Only two things in my life have terrified me. The first was laying my husband of 33 years to rest after watching him suffer dreadfully from cancer of the appendix. I can at least take some comfort in the fact that I know he is at peace. The second thing was having to place my mother in a long-term care community.
You might be surprised and be asking yourself, “Why was she terrified? She does that sort of work as a beloved Calling and for a living!” My reply to such a reasonable question is this: As a highly trained and experienced professional, I have absolutely no problem dealing with my clients’ parents or loved ones. But when it comes to one’s own mother, the process takes on an added dimension that is – as you can imagine – very personal and emotional.
My mother is 95 years old and has lived on her own up until this point. Our family was fortunate enough that one of my siblings took on the role of companion and “go to” person for her. But my mother suffers from a rare blood disorder, severe arthritis, and heart issues, to name but a few. She has been prescribed 17 different medications, none of which she was taking correctly. She was not eating properly and had fallen on several occasions. She would only accept very minimal help with bathing and dressing.
And last but not least, she informed my siblings and me that she was “Going to leave that condo kicking and screaming.” That’s what I was afraid of. But, my siblings and I agreed that she would need to move.
First, we had to be careful and let her believe it was her own decision to move. My brothers and I decided that it would be best to let them drop hints to her in small bites. I was careful to let them do the “hint dropping,” as she is fully aware of the work I do for a living.
One day out of the blue, she asked me which senior living communities in the area did I like. I immediately told her where I felt would be a good fit for her needs and finances, and a convenient location for us to visit. Ironically, the place I suggested was the same community where my father had lived after suffering a stroke. It is a wonderful Catholic, not-for-profit community 10 minutes from where we live. We promptly set up a tour within the next 2 days. My brothers continued to persuade Mother with reasons as to why she needed to move over the next 2 weeks. And it worked.
The move itself did not start out well. My Mother fell while trying to pick something up off the floor, and she ended up throwing up her breakfast. She claimed that I was making her nervous by pacing too much. I admit that I probably was more concerned over the success of the move than she was, knowing how she had always said she would only leave her condominium “kicking and screaming.” Also, she had told me directly, and I had overheard her say to the maintenance man, how she wanted to keep her condo and return to it if she did not like the new community. Oy ve!
Upon her arrival at the long-term care community, the staff was very welcoming. Mother’s vitals were immediately taken, and she was escorted to the dining room where she was introduced to her new tablemates. I was relieved when I walked past and saw her socializing. She had been a gourmet cook in her past and she reported that the food was excellent at the new community.
In the past few weeks in her new environment, Mother has been kept very clean and neat. Her medications are being regulated, and she loves the food. Whenever we are visiting, the aides are always in and out on a regular basis, and they are very kind. Mother even attends the various social and other activities, which is something she had sworn she would never do.
This proved to be a smooth transition that every senior living advisor prays for. But, I am afraid the situation was just a little “too close to home” for me. Now that I have walked that path with my mom, however, I am all the more valuable to you. I can truly say “I have been there,” and I understand at every
For all of your senior living needs, contact Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.
Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors
1497 Shire Circle
Inverness, IL 60067