I came to Minneapolis to assist my parents after my father’s ankle surgery. But when I leave on Saturday, my mother will be living in an Assisted Living Home.
This was NOT the plan.
The plan was to help my parents, get my mom set up on a ride service to and from her Senior Day Care and then visit a couple of residential facilities to get a visual for down the road. My sister, brother and I were thinking this coming autumn would be the time to get serious about what’s next for mom — and so I was exploring options. This was a covert operation. I didn’t want my dad to know while he was dealing with pain and recovery. Besides, he always says, “next spring,” or “next summer”, so I didn’t want to bring it up.
But one day, after visiting a Residential Home (that I fell in love with on the spot), mom and I were late getting home and my dad asked where we had been. I told him about our visit and that I was just looking. He started asking questions and became real interested. The next day, on my way to Day Care, I asked my dad if he had any questions for them about the ride service being set up. He said no, but to ask about “that place” I was talking about to see if they knew anything about it. Interesting . . . .
So I did, and they gave me a big thumbs up. I went home and told my dad and he said “I wonder how soon we can get her in there?” I said “probably this week dad because they have an opening.” He said, “then what are we waiting for? Let’s do it while you’re here.”
And that was it.
My mom is leaving her home of 47 years and moving into her new home today.
While it seems sudden, it really isn’t. The timing is perfect.
The timing is perfect because it’s what my father wants. Being a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s is one of the hardest jobs there is. So when he said NOW, I had to listen. Plus, I don’t want my dad caring for my mom when he’s ready to be done. He’s been doing it for 7 years. And done is done. And I don’t want my mom’s caregiver to be “done” when she deserves the best care she can get from someone who isn’t done. Understand?
My mom’s new home is a regular house in a neighborhood. She’ll be living with 6 other women plus caregivers and two cats. She will have a bigger social life, plenty of activities and will be well cared for. I love this place and I trust them. I can’t explain it — it just feels right.
A few nights ago my dad was getting up out of his chair to go to bed and my mom asked “Oh, are we going home now?” And last night my mom asked me something similar — “are we leaving now?” It’s clear she doesn’t realize she is in HER HOME.
This is hard and sad, but it’s the right thing to do.
My mom will be okay. She’ll be okay. Yes, I’m still in shock.