Two months ago my sisters visited a memory care facility in our area. They were impressed by many of the qualities and services offered, especially the sensitivity and understanding of the staff. In particulary, my sisters felt that the kinds of people, both staff and residents alike, and the kinds of events and activities available, were all in line with Momma’s interests and temperament. And best of all, they found out that Momma could stay in her own home and simply participate in activities at the facility a few hours each week.
The sisters enthusiastically told me all the details and soon, I too, was swept into the excitement. This seemed to be a perfect solution to all our problems and concerns, including, but not limited to the following:
- The need for a stimulating environment
- The need for a beautiful environment
- Opportunities for Momma to socialize
- Interesting people to give Momma some much needed attention
- Intelligent people to stimulate Momma’s mind
- A way to keep Momma at home while still providing an increase in care
So the next week, both sisters too Momma to the memory care facility for lunch. They ate in a private dining room and met with a couple of case workers. Momma remarked at the end of the day that it had been just wonderful…. What was wonderful, Momma? Being with two of my daughters is just wonderful. Oh! If only they hadn’t taken me to that old people’s place! That was awful. Just awful.
That evening, sister Connie carefully explained to Momma the concept and all the reasoning that we were thinking about going to “that place” twice a week. Momma listened very politely and even seemed agreeable. And then, when the conversation was complete, Momma added a little “by the way”. And she refused.
Absolutely not! I will not go to that place with those people!
The next few days were filled with tears until we all agreed not to talk to Momma about it anymore. With our lips sealed in front of Momma, the three of us girls met to discuss our options, plans, and strategies. The level-headed and logical sister said, “We are going to have to rely on a full-time residential facility before long, you know. It doesn’t make sense to gently ease her into day care and endure all the agony that involves only to turn around and go through it all again when we have to move her out of her home and into full-time care.” The emotionally-connected, people-pleasing sister said, “But she will be so sad! And her wishes… we have to honor her wishes!” The irresponsible baby sister remained silent.
Somehow, time propelled us through action and so for the next week or so, we made phone calls and paid deposits; we moved toward the inevitable: moving Momma into specialized care.
… To be continued …