Everybody into the Pool

 

Every Thursday morning I take the day off work to accompany and drive my mom to the local pool for an aqua-fit class tailored to those with limited motion and arthritis. There is a good turn out for this, filling one end of the pool with seniors and a few nearly seniors. The class is led by a young Mexican woman who is affectionately called the Mexican Bandit- she exudes explosive upbeat energy, comic antics, and genuine interest and joy in her bobbing charges strewn before her like so many seal pups in the water.  She gets applause at the end of her classes.

I am there not so much to exercise but to encourage and support my mom and guard her from turning turtle should her feet lose their footing and float up, thus disrupting the fine equilibrium she attempts to maintain between her upper and lower half while following our leader pool side. She’s cursed as a high floater. We’re going to try 2 pound weights on her feet this week to see if that will keep her grounded.

For the most part my mother is just cracking up with laughter. But she’s moving in the water causing the necessary gentle resistance needed to work her muscles, so that’s all good. But side by side we do our best to execute the movements, I coach mom and keep one arm just behind her.

The music is playing with the “Oldies”, giving our movements rhythm to follow, and I smile while listening to many of them sing along- “Love and marriage, love and marriage they go together like a horse and carriage-” That’s so cute, I think to myself and kind of inwardly roll my eyes.

Until Rocky Mountain High by John Denver cues up next. Now who’s singing in the pool?

Peter is a good friend of my moms at a sprightly 81 years of age and comes to this class twice a week (he’s one of the pool singers) and if one would need proof that the exuberance and delight of a boy could still persist in the mind and soul of octogenarian man well, here’s your proof. Like when the Bandit brings out the Noodles Pete’s face lights up and he excitedly says to us, “These are my favorite!” and pushes his way through the water to the pool side to collect three of them and pushes his way back giving mom and me each a pink one of course, the blue one for him. These are for the leg exercises and stronger resistance exercises, but what tends to happen is reclining back and talking with the person who happens to be floating next to you, or in the case of us three, general hilarity.

It’s not how well my mom does the exercises, it’s that she’s up and out of her house, in the pool, moving her parts around, and sharing with others and laughing. That’s a wholesome prescription that really benefits.

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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…