New Digs

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Making the decision on behalf of another that will directly affect them is not easy. This is an intersection I and my siblings have approached last year (and the year before) when we thought we had better initiate the call of finding a place for our mom to move into that would put her in closer proximity to us and where she can continue receiving care. Now it is come down to definite action. 

So. Here we are – two weeks after I initially began writing this post- and I’m very happy, and relieved, to say my mom has moved!

She is in a fantastic Assisted Living facility with her own private apartment with a patio, with the added advantage that she is also two blocks from my sister and her husband.

We had looked at Assisted Living Private Care versus Government Subsidized, we crunched numbers to a pulp to ensure that her finances would be sufficient to go with Private Care for the time being because this option would give her a one bedroom, one bathroom suite with kitchenette rather than the fully subsidized suite option of a studio suite- which is just a room with a bed and a bathroom.

We asked questions about enlisting a care aide to escort mom to and from the dining room due to her onset of dementia, and an aide to assist her in her morning and evening care and with her bathing -yes, yes, all her personal care can be arranged through the Health Authority Subsidy with that cost at $21.a day.

So this means mom pays a full rent for her own suite that includes all utilities and great meals in the dining room augmented with Government Subsidized Care for her personal needs.

– insert a sigh here –

We began all this in early February and this last two weeks has been nothing short of hectic and emotionally draining, which is why I haven’t had the gumption or time to write a post. Until 4:30 this morning.

Now it’s 6 am and feeling like I could sleep a bit, do I crawl back to bed for another hour or so? There is still so much to do in the next two weeks to prepare the townhome for listing, garage sales, to settle mom in and help her get accustomed to the new surroundings-will my mind be quite enough for me to sleep?

But my husband has come downstairs and begins to make coffee, and the birds are up too, singing to a rising sun~

If we were having coffee (#Weekend Coffee Share)

If we were having coffee you too would have stopped mid-sip and we would lock eyes because we just heard that today is National Sword Swallowing Day as was just announced on the CBC radio program I am listening to this morning.

Apparently it’s a tradition on the wane.

Well, who knew.

So anyway, today I will be jumping in my boat and heading to town soon to my mom’s place up island. She will be meeting with the people who will be moving her to her new sweet suite in the next few days. Can I get a Hallelujah?

This service is supplied by the Assisted Living Village and once the move date is set the action begins. They pack and unpack, AND hang all art work etc. all in one day- and that is fantastic.

The move is a big transition for all concerned, of course, but will have so many benefits for all concerned too, finally having her in our neck of the woods. No more long drives up and back.

Mom and Bob 2016

Seems many my age have stories of “moving a parent.” I see and hear them everywhere. Stands to reason, there are sooo many Boomers out there doing exactly what I’m doing right at this time too.  A zeitgeist perhaps?

It’s the opposite end of the spectrum of a young parent meeting other young parents with small children. Kind of. You share experiences good and bad and talk of challenges rife with concerns, worries, and conflicts.

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SO I’ll let you go cause it is the weekend and I know you have a lot to do, getting outside to make the most of this (almost) spring day. Here on the West coast we have some sun and the birds have come back from winter, a welcome sound!

Enjoy your day~ 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

The big 9-0

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Well,  that’s a milestone.

A life that has witnessed the horse and buggy to iPhones.

The gathering of the clan, 34 of us, took place on the 13th at my mothers house without a hitch; consisting of her children (4) and the 3 spouses, 5 family friends and filling out the rest were her Grandchildren, and Great-grandchildren. There were 7 other Grandchildren and 9 Great grandchildren and 1 Great-Great Grand child that couldn’t attend.

That’s a hill of beans.

All the little ones managed to avoid toppling the glass coffee table, but there were a few times when a loud bang was heard and every adult stopped mid-conversation to suddenly turn to look and listen for a screaming cry expecting a bruised forehead or worse, but no, just a knee bumped against the glass from jumping too close to the table. They played happily together, these cousins, some who have never met until that day. No tears or tantrums erupted.

It was a good day. A reunion.

I spent the night at her house that night, giving my sister and brother-in-law a night off from staying to help her to bed before driving home, and because of not wanting her to be alone after such a happy houseful all afternoon.

When we had settled down to a TV program after supper she began to confess to me that all the while during her party she thought she was at someone else’s house, that she didn’t recognize where she was. And that she thought we were celebrating Christmas. “That was my Birthday?”  I consoled her by saying that with all the people in the house and the dining room chairs not sitting in the usual spots may have caused a bit of confusion and that it was a busy day and perhaps she was tired. That she’d feel less fuzzy in the morning. She asked “why does my brain do this? I must be losing my mind.” And said that it was very strange.

During the party she was happy and engaged so I was surprised when she said this to me later. She enjoyed the day. But then I remembered when we brought the cake out, sang, and waited for her to blow out the candles she didn’t and had to be encouraged by her friend Peter and by us singing out ” And she huffed and she puffed and she blew…!” twice.

I was concerned a little that she may have difficulty sleeping worrying about her slipping memory, but she slept sound.

The next morning she remembered the “Epic Day”, she read through her birthday cards, we counted all the people that had filled the room, and talked about the children. She was bright and happy and said, “Bless your hearts, all of you, and thank you for that wonderful day.”

 

 

 

Days gone by

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To briefly catch up, I have been busy with my weekly Spanish class which has proven to be a fun and supportive gathering of neighbours as we learn to grasp the language through role play and songs, and I’ve been sitting in on her small intermediate class held later on the same day which helps me in listening comprehension, lots of laughs too- Wednesdays are mi dia de Espanol! Last class is tomorrow.

I was called back to work for two weeks (I opted to remain on the casual list) where it was good to be around my co-workers again, although my reason for being there was on a tragic note, filling in for a good friend and colleague who had lost her 21 year old nephew by suicide. He was like a son to her. Then attending the celebration of life, so many came in support, heart wrenching.

I cleaned out the shed (that was a job, take my word) and on a gorgeous crisp/clear Saturday did a backyard clean up and burn- I love a good bonfire. Primal.

The studio space I am planning is beginning to take form and look forward to start working in the new year.

I’ve also been doing some Holiday baking, something I haven’t had much time for over the last few years, and my moms 90th is next weekend so there is the organizing taking place at the moment. And as for my mom, my visits are steady throughout the week taking her out for walks on the boardwalk on the beach when the weather suits, for appointments,  just being with her.

The featured image at the top of my post is my Garden Angel, I felt she encompasses this post in a way; the approaching Soltice, the grace I feel she expresses when I think of my friends nephew, and my mom’s common response of “Bless your heart” to us or anyway who does a kindness for her.

Found her many years ago in a second hand store and paid $7.00. She has been watching over my growing things ever since.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Turn

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It is a paradigm shift in the life of the grown children of a living elderly parent, at some point tables are turned and the child becomes the nurturer and the parent the child.

And I don’t mean this in a condescending way; it’s a role that has slowly, gently segued into play. A role that is quietly acknowledged by both.

So far the  dementia my mother has is not yet too threatening as to her being left on her own for periods of time; she has mostly good days but, as my siblings and I are now noting, these are beginning to slip under an opaque layer of confusion, tipping the balance. Still, she can laugh at her short memory and never worries about tomorrow. She is graced with a bright optimism that is ageless.

My sister and I we are a team. She is an exemplary sister, a good daughter, and I’m thankful she is here, it’s a lot to handle alone, physically and emotionally. Because of the nurse that comes one hour each morning to assist with the morning things, giving  medications, helping with bathing and dressing, fixing a breakfast and ensuring she is all right, we can feel secure in knowing someone is there, because we can’t be.  We are there the rest of the time doing everything we can do to help her remain in her own home happy and comfortable.

My sister and her husband, being 15 minutes away have begun to go to her house in the evening after work to assist her with getting ready for bed, calling first and asking if she wants her to come up and sometimes mom will reply that she’s fine, she’ll be all right. Other times she say’s ‘ Well, it would be good if you did’. I go up every other day – I’m kind of the activity committee, we go down to the boardwalk along the beach for walks, sometimes for lunch; well actually a lot of the time, and general out and about. Some times I’ll stay the night.

Our brother comes when he can, but he has some health issues and needs to take care of himself first. Her good friend Peter comes every other evening to join her for dinner, and there are the folks from her church that stop by every so often and a couple of neighbors that do so as well. And the fact that she lives on a gated, quiet single street is one less concern when she ventures outside with her walker.

It’s a challenging time, but our hearts are full and in the right place I believe. It’s where we want to be, it’s the least we can do, it’s the most we can do.

 

 

Comings and Goings

So it’s been working out well, this split world I’m presently straddling between my Island home and Parksville. I go “Home” on Friday after work and come back to my Vinyl Cabin Monday after work to spend the week. Dropping by my mother’s for a few hours, seeing how she is, taking her for a walk, taking her swimming for Aqua Fit for seniors every Thursday morning, (I take that day off since my work week is four days on -three off, I can switch out the Thursday and work the Friday), which she is really enjoying. I think we spend more time laughing and floating around while trying to keep up to the instructor. But any movement is good movement!

Most times her good friend Peter meets us there.

My time at home is full too, not wanting to forget I have a man there that needs reacquainting with.

And yet.

I think I may need to come up with a better solution here. Come March I won’t be renting up here as the rent fees go up enormously for the High seasons, but I’ll still be driving up and back nearly each day all throughout the summer when I’m laid off- and Winter will again be around the corner. What will I do then?

Normally I don’t like to think hypothetically, not to cast too far into the future with what ifs. I usually take things as they come, and this tactic has worked for me for the most part. For the other part I would’ve wished I had better planning skills.

It may be that my mom’s condition or situation will change by this time next year, but if it doesn’t and she still remains in her own home will I again look for rentals?

Over the last 10 months we’ve had an RN that comes every morning to assist her with getting up and dressed, to give her a smoothie (banana, strawberries, yogurt, protein powder, and almond milk), and to administer her meds. Twice a week the nurse helps with her bath.

With that, we her children, can feel secure knowing someone is there with her first thing in the morning when she’s the wobbliest, and shakiest. The rest of the day she’s pretty good, other than the fact she’s by herself in a gated community.

It’s up to us to keep too much solitude at bay, to get her out exercising, socializing, engaged, and she needs to be assisted with all of this. She uses a walker, a cane for short distance, and she has  onset of dementia.

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And she’s such easy company, bright outlook, and up for almost anything I throw her way.

The fact is the majority of my life is up here and will be until her situation changes, even if or when she moves into a Full Care Facility, it will likely be up here too. The Care Homes in my town I wouldn’t want to see her in- except for one, but the wait list is years.

How do I….bring it all together into a seamless flow?

Or is this something I’ll just need to continue to juggle?

Thoughts of buying and moving here are swimming around my mind…

 

 

 

 

Winter Roost

I have found a home away from home for the next four months. It’s perfectly suited to me; sitting so near the ocean, so great when the weather turns turbulent. So near to where I need to be, five minutes from my mother’s house.

Everything is temporary.

I will return to my little island each weekend, happily, to be in my own home, cooking good food, sitting by the fireplace with my husband, walking to visit friends. Recharging.

Then back. Two refuges.