This time last year, I began the transformation of my mom’s little home that sits just around the corner from me. By the new year, the renovations were pretty well complete and in February my mom moved in permanently.
I remember the night I moved my mom to her new house officially and how nervous I was for her. I felt deep in my soul that this was the best move for her, but there was always the fear of the unknown. Honestly, I was scared. I was scared she would struggle. I was worried she wouldn’t sleep. I braced myself for all of the odd behavior patterns a stressed dementia patient might have in new surroundings. I didn’t know how this would play out, but I was hopeful…and scared.
As luck would have it, the move and her transition into her new home was absolutely seamless. In many ways, my mom is doing better. Unfortunately, the FTD has robbed her of her voice, but her behavior patterns are speaking loud and clear. These are the types of things you focus on in the dementia world. Sleep being a biggie. Prior to the move, she hadn’t slept in her bed for two years and the sleep she was getting was inconsistent. We were convinced she was afraid of being alone. The night she moved into her new home she slept, like a rock, in her bedroom. It is the only place she sleeps and I believe her solid sleep patterns and the restorative role it plays on one’s brain is one of many reasons why June is doing so well.
But sleep is just one aspect of how her quality of life has improved since she moved. When she isn’t sleeping, she is outside very often. Even on chilly days! She loves to walk and does so two or three times a day, but she also enjoys to sit and take it all in as well.
Her team of care are all either cooks or are married to cooks so the meals June eats are straight up medicinal. Everything she eats is made with love. A key ingredient she herself used to cook with, might I add.
Flora and Zina are her dream team. These incredible human beings split the week in half. I call them my earth angels. They epitomize compassion and my mom and our entire family adore them. There is no other way to put this. We would be fucked without them, but they aren’t going anywhere. We know they feel the same way about our mom. The love they have for each other is palpable.
And, just when I didn’t think I could get any luckier, it turns out I can. My entire neighborhood and everyone that reads this blog, has taken an interest in my mom and her care. I often get texts and calls from friends and neighbors about her. The check-ins and kind words when a June-sighting has occurred are the very reason why moving her here was the right thing to do. When I pull up and I see my mom and her care in a conversation with a neighbor, it makes my heart sing. My mom is thriving because she feels safe.
My mom is home. I am so thankful.
I have learned so much during this process. The biggest lesson of all being the importance of community. It really does take a village. Knowing that we are not alone on this journey make this process manageable. Being able to be open and honest about the reality of our personal challenges with our mom as she progresses in her disease has been liberating in many ways. Yes, I miss my mom every minute of every day, and would give anything to hear her speak just one more time, but the reality is, this is our reality. We have embraced our new life and our new mom and we feel the blanket the community has wrapped around us.
On behalf of our mom and my entire family, we thank you.
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