Many of us are in the throes of helping parents who are suffering from Alzheimer’s or simply needing to leave their homes behind to find simpler ways of living. Our family recently found a care home with an apartment for my father and a care unit room for my mother. My brother found this facility not far from our family home,I am happy to say, with a staff that has restored my confidence in retirement and care facilities. They respect our choice to refrain from using pharmaceutical drugs as treatment choices and actually prefer when families and residents choose a drug free path.
Both of my parents are doing well with their given situations; my Mom is easy to handle, although needing full care, in that she is happy and cooperative with her care givers and my Dad has an apartment in the same building where he can come and go as he pleases but the staff offers some oversight and encouragement to keep participating in life. I have returned home after helping them move and now find I do not wake up in the middle of the night thinking of them and worrying about the next problems on the horizon. Each day brought moments of dread filled thoughts about their life and deaths. One of my friends said that when her parents died, she felt like an orphan. I will too, one day. Right now I feel at peace and encouraged, befriended by strangers.
The nursing staff and care givers are respectful of our wish to use non-toxic personal care products and some homeopathic things to help with the care of my mother. My Dad is being cared for mainly by my brother for his personal needs, but the activities staff keep him informed and involved in activities. Truthfully, my Mom who seldom smiled unless she had her family around her and was sitting on her deck on a home visit, started smiling on her first day in this facility and stayed up all day, smiling away and enjoying those others in her area and she did not go to bed until 10. I know she cannot express herself but she can tell when she is in a good and caring place and it showed. Reports are she is still smiling a lot. Sleep WAS her favorite activity, next to food.
I sincerely hope there are other facilities like this one because there are so many people who get into a cycle of a drug for this and then a drug for the side effects of the first one they wind up falling or injuring themselves because they cannot really “see” their environment or they are made dizzy and wobbly from the drugs. The quality of life is always enhanced with drug- free living and good food made from scratch. When you add in policy and procedures that respect individual differences you have a staff that is revered and loved for their help and hard work.
My Mom used to tell us that if she ever become disabled like this to “just shoot me”. Can’t do it. There are too many moments when she smiles or when she sees my Dad and they look at each other with such love and longing creating for all who saw that look the knowledge that lasting love and respect is possible no matter what comes. I do not want to live the way my Mom has to but I sure hope Conrad and I are able to keep the love we have today alive in all our tomorrows, no matter what. My parents are actually doing just fine, its love.