And I’d have to say, it is quite a different choice as far as these types of places go. They offer a very nice housing facility that feels like a Marriott Home Suite or Resort efficiency type of room with a full kitchen, a living room, a patio or balcony, bathroom and a bedroom. Some have two bedrooms. It’s the perfect answer to down-sizing from a big single family home to a much more appropriate home where yard work and maintenance are all taken care of.
Instead of spending all of your time in your new smaller home, everything happens outside your little apartment and becomes a shared community room. One might even compare it to a cruise ship experience where you have a small but adequate cabin and then all other activities take place throughout the ship. In this case, there’s a dining room with a wait staff that bring your food as you ordered (not cafeteria style), there’s a Sports Bar, a library with a fireplace, activities rooms, exercise room and even a place to play pool, shoot mini-basketballs and darts, an arts and craft room with a weekly director who leads the activity like painting or seasonal crafts – or just hang out and visit. It actually very cool.
Then as far as assisted living, that’s available a la carte. So, if you need help with your medications, a qualified medical person comes by daily to be sure you take your pills. If you need help bathing or dressing, you can add that service too. Should the need arise for more care with dementia or Alzheimer’s patients, in this case, there’s also a Memory Center wing attached right to the main building. You don’t have to go to a different facility should one parent need attention and the other doesn’t. Very loving and very convenient. All of these options can be added as needed.
That feels good – to have them settled in their new home in Ohio close to my sister and her family. They’ll get lots of attention and care from them for sure. But this has been the culmination of almost three years of hard, patient work to get them re-located. That’s what feels so good. Finishing the move. Actually getting them settled in their new home. It feels like we’ve crossed the Finish Line, so to speak.
Although my folks had previously lived in Cleveland (Parma Heights actually), they had moved away long ago after us kids grew up. After living in New Jersey, Chicago and the San Jose, California area, they finally settled in Henderson, Nevada – a neighboring suburb of Las Vegas. They loved it there. They always had lots of visitors. They loved the weather, the shows, the restaurants and the direct flights to anywhere in the world. It was a great place to live. Their house was paid off. They lived a very simple and comfortable life.
However, as my Dad’s mental health began to slip over these last few years, my mother became more and more stressed out. Her anxiety came from trying to care for my dad and his dementia, along with caring for the house, the yard and her own needs – it became overwhelming. Although they didn’t want to return to those cold, dark, freezing winter’s of Cleveland, it became the best option when they finally agreed to downsize, move and receive the help that they both needed to live a better life. Their social life was quite diminished as they spent more and more time at home. All this will change now as they’ll have lots of help and lots of social time in their new community.
The final stages of this endeavor was to clear the contents of their home: sell or give away what they could and then dispose of the rest. Ship the minimal amount of furniture and personal items up to Ohio and then, what became my task, was to drive their car from Las Vegas up to Ohio. And with winter closing in on us in December, that became time-critical so that I would avoid snow and ice on the roads.
This last week, Christmas week of 2017, I completed that drive. They’ve got their car, personal and family effects, pictures, kitchen items, quilts, photo albums and their TV and computer. I finished the drive just as the first real snow began to fall. Two days after delivering their car, they got over 4 inches of snow! I just barely made it.
I feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and joy having completed this family project. It was my pleasure to serve my folks by helping relocate them. I know they appreciated it and it made their adjustment to their new home much easier with all the help that me, my brother and my sister provided. It took all of us, each of us three kids doing what we do best to get them moved. Another wonderful blessing was that it brought our entire family closer together – closer than we’d been in years. It felt so nice to successfully work through all the issues with all five of us working lovingly together. My sister made doctor’s appointments for them and coordinated with the Senior Living facility to make their arrival go smoothly. My brother flew down to Vegas and helped my Mom disperse many items in the house to needy charities, libraries and foundations. He packed up the rest of the things he chose to keep that my folks gave him, including the second car (a Toyota Prius) and drove it all back to Seattle.
One of the biggest reasons I’m so relieved and so pleased with, is that I did not realize that in order to enter an assisted living facility, my folks had to undergo a medical evaluation before they would be permitted to live in this facility. I had thought a person could just go and sign up for an apartment there. Nope. They have to meet a minimum health standard before they are processed in even after being accepted initially. Had my father’s health deteriorated or my mother, heaven forbid, had suffered a stroke or been disabled, there’s a good possibility that they would not have been admitted in this facility! So it is without question that God directed this move to go as smoothly as it did and in His perfect timing.
As I said, I feel like I’ve crossed the finish line. My own anxiety is gone. We’ve done my folks good. They’re receiving good care and making new friends. My sister and her family are less than four miles away from them. I can breath easier. The task is completed. All is taken care of. All is safe. All is calm.
What a wonderful way to close out 2017 and begin the New Year! Celebrate!!