Where do I begin?
Oh, how about with the change in the look of my blog? I felt the need for a cleaner, simpler look. And of course, I spent many hours playing with themes and theme options, rather than writing my Retirement Test Ride (RTR) planning posts…more on that in a bit.
In the positive changes category, I have the honor of unveiling my awesome new logo designed for curvyroads by my GS-riding, photo-taking, brilliant-designer blog friend George! Please visit his blog and read his words of wisdom on travel, photography, oh and motorcycles, of course: Gelande Strassetastic.
THANK YOU, George!
So, in addition to playing with the look of my blog, I did start a draft of my Retirement Test Ride (RTR) planning post. I was about 600 words (!) into it when I got the call I have been dreading.
Some of you may know that my mother suffers from dementia and moved from Florida to assisted living near me in January of 2013. Until recently, she was high functioning and thus doing fine in assisted living and did not require Memory Care, the next level of care, because she did not have the tendency to wander. Sadly, in the last 6 months she has undergone a significant decline in her memory and daily activity, and the change has been especially pronounced in the last month.
All that said, the call still came as a shock. “The assisted living staff is no longer able to ensure her safety, as she has increasing symptoms of sun-downing and wandering”. Sun-downing is a disruption of sleep patterns, causing changes in behavior beginning at dusk. She had begun to resist sitting and eating in the evenings, getting up from the table and pacing, and the staff found her outside the building several times. This was particularly worrisome since the facility is located on a fairly busy road, and she didn’t remember being outside.
I had visited the Memory Care unit in a different building at Mom’s facility in December of 2012, when I was originally looking for assisted living for Mom. I didn’t remember the details, but the impression burned in my mind was of the locked steel doors of that wing. In order to minimize the disruption for Mom, I initially thought moving her to another building at the same facility might be preferable. After revisiting it, however, the one locked hallway was depressing, and the planned access to a secured courtyard was still more than a month away. I had to move on to Plan B.
A dear friend had moved her Mother to Memory Care in a new senior living facility two miles away, and was very pleased with the change. I guess I had been denying that my Mother would need that additional level of care, because I had not been to visit. It was time now. My friend and her husband were there the night I visited, and gave me the grand tour. I could not have been more impressed. The Memory Care section is called ‘Horizons’ and is so open and spacious, with two wings of apartments, a lovely great room/dining area, an activities center, and multiple access doors to a secured, outdoor courtyard area with walking path and covered porches with seating.
That night, my husband and I wrestled with the logic and options, but my intuition told me we had to move to the new facility. I decided that I would call the next day, and if they had space for Mom, the decision would be made.
There are times that I think I have enjoyed a charmed life. I am hoping that I don’t jinx myself, but it has certainly has seemed that way often enough. I have had major life events such as job changes, home sales and purchases, and major re-locations that have happened quickly and come together seemingly effortlessly. For this I am extremely grateful. That doesn’t mean the duck feet weren’t paddling like hell beneath the surface, but the surface appeared glassy smooth. I should mention that I am a project manager, both by trade, and by nature. 🙂
This was one of those charmed events. The facility had space AND they waived or deferred many little tasks, Mom’s doctor jumped through hoops to get her paperwork for admittance, and friends stepped up to help. We had Mom moved and settled in the new apartment in 5 days. Granted, all her art work is not yet hung, but her furniture, clothes, knickknack shelves and family photos are all in place. She thinks it is home. We are blessed to be able to make her comfortable in such a short amount of time. At this stage in her life, every happy moment is incredibly important.
So, I will close with one last, bittersweet change: My wonderful husband understood how stressful this change for my Mom has been on both of us, and offered to postpone our RTR until things have settled down. I could not imagine being gone for two and a half weeks right now, so this was a huge relief, albeit disappointing at the same time. Instead of our planned September RV/bike test vacation, we are in the process of planning a shorter trip on the bikes in October, during which we will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary.
Stay tuned for posts on that adventure!