Well hard to believe, but Ray's aide Pat, our angel from heaven, is gone for good.....at least officially, she did call when the blizzard was just starting from the local supermarket in case we needed anything. She took such good care of us, was like family really. Meanwhile, Dominican Sisters have no other aides available (we're talking a month now) and according to their social worker and nurse (who keep coming anyway of course), everything is changing in NY State since Jan 1 as far as in-home agencies. NOBODY knows what will happen in the near future. They are being forced to conglomerate into one big cartel or whatever they want to call it; Pat got caught up in that duststorm and decided to seek greener pastures, she saw the writing on the wall.
Meanwhile, I was scheduled for a visit with a different social worker at the psychiatrist office a couple of weeks ago. I found out why they wanted me to read The 36 Hour Day, because that book really pushes day care for the caregivers sake, to get some relief so as not break down themselves. Having strangers in my home constantly was not as wonderful as I imagined it would be either. It was way too undependable to schedule all those lunches with old friends I envisioned, so all I would do was go browsing at the stores and buy way more impulse stuff than I would if Ray was with me. The social worker hooked me in by mentioning the nicest SNF on the East End; I know it as the place everyone wants to place their parents when the time comes. They just started a day care service, actually they call it a Day Health Service, that sounds so much better than the town senior centers. Of course there will be nurses on hand, and all of Ray's therapies available, lunch every day and they have their own private bus to come pick people up. Lots of activies each hour, although that's not necessarily Ray's thing. I see bowling, golf and badminton, but don't think he would be able to do that. Maybe Bingo or cards, music, they have a lot of that too. He has become a bit more sociable since the stroke, but still picky on who he hangs out with. They acted like I would sign him up five days a week off the bat, but no way would I do more than one or two to start, this is really scary. I mean it's not just a town center, but a nursing home. I feel like I'm abandoning him, even though he gets to come home at 5. But that was one of the main points in the book, how it just has to be and knowing that I would feel that way.
I wouldn't be considering this at all except that my unemployment ran out the beginning of the month, and although I'm willing to live as cheaply as possible, that still may not cover all the bills over the long term. I have a job I could start anytime, it pays very well for five hour shifts but it's on the weekend; and the day care centers, and even the in-homes aides for the most part, just don't do weekends. My biggest fear is accepting a job and then not being able to do my shift due to no one to stay with Ray. I could start early social security in three years, but that's a long ways off right now!
I looked into getting paid for being a caregiver, since that too was mentioned in the book as a possibility in some states. The doctor's social worker said yes, you just have to get certified as a CNA, but the other social worker called DSS and they said that was true UNLESS you are a spouse or parent. Darn.
I'm stalling a little, so far made an appointment March 8 to tour the facility. Told the in-homes what I'm thinking and they sort of encouraged me to try it, since they can't guarantee when or even if I will get another aide at all, not to mention someone I like and trust. Oh well, Ray is calling, time to get back to work!