Na Na pinches her pennies (aka frugal living)

Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.

Money issues – mom first

Nursing homes are notorious for items turning up missing.  Unless there is actual physical abuse the law does not get involved. Missing clothes are not considered abuse.

To deal with her missing clothes I decided I would start doing her laundry myself.  If I’m the one doing the laundry none of her clothes should ever leave her room unless it is me taking them.

I did a bit of shopping then I went back to the nursing home and cleaned out mom’s closet. I checked all the clothes and found several that belonged to someone else. None of those fit mom and should not have been there.  The hangers were terrible.  I removed all the hangers that were bent or broken.

Mom 2015 004

The closets are very tiny.  About one foot wide.  I took all of her clothes home to wash or throw away except for two outfits.  Those two were to hold her until I took the laundry back the next day. The clothes that belonged to someone else was left in a pile with a note for the aide to return them to the rightful owners.

I borrowed money so I could pick up a few things for mom.  I bought two laundry baskets on wheels. One to be there while the other is here.

Cleaning and organizing 2015 082

I bought laundry soap and new hangers.  Oh, and I bought air freshener for the laundry baskets too. Aren’t those cute?  The laundry soap was on sale ninety nine cents if you bought four.  Plus I had four coupons for fifty cents off one bottle.  Making the soap fifty cents each.  Thats cheaper than I can make my own.

Mom 2015 005

I stopped at a thrift store and got lucky.  I found 6 pairs of pants and 6 blouses that I believe will fit her.  Those plus her usable clothes should be enough for her until I can locate more outfits.  A 3x tall size is pretty hard to find these days.

I washed everything of hers that was still usable to remove the stains.  The laundry person at the nursing home doesn’t care about doing a good job.  Stains are not treated.  And clothes are not always returned to the right person.

Mom 2015 012

I will do mom’s laundry once a week.  8 outfits and a sweater are all that should be in her closet from now on.  One for each day of the week and an extra just in case.  I took her a sweater and a lightweight jacket in case she wants to go outside in the courtyard.

All of her extra clothing will be stored here at my house.  I can rotate what is hanging in her closet.  I see her at least three or four times a week and can take her extra clothes if needed.

Mom 2015 006

Ladybug and I visited with mom yesterday morning.  Mom looked so clean and smiled a whole lot.  She also ate all of her food at the breakfast table.  She had almost stopped eating until now.  We stood and watched from the dining room doorway.

Mom thinks I’m her Mama (my Grandma Mama) and that her baby doll is me.  I took the baby doll a few clothes too.  Mom said “Mama you take such good care of me and make pretty clothes for us.”

Ok, that is one issue taken care of.  I’m working on the others and will post about those in a couple of days.

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10 comments on “Money issues – mom first

  1. MsNaUnd
    April 29, 2015

    I am always so impressed by all you have to put up with and with the solutions you find for yourself. Your mum is so lucky to have you. You are a truly creative person, in your quilting art and your lifestyle. You are a great sourcIe of inspiration for me. I wish you all the best. God bless you.

    • Na Na
      May 1, 2015

      Thank you.

  2. Jackie
    April 27, 2015

    Having worked as a Certified Nurse Aide in a nursing home for a number of years, I can understand your frustration with “losing” your mom’s clothes. Our laundry department had a very good and thorough routine in caring for residents’ clothing, but because of the volume of clothing washed it was inevitable some would go missing. It took us as Aides to work with the laundry and families to make sure things got where they belonged. NaNa, I would encourage you to speak to the Social Service Director of your mom’s facility. If nothing else, to have it on record that there is an ongoing problem. It has been my experience that until the families advocated for their loved ones the facility directors would not pay much attention. Remember, you and your mother are their customers. They are just overhead. I know families sometimes would be leery about voicing their concerns for fear of backlash, but only until families speak for their resident’s rights can the system begin to change. In my state, it is a resident’s right to have their personal things with them. No one should be having clothing or anything stolen from them. Stealing is a serious issue.
    I really am not trying to preach. It is so sweet of you to write about how you are caring for your mom! She’s a lucky lady! I wish everybody that I had cared for through the years had had children like you! You’re doing good work!

    • Na Na
      April 27, 2015

      I have talked with the director and the social worker and the aides too. I made suggestions about changes that would drastically cut down on the losses but they are not interested. This is not the first nursing home my mother has been a resident. The last one she was at was farther away and the buses stopped running that route. Anyway, they had a wonderful laundry system. Nothing ever went missing there.

      This place has a very high volume of worker turnover. Its hard to catch a thief if the thief leaves the job. Most of the residents don’t have family to care for them. Those that do have family, everyone is doing the laundry these days. I’m guessing the families have the same thought as me. If I’m doing the laundry, NOTHING should leave her room unless I take it out. They can’t use the excuse of “its in the laundry” because I’m the laundry. If her clothes still turn up missing then it becomes a legal matter for the director to handle.

      • Jackie
        April 27, 2015

        I worked in a really nice facility. It was church run. It wasn’t perfect, but I forget that there are nursing homes that are not as well managed. I was lucky. And yes, work in a nursing home is terrible hard and there are lots of employees who should never walk through the door. I’ve worked with some that had no business taking care of humans. Unfortunately, once they are hired it is difficult to fire them. Anyway, I should’ve realized you would know exactly how to manage your situation. My apologies for sounding bossy. I admire your dedication to your mom.

        • Na Na
          April 28, 2015

          I didn’t read it as bossy. I read it as a person concerned and making suggestions. We never know, someone other than ourselves may have just the right suggestion. The people who own and run this facility live in another state. They have not a clue what goes on there and restrict what changes can be made. I think that’s why the workers don’t seem to care. Because their hands are tied.

  3. boblosan
    April 26, 2015

    I sympathize with you about the nursing home and the clothes. When my mom was in 2 different nursing homes, I did her laundry, too. Nothing beats home done and love. God bless you.

  4. Nathalie
    April 26, 2015

    You got some great deals on the supplies you bought! Your mom, despite her dementia, surely recognized and appreciated what you did for her.

    My sister works in a retirement home in France. Right now she’s going through a horrible ordeal because she is being accused of truly unbelievable misdeeds by interns (who claim patients – some with dementia – accused my sister and 2 of her colleagues. Of course the interns have a vested interest in the accused losing their jobs as it would free up positions that they could applied for!) and she’s fighting like crazy to clear her name and not get laid off. She got 20 affidavits from colleagues refuting the allegations but everything is under investigation under the French system. She’s looking into going to court to file a defamation suit although she really can’t afford a lawyer. Management was able to “suspend” her for 3 months without pay, which she and her family need terribly. The whole situation is a mess. I think that even if she prevails, she’ll try to find another industry to work in because this has left her with depression and lots of health issues. My mom also used to work in a retirement home and I had a summer job in one too when I was a teen. It’s hard work. Sadly, old people are easy prey for uncaring and dishonest staff. I think only the families’ vigilance can help ensure that they’re not victimized.

    Are you able to visit her easily? I mean is the home close to your house? I would imagine it might not be easy to lug a hamper, even with wheels, on a bus?

    • Na Na
      April 27, 2015

      I am able to catch a bus by my house and get off in front of the nursing home. That was the reason for getting laundry baskets on wheels. I have a senior discount card. I go during the times when the buses are pretty empty. I hope things work out for your sister.

  5. sarasinart
    April 26, 2015

    You are such a good daughter. 🙂

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