This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Alice's new home....

This has been a hard year on our family. We found out about two years ago that my dear mother-in-law, Alice, has vascular dementia, and over this past year it has continued to get worse and her health has declined. She has lost her balance and she falls all the time. She is not safe to be by herself. Because of all of her falls, she has hit her head many times, which, personally, I think has caused more brain damage. It is so sad to see.

My father-in-law, Jim, has been her sole caretaker and he is getting very fatigued, and it's affecting his health now too. This has caused stress in their home and sadness too. The family decided, along with Alice too, that it's time for her to go to an assisted living facility. We have talked about having a caregiver come into the home, but sadly, their insurance does not cover this and truthfully, she really does need 24 hour care.

The good news is, Alice has a very good attitude about it and so does Jim. They both realize that this is truly the best answer.
Eric and I went over to the facility to check it out before we made the final decision.
We liked what we saw.
It is a brand new facility and it's beautiful. This is a view of the kitchen and living room.
Here's a sample of an available bedroom, but this will not be Alice's.
We talked for a long time with the manager and we feel really good about all of this. There is one staff member to three residents. There are all kinds of safety features including a pull cord she can pull if she needs help. She will have someone helping her use the restroom, bath, get dressed and of course they will be providing three nutritious meals a day. They also have church services, music, games, special guests, crafts, etc.
The yard is pretty and manicured.
Here's a cute little antique sewing machine on display.
Another view of the living room.
The day we visited the residents were so friendly and they had just finished eating lunch. I thought it was so cute when we walked by them again two of them were all cozy laying in their chairs with blankets on them watching TV. The lady in red is 101 years old!
After we viewed the home we stopped by Jim and Alice's home to tell them that we liked it.
They were entertaining a guest, this is Alice's friend, Dawn. Jim and Alice met Dawn and her husband on a cruise 10 years ago and really hit it off.
They have gotten together many times since then. I thought it was so sweet of Dawn to come and visit Alice. Jim is using Alice's wheelchair as an extra chair.
As I was sitting there I noticed that there was a tray out of cookies and coffee. Even though Alice has declined so much, she still wanted to make her guest feel special.  I know that Alice could not have done that, but she asked Jim to do it, which is so sweet. She is an amazing woman!
It's sad to know that this is real and really happening. She'll be moving to her new home next week.
Well, here we are a week later visiting her and she's all moved in. She moved in yesterday.
Here room is really cute. Her neighbor and friend, Sharon, helped her decorate it.
Alice was in good spirits. We brought her fresh flowers.
We had a great visit. The manager told us that Alice will be going through some tough weeks and she could go into a depression and beg us to take her home. I am praying that she will not feel this way.
I want to visit her often and plan little trips where I can take her to lunch and to the movies. She has been such a great mother-in-law to me and I want her to be happy.
Eric feels really sad about all of this, but it's one of those situations that you have no control over. We are so happy that she is doing okay with all of this. Jim is making the adjustment well too. The assisted living facility is only a few miles from their home, so he visits her every day.
Before I end this post, I just wanted to show you this darling card that she sent me in the mail a few weeks before she moved out. It was just random and she sent it because she was thinking about me. It says, "A house is made with walls and beams....A home is made with love and dreams"
Inside she simply wrote, "Your home always looks so charming. Alice" This meant so much to me. She has a hard time controlling her hands and writing and she actually wrote that sentiment with her own hand. I love what it says. I realize that when she went to town shopping with her friend, she took the time to pick out this sweet card just for me. It means a lot to me because I have always wanted her approval as a housewife and homemaker because she was so experienced and good at it. She actually has always complimented and encouraged me in this area, but to get this card just meant so much. It really, really touched me and I will treasure it always.
The prognosis for Alice is not good. When we think where she was a year ago, she has really gone down hill. We do not know what the future holds for her, but all I know is that I want to be there for her, love her and support her through this. 

Can I ask you, my dear blogging friends, to please say a prayer for her that she will be happy and safe in her new home and the transition will go smoothly for her? Also, she did complain that there are no residents there that are mentally stimulating to her, but they have five empty rooms right now and I would like to pray that the Lord will bring her several new friends that are at the same or even better mental state that she is in so she will be inspired and encouraged. 
"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God." Philippians 1:3
Hugs, Sharon

I just wanted to add these extra pictures. I went to visit Alice about a week later and it was really fun. She was doing awesome. Her attitude was great. When I popped in unexpected, she was stretched out in her lazy boy chair reading the newspaper and she looked up and said, "Sharon!" I was happy she knew me and she was happy to see me. It was really fun because I just went down to the kitchen and got us each a cup of coffee and we just sat there and visited and sipped our coffee. It was sad though because half way into our visit the nurse came to check on Alice and Alice tried to introduce us, but forgot who I was, or at least my name. I felt bad, but I realize it is just part of the disease. 
It was doubly sweet because towards the end of my visit with Alice there was a knock at the door and it was my Aunt Josephine (my father's sister)! She had heard that Alice was in this new assisted living facility and she just wanted to stop by and say hello. She is an amazing woman! She's 83 and she's so active with bowling, church activities,  and doing part time work and then she does sweet things like visiting shut ins like Alice. She was very talkative and sweet and she filled us in on her busy life. She said she just took a fresh lemon pie to a friend at a nearby facility and she also prepared a big beef stew for the homeless at a program through her church! I hope I will be strong and have energy like her when I'm 83 and I want to be a servant like she is! She brightened Alice's day and she said she would come back again. 

I was encouraged to see that Alice is adjusting well. Thank you for your prayers. 


Jan said...

I have always enjoyed seeing photos of Alice. You seem to always catch her smiling.

Of course the boys and I will pray for Alice and your family. This is not an easy transition for anyone.

God bless,

as always starzie said...

Dear Sharon,
I am so sorry you are going thru such a difficult time with your mother-in-law. You are so lucky to have her. She seems like such a lovely person. I will keep her and your family in my daily thoughts and prayers.
Take care,
Hugs from Darlene

Mardell said...

Hi Sharon,
I totally agree w/Jan ~ Alice is always smiling. What a lovely lady. It's very sad that her health is declining, but she is a trooper. Her new home looks very lovely. Yes, I will certainly keep her in prayer and that some new residents (more suitable for her) will be moving in soon. You are a wonderful DIL. What a sweet card she picked out for you. Is this place far from you and how often will you be able to visit? Can you call her or visa versa?

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