The best: Cottagewood. According to several social workers from both Mayo Clinic and Olmsted County it was one of the very best memory care facilities in all of southern Minnesota. I believe that is correct.
The worst: based on experiences almost to frequent to keep track Cottagewood is not that good on occasion. They claim to have the most trained staff and appropriate facilities to keep your loved one safe and the residents family involved and informed. The problem is quite common to large bureaucracies of all kinds. Communication fails and lawyer written red tape designed to protect the bureaucracies bottom line or reputation sometimes defies common sense.
Barb had just arrived several days before from Mayo Clinic’s maximum-security psychiatric ward. Two days later I had received early in the morning a phone call from Cottagewood which indicated sometime in the night Barb had fallen and possibly had a broken arm. It was swollen and I needed to drive 30 miles to Rochester and take her to Mayo Clinic’s emergency room for an x-ray. I wasn’t sure as explained in my previous post if she would even be admitted. But more than that should I be the one to drive her there. I told them to call for an ambulance. They refused. I refused to take her myself, pointing out that because of her extreme agitation she well could possibly jump out of the car grabbed the steering wheel begin choking me and we would both be at risk for our very lives. I rushed up to Cottagewood and found that Barb’s arm was swollen but she was not in severe pain. Getting an aide to apply an ice pack, I then demanded to see the chief operating officer. And after much ado an ambulance was finally called and at St. Mary’s emergency room they found that Barb had a fractured arm.
Several weeks later another phone call informed me that my wife had been “assaulted”upon arrival that word was changed to “molested” this was followed some days later when she assaulted a knocked to floor a male resident who was giving her a neck message while she was eating lunch. Apparently she had previsouly be calling hime “Ray” (my name} . The last report was that she hoped in bed with the culprit who nude and presumably assaulted him. All this led to a promise that each one would have a separate aid watching them and keeping them apart. Numerous efforts on that behalf all failed due to lack of communication of the various pertinent protocols among the aides. Then he disappeared for three weeks after I was chastised for threatening him if he ever got within 10 feet of my wife again. Not good the poor fellow has dementia. Then he finally disappeared and reappeared three weeks later now looking and acting somewhat zombie like. More recently when Lily was with me visiting dementia land I still had the unfortunate reaction on my part as he approached me and Barb to inform him that if he approached any closer to my wife my dog “killer”the highly trained German police dog would rip his arm off. My bad again but I have further stories about Cottagewood to add to my future New York times best-selling book Adventures in Dementialand