What’s the hardest decision you ever made? Even after making what you thought was the hardest decision in your life, have you found another, harder decision has found its way into your life? That’s the case for me.
For three years now dad has lived in a rehab facility, been moved across country to live with my brother, and then moved into my house to live with me. Quite a change for someone who had lived on his own, in his own home since he was 18 (64 years-ish). But, since his heart attack in June of 2017, he hasn’t really had “a home” in his mind.
The last two years has been filled with all sorts of extremes and changes for us both: Highs and lows, joys and sorrows, easy-going and difficult, etc..
When I left Denver in May of 2018 to move to NM, the intent was to help nurse dad back to health and get him on his feet so he could enjoy the last seasons of his life.
While we went through all the motions of putting him back on a path to living a life together, a person has to want to live a life to pursue it.
In March of this year (2020), just before the global pandemic restricted us all to our homes, dad took three falls in two days (an exclamation point to the 13 total falls in twelve months). Fortunately (AGAIN), he had no broken bones, but it was clear the level of consistent supervision required for him to be safe had grown.
Since I could no longer leave him for any amount of time unsupervised, I reached out and found some “dad sitting” options and to begin with got set up with a weekly 4 hour errand time for myself (it felt like quite the rush of freedom the first time I pulled away from the house in my truck after two months! — oh, and yes, this was during quarantine, self-isolation world!).
These experiences caused me to rethink the wisdom of dad living with me vs affording him some opportunities he doesn’t have with me, but would have in an assisted living/memory care facility.
Thus began the pro and con debate.
After a WWF worthy match, I have found peace with the decision to afford dad some level of pseudo-independence in a community with folks in his age group, while having the opportunity for 24/7 experienced health and memory care in a room that I hope he will feel like is truly his space and not a room in one of his son’s homes. I’ve taken great care to encourage and reinforce this as we’ve talked about this decision.
So, after a long, hard two years, on 23 July of 2020, dad moved into an assisted living/memory care facility here in the Albuquerque area to hopefully make a home and a life for himself there.
And, on his second day there, I got a message from one of the caregivers that he had ventured out of his room on his own, and even participated in a group exercise session with the ladies. This makes me happy.
So we both turn the page to a new chapter in our lives.