Chapter 9 – Signing on the dotted line

After much discussion, thought and yes, even prayers we have decided that Mom needs to look at life in the Retirement Home. This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life but we need to move forward as I truly feel it is best for her. I have been reviewing and discussing this for some weeks now and I know it is time.

I made an appointment and our family was going to the retirement home to take a tour. There was really no comparing homes or review to do as she wants to stay in her small town and there is only one place to go. This was the facility where she had spent years volunteering so she knew many people and felt a sense of comfort. My father had spent the last few months of his life at this facility over 20 years ago and Mom had a comfortable feeling about this place.

Arriving at the home she was greeted by so many of the staff it was incredible. They were all smiling and asking her if she was coming to live with them. Many of them were pleased to share with us how long they had known her and what a great person she was. There were even hugs from some of them and this made things much easier for Mom. The nervousness and anxiety seemed to lift from her brow as they all chatted with her. I could see she was a bit overwhelmed so I took her arm and guided her through the hallways. We were able to view 2 different styles of room and she sat down in the one that she thought would be best for her! She began to wonder out loud “what will I bring here, where will my things fit?”  I reassured her we would make a list and she could make all of those decisions, but my mind was thinking the same thing. We are going from a fully furnished 2-bedroom apartment to a very small living/bedroom with an adjacent washroom.

We discussed the options of living in the retirement home as it was just our family (my brother, Mom and myself) in the room. I could see Mom was not sure if this was a good idea.  She was not angry just anxious. I told her that we would have to look at the activity calendar and see all the events that were happening for the next few weeks.This reminded her that there was entertainment and activities and her thinking started to change. I could see it in her eyes, she thought this decision might just work. She wondered if she had enough money to do this and I reminded her of the meeting we had 2 weeks earlier with her financial planner. In my heart I knew this needed to be done today. No more thinking or wondering. It was time to get it done. We went to the office and met with the director of care and we signed the paperwork to being the process.  Mom signed all the documents and then as the power of care I was required to sign as well. We went through the motions, but I could tell that some of this was in a haze for her. She seemed to know what was happening but she looked at me and said, “You tell me what to do and I will do it.” I explained to her what we were doing so she could understand. I told her this would be a great place to be and she would never be lonely. These moments are so difficult but it gives me the comfort to know we are doing the right thing.

As we were completing the meeting Mom turned to me and said I think I will like my room. The statement brought ownership and I could feel the tears welling up inside me as I fought to keep them hidden. I took this as a good sign that she was going to be able to adjust to this. We still had a long way to go but this was the first step. They were going to be ready for her to move in a month from the day we signed, so now the real work begins.