Chapter 13 – Finding Joy in Change

Mom seems to have adjusted well to living in the Retirement Home. She has always been such a positive person, it has made this transition easier for her and to be honest for her family as well. I am so thankful as it brings such relief to know she is so filled with joy. She spends very little time alone, always someone to share a cup of tea and a chat about the good old days.

She is the “poster child” for participating! She wants to know everything that is happening. She has the event calendar on her wall and the staff have been wonderful at keeping her informed. It seems that she has to keep busy, it gives her purpose. The staff appreciate her enthusiasm and she is a vital part of the welcoming program as she is thrilled to meet new residents and is the first one to encourage them to come and join in the fun. She no longer leaves the facility on outings. There seems to be some fear associated with that, so she stays where she feels safe. This has become her new home.

This has been such a journey for all of us. My caregiving role has definitely changed  and I have felt such joy that I know she is safe and under the watchful eye of the staff. It has given me a moment to breath. The responsibility for her personal care has been shifted. Seeing her happy and safe gives my brother and I a sense of relief.

She has kept a diary for many years and she is now finding that it is a way for her to retain and refresh her memory. Her journaling also assists her in conversations, as she will check her book to see what was recorded. She is proud and excited to share what she did that day when we connect on the telephone, or in person. She leaves an event, and goes directly back to her room so she can record the details, and then off again to chat and socialize. She has to record it while it is still very recent, or it is gone. It’s interesting to observe when she can share something from her day you can see the pride on her face. It is really quite remarkable to experience.

She makes phone calls daily and reads the paper, knits and plays the piano. She loves word search puzzles and will spend hours finding the words. It is such an accomplishment for her when she finishes a puzzle book. She always leaves it out on her desk to share with us that it is completed, and as a reminder to us that she needs another book!

It truly is remarkable to watch how she has adapted and to share in her joy for life.