Sophia Mas called from Stewart-Marchman with mom in the room with her on speakerphone, and we conferenced in my sister.

Sophia began the call by saying that it was time for mom to go somewhere else. She said that yesterday she met with a “lady” who was an administrator at Lakewood. Sophia noted that all assisted living centers are “very expensive”.

She said Mom “has stayed here longer than we can help,” and told us that Rodney had reached out to facilities all over Volusia County. Most of the facilities where mom could afford to go are, “in crappy neighborhoods.” Sophia and Rodney are also concerned about how mom is going to be able to pay for her medications.

Sophia told us that Maria was the woman from Lakewood who was “willing” to take mom, but that she needed to know “before the end of the week,” which is pretty short notice since today is Thursday. Apparently room & board at Lakewood runs $3200.00/mo, but they are willing to work with mom via the Council of Aging and Elder Affairs to make it work.

Sophia told us that she added mom to a waiting list for supplemental assistance. 1

Sophia tried to convey to us mom’s level of confusion. She said, for example, that yesterday they had a conversation about putting her dog Mocha and her cat Paprika up for adoption and mom said that might be okay. But then this morning she had no memory of that conversation at all.

She mentioned that we should investigate obtaining Power of Attorney over mom, and then again stressed that Lakewood was “the best we can do” in the area.

Sophia said that mom “appears sleepy” and that she will talk to a doctor about her medications, because I said I seriously think she’s being over-medicated.

At this point we started talking directly to mom, who said (for the millionth time) that she’s really tired. I tried explaining to her that she’d had a stroke. 2 She said, “Okay, let’s go from there.” Then she added, “I don’t like the people who are here.”

Mom said, “I want to get better,” and, “We can’t do this on our own.” It was so, so heartbreaking to hear her say these things.

Sophia gave me the address and URL for Lakewood Retirement Center: 1220 Jimmy Ann Drive and

As an example of how “discombobulated” mom is, Sophia noted that, “she has trouble naming all fifty-one states.” 3

At this point my sister asked how they came up with Lakewood as an option. We didn’t really get a straight answer, but we were told that Rodney would call us and explain. 4

Sophia restated that Maria wanted an answer this week, and that they were feeling pressure from the administration at Stewart-Marchman to get mom discharged. Most residents only stay there for three or four days, and five or six days is considered an extended stay. 5

Sophia noted that they are not doing anything therapeutic for mom. (She is just “there”. They are not doing anything at all to help her “get better”.)

We learned that Dr. Caliendo had been on vacation for at least the last week, which is why we hadn’t heard from him in so long, but that he was returning today.

Sophia said that mom is “too tired”. She also said that the cards and letters I’ve been sending every day are very stimulating and that that was a good idea I had had, even though it seems like mom can no longer read at all.

That was the end of our conference call.

Immediately I called my sister and just the two of us talked for another half-hour. She told me that mom is receiving $1100.00/mo, which is the maximum amount she can get from Social Security because she is not yet 65 years old.
She said that mom had about $10,000.00 in a State of Florida pension fund from the time she spent working for Americorps. She also suggested that I look at Emeritus, which is on Dunlawton in Port Orange.

1 On January 19, 2012 I received an email from Sophia Mas in which she explained that she had not actually added mom to a waiting list for supplemental assistance.
2 This was, of course, long before we learned that mom did not have a stroke at all. I can’t imagine the psychological damage this misdiagnosis has done to her over the last nine months.
3 The fact that there are only fifty states says more about Sophia Mas than it does about Kathleen Gagne, I think.
4 He never did, of course.
5 At this point mom had been there over a month.