How many of us Boomers face a future with parents who need more help than we can give them? How many of us are there already? Boomer writer Wendy Reichental has reached that point with her Mom. Wendy’s periodically going to blog about this challenge for BoomerCafé: putting your parent in a new home, while you’re dealing with issues in your own home. She begins while her mother was still living with her.
To bring you up to speed, my elderly mother is staying with my husband and me for a period of time due to a series of mishaps at her home. She suffers from high blood pressure and an assortment of other health issues so I thought it best if she spent the summer with us while we figure things out. We had to bring up the dreaded topic of her considering a residence and to sweeten the deal, I reiterated that there are even some senior residences that let you stay for short visits so you can get the feel of the place without committing to it. In other words, it’s essentially like going to a hotel, with all your meals and services included. My spiel fell on deaf ears, literally; my Mom doesn’t hear nor want to wear a hearing aid, so you have to repeat your words, sentences, phrases numerous times in different ways to get heard and absorbed. And even then with this sensitive topic, it’s like taking your dog to the vet: they somehow intrinsically know and start exhibiting nervous habits and anxiety.
But no matter, I had booked an appointment earlier in the week to see a place only a hop, skip and a jump from where we live, with a great reputation, a homey country-chic facility with all the necessary bells and whistles that would only enhance my mother’s welfare. So come hell or high water, my husband and I were taking her to see this life option. As usual, the morning of the day we were to take her, she got ready on her own terms, which meant moving at a speed too slow to record. By the time she was ready, looming ominous clouds gave way and we were forced to take her out in a torrential downpour! With lightning bolts and thunder booms escorting us, this certainly wasn’t the electricity of positive ions I much needed and had in mind.
I had confessed to the sympathetic residence director on the phone that I have taken my mother to see other senior care facilities and that when she sees a senior with a walker or one sleeping in an armchair in the main lobby she bolts! So I joked and asked that should there be anyone asleep in a rocking chair in the main lobby, please throw a decorative blanket over them so my mother doesn’t notice. She laughed and assured me the place is filled with active seniors.
Luckily for us the rain had tapered off, but echoes of thunder could still be heard. I opened the lovely wooden doors with huge gold handles and we were welcomed by darkness! The storm had apparently caused a power failure. My worst nightmare had come true. I put on my best sunny disposition and presented our names to the front desk. We were told it wouldn’t be long and to have a seat in one of their many cozy waiting rooms. So, being that it was dark and all, we took my mother to the first room which was an inviting solarium of sorts, with sounds of chirping birds delightfully emanating from the room. We made our entrance and witnessed a sleeping slumped body on nearly every available armrest! I could already see my mother’s agitation and before I could hobble her out of there, she had already indicated that she needed the washroom and that maybe we could come back another time.
Back at home, we all settled into our usual routines, my husband escaped his frustrations catching up on some TV watching. Me? I pounded the keys to write this post, and my mother, well, she continued her rant of wanting nothing to do with a seniors home when she has all the luxuries she needs right here. I let her talk until there was silence and noticed that just like those other seniors which she steadfastly denied being anything like…she was actively and blissfully already napping!