Pamela was living at home with her husband of 60+ years when it became apparent that her forgetfulness was advancing. Neighbors were becoming more concerned when they would see her going for walks in the neighborhood – especially after she fell. Sometimes, the police would be called because no one knew exactly what else to do. Finally, Adult Protective Services (APS) was called which escalated the need to do something – either get in-home caregivers to help care for Pamela or find a Residential Carehome for her so she would be taken care of and kept safe.
After much heart wrenching discussion with her parents, Michelle finally convinced her mom that it would be better for her to move to a Residential Carehome – one within walking distance of their current home so her husband, John, could come to visit every day. At first Pamela agreed but when it came time to make a decision about which carehome to move to, Pamela and John became angry and resistant to the idea. Michelle’s hands were tied but she didn’t give up. Instead, she had an honest discussion with her parents about the need to move and the consequences of not moving. She also empathized with her dad about his reluctance to see his wife leave their long-time home. In the end, John knew her dementia would advance and agreed to the move and supported Pamela as she got ready to change addresses.
Could this have worked out any better?
If there is such a thing as a fairytale ending for this type of life transition, this one comes close. Pamela, John and Michelle stopped by Pamela’s carehome one day to drop off some clothing. They had not planned for her to move into the home that day but as things unfolded, it became apparent that today would be a good day for her to move.
The first sign that it was a good day was when Pamela was found laughing with one of the residents. Pamela had met someone who had the same boisterous personality and the two of them were having a great time – and they had just met! Then, Pamela announced that she was going to be one of their housemates and two of the current residents started clapping and giving her hugs. And the frosting on the cake? The other (female) residents were flirting with John! So John asked if it would be okay for him to bring donuts to share with the ladies.
Kudos to Michelle
Before Michelle left for the day, her mom pulled her aside and asked how long she would have to stay in the home. Instead of telling her this was now her home, Michelle gently said, “Let’s take it one day at a time, Mom.” Then Pamela asked if she would be able to go back home if she got better. Instead of telling her mom that going home was no longer an option, Michelle supported her mom’s request: “Yes, Mom. If you get better, you can go home and we’ll all go out to dinner and then we’ll go dancing to celebrate!”