like Oak Park that's for sure. The first things I noticed were a garage door & a storefront with a Wandering Oaks sign in the window. I knew I was at the right place & if first impressions are important, then all I could think of was: "how I was going to get her out of there".

She was out in their secured backyard by herself. No wig/no dentures. She had on a pink sweatsuit that looked nice. The facility, though, is what I call "A DUMP". Everything is Salvation Army or worse. All I could think of was: "Oh my God, what did I do to her?"

One bright spot...she's a chatty Kathy now. Apparently, no chemical restraints is allowing her own personality to resurface. It was so wonderful to have her talking even though a good deal of it didn't make any sense. Irregardless of the "bright spot", I CRIED ALL THE WAY HOME.

Dad went with me to visit Mom today. He agreed that the place was pretty shabby so I was glad to hear that I had not exaggerated & was correct in my assessment. Still no wig or dentures. I don't think they even realized that she normally wore a wig & had dentures. Let me modify that. Tamika did but Kathy, the caregiver, didn't.

Took pictures with the digital camera and then sat at a picnic table in the back yard with Mom.

~ Pictures of Mom at Wandering Oaks ~
Click HERE to see them.


Dad agreed that I needed to find another facility so we stopped at Claire Bridge Cottage on the way home. They have rooms available & are willing to admit her.

I called Carol about conditions at Wandering Oaks & need to move her to a different facility. She agreed that was "no place for Mom" & wasn't surprised. Said: "it seemed too good to be true." I plan to call Yvonne (an RN and the owner of Wandering Oaks) today to inform her of my plan to move Mom.

Called Wandering Oaks today. Yvonne is at a conference & will call me back. Talked to Tamika for a while & shared my thoughts about the condition of the facility & possible move for Mom. She was very gracious about my concerns & assured me they were making every effort to get Mom reaccustomed to wearing her dentures.

Yvonne called from her conference today. She was very understanding about my feelings & said: "we're not pretty, but we're functional". We are the only facility in the nation that doesn't use chemical or physical restraints. She feels that if I was to move Mom again at this point, I would push her into the next stage". She promised we would talk further when she returned.

Visited Waterman Village Alzheimer's Unit. Very expensive but they do accept Medicaid once personal funds are exhausted.
Visited Mom after Waterman's & took her Memory Journal with me. She was able to read from the Journal today which really surprised me. She was never able to read it before. Another positive change.

Visited Mom for 15 minutes & then spent another hour with Yvonne talking about my concerns. Why am I causing myself so much grief? So many changes that I need to accept.

I think I finally realized why I feel so bad.....not to excuse my actions & feelings....just an attempt to understand.....dealing with major changes in several areas

• the change in Mom's appearance - no wig & no teeth
• the change in Mom's environment - not a pretty place
• the change in our routine - no Mass or dinner on Sunday's
• the change in my hands-on care for Mom

All of it just knocked me for a loop!

Visited Mom. She had her wig on & dentures in. She looked so much better! What a difference! Christy showed me their Activity Room. They have lots of stuff to do. New furniture is ordered for the porch. I think I'm feeling better.

Visited Mom without calling first. She had her wig on & dentures in so I guess she's wearing them routinely now. She was happy & talkative. New wicker furniture is in the sunroom. It looks nice. Mom is doing well & I'm feeling better.

I'm feeling better & Mom is doing well so I guess I'll table any thoughts of moving her. Hope this is the right decision!

May 31st, 2000
Mom's 89th Birthday !!
Click HERE to see them.


NEXT . . . Home Again . . .