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!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Finally, finally at peace....

I wanted to give you an update on my parents. After moving them from their home of 52 years to this cute little apartment in an assisted living facility (Briarwood), we moved them once again.
It was a hard decision because this place was so beautiful and seemed perfect for them. It was extra special because my Dad's sister, Helen, lived there too. They had their meals provided three times a day in this big restaurant downstairs, had housekeeping services, laundry services and their medications administered to them.
The problem was that my parents needed more care than Briarwood could provide. We believe were were led under false pretenses that they would receive more care than they ended up getting. They were not getting any help with showers and received very little help with incontinence issues. They moved to Briarwood at the end of June and by September, my sisters and I knew that this was not a good fit for them and they needed a higher level of care.
All three of us girls were so exhausted from the events of the summer with our father's emergency brain surgery and moving them from their home of 50 years. We just didn't even want to talk about moving them again.
We just couldn't face moving them again, especially with the holidays approaching. The move would not be as big as the first move (pictured above), but it would still be a lot of work. I, personally, felt like I might have a nervous breakdown or something if I had to move them in November or December. But, even though we knew it would be a huge undertaking, we did the right thing and in October, we put them on a waiting list for one of the best memory care facilities in our area. In January we got a call from ElderCare that they had an opening for both our parents! We were so happy and also very thankful that God showed kindness to us and it didn't happen until after the holidays.
On January 29, 2016, once again, we moved our parents. It was a big, hard job, but it was easier moving them from a 600 square foot home compared to an 1800 square foot home. The big difference though, was that this time we didn't have to move their furniture to the new home, it's already furnished. But, we had to remove all the furniture and if none of us wanted it, we had to take it to Goodwill. The first day of the move it was my husband, father-in-law and myself plus, my sister, her husband and their son. We had a good plan and got most of the big pieces moved that day. It took longer than we anticipated, but we got it done. My other sister, Kathi, and her family came back a few days later to get the beds and some other big furniture.
I was feeling stressed with everything that had to be done, but I was always comforted when I drove by this big billboard on my way to their home.
 We just love their new place! It's so tiny!
When we go visit, we always get to park in this spot right by the door. This was wonderful when we were moving in the small stuff. At Briarwood, we had to park far away from the building and we had to deal with the elevator or three flights of stairs. This little place is such a nice change!
They share the same room, which is so special for them.
 It's not very big, but it is warm and cozy.
 They enjoy being able to talk to each other while in bed.
The only personal things they have (besides their clothes) are these two shelves with framed photos of their family and a picture on the wall.
I felt very sad realizing they had no possessions, but they both have dementia and are in poor health. They need 24/7 care and this is such an excellent place and the main thing is that they are still together. The home is cozy and comfortable for them.
They even have a house dog! Her name is Peaches and she is so sweet!
It's a small house with 7 bedrooms and 10 residents. All of the residents here have memory issues, but they are all so sweet.
They have made some nice friends.
Sadly, though, on the very first night that they stayed there, our mother got sick and the staff at ElderCare were concerned she was dehydrated and they called the ambulance. The doctors thought she had gallbladder issues and they kept her in the hospital for four nights.  Praise God, she got better and was released with no issues.
The next time I visited them, they were still adjusting, but swaying towards liking it. I couldn't believe it when I turned around and saw one of the CNAs, Molly, curling my mother's hair! She does this every day for all the residents! Isn't that awesome!
They also do my mother's nails every week!
This place is small and intimate. I was sitting at the kitchen table and I took this picture of my Dad reading in bed, that's how small it is! This is much more their speed. The other place was HUGE! It was 3 stories high and their apartment was on the 3rd floor. They had to walk down long hallways and take an elevator to get down to the kitchen. The meals were only served three times a day and if you missed it, you had to wait until the next meal. Sadly, my parents missed a lot of meals.

Oh, notice the pole next to my dad's bed. He holds on it it to get out of bed. This gives him dignity to be able to get out of bed on his own.
At ElderCare they can sleep in and can eat when they want. They get help with EVERYTHING. They are safe here. If Daddy wants to get up early, they help him out of bed and he can get his coffee and read his Bible. Mamma can keep sleeping like she tends to do.
I stop in a lot with my grandson and he makes their day!
All of the residents love Ridley. Here's Marlene holding him.
These pictures are taken in the living room. They have a TV that they watch documentaries. I love this place so much. They have studied what dementia patients need and they plan accordingly.
They make sure they are safe, but they give them dignity and also entertain them and keep them busy and happy. The go on field trips, do art projects, have church services, play games, have guest speakers and entertainers come in. It's just wonderful!
They also have a program called "Rise and Shine" and it's a little exercise class. They play with the beach ball and stretch.
It is so very pleasant to go visit them now. It smells fresh and clean, our parents are always clean and dressed and they are well fed and happy!
Eric and I visited them and brought them contraband...Squirt, cinnamon bears and chocolate covered raisons. We had such a sweet visit. I just love this photo. I love the big smile on my husband's face (it's rare to catch him on film with such a big grin). Eric and my father have always had a very good relationship, we are so blessed!
We had a very nice visit. Now when I leave them and am driving home, I am at peace and have such happiness. I have not had peace about their living situation for many years. A huge burden has been lifted. I feel so good knowing they are being taken care of.
Oh, one more thing. We took our father's wedding ring off when he went in for surgery back in June and it got misplaced during the move. A few weeks ago he asked me for it and I finally found it! I took it to him and he quickly put it on. I snapped this picture of their hands together. They will have their 60th wedding anniversary in a few weeks and we are going to have a small party for them at their living facility. I am so happy they are both still with us and they are living together in this wonderful place where they are getting excellent care!

God is good!

"Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you, and I will bear you and I will deliver you." Isaiah 46:4


Molly Moore said...

Oh Sharon, this is so sweet. I can really relate to this. I wish I could have found a similar place for my Parents. I found a nice place, but the schedule they had to keep to get their meals, etc. was exhausting! It is great you found a small place that can accommodate different schedules. I can tell that they have put a lot of thought into little things that make such a difference!

Judy said...

I had tears in my eyes reading this. I wish we could have found a place like this for my parents when they left my home. It just got to be too much for me taking care of them. Having lost both my parents in a short time this past year this post really hit me. Enjoy the precious time you have with them, your parents are such a sweet couple :)

Barbara Beach said...

I too had tears when I read this. Praise God for walking alongside your family throughout this transition. Finding a good place for elderly loved ones is not easy and this new place sounds above and beyond. Diginity for the elderly is so important and I pray your parents and your family are at peace until the time they go to be with our Lord. Continued blessings!

as always starzie said...

Oh Sharon I also had tears in my eyes reading this. What a beautiful place for your parents. And what a beautiful example you are for all of the children in your family. We so need to take care of our elderly in this country. Unfortunately many are not well taken care of. It's so sad. It's wonderful they have a dog for all of the people there to love! Pets help keep people happy and healthy.
God bless you and your family!
Hugs from,

Deanna Rabe said...

I am so happy for you all! I think its great too, that they can still live together and get the care they need!

Anonymous said...

As a Registeted Nurse myself I take care of dementia patients. And it appears your parents are getting good care.

Blessings Always From
Pamela in Ohio

Farrah said...

I love how God provided what they need. xoxo

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