FINALLY A DECISION
Friday, July 18, 2014
I made a visit to A Senior Retirement community this week and felt quite comfortable there. I have been researching what is available and what I can afford for some time. Decided it was time to do some “tours”. My thought was I should have a place to go should my health fail and I be unable to make plans or to live on my own. I don’t expect to be getting better after all. I have memory, concentration problems now and it is hard to get around because of arthritis pain and a heart failure condition. I can use a walker here in my condo but it has to be a wheelchair and someone to push it if I want to leave the building.
Some days I’m too tired to play in the kitchen and if I don’t have something ready, well, my “diet” suffers. I don’t see or visit with many people. . .and that’s all right. Although I like people, I’m not exactly a social type. Actually, I enjoy my own company (and those of my cats!), reading, writing, Facebook and some TV. My wonderful Aide is here three times a week and we enjoy each other. There are days though when I’d just as soon she didn’t come. It is always good that she does – she can shake me out of a bad mood or depressed feelings just by coming through the door with that smile. She brings the sunshine and I always feel much better after she’s been here. She is a blessing.
So – the meals, the housekeeping, the laundry and a social life could be taken care of at an Independent Living facility. BUT there would be losses – losses I would bring on myself if I moved just to be sure I would be taken care of in Assisted or even in the Nursing part of the facility if I ever needed. I could get around with help more often than three times a week, visit with folks, attend musical events, movies, and meals. But the losses which would occur, important parts of my life right now, would be huge for me.
A very dear wise woman who knows me well summoned up her viewpoint with the words “Enjoy! Let the ‘what ifs’ go.” Just thinking about the ‘enjoy’ aspect I asked myself some important questions.
Would I be able to go to bed and/or get up when I pleased? Could I cook for myself which makes me happy? Or spend hours on the internet playing cards or reading recipes? Could I take a nap whenever I wanted? Could I have breakfast at noon and skip lunch with Ritz crackers or raw veges and hummus for “dinner”? Could I be in charge of my own meds, BP and weight? Could I keep to the 1400 mg of salt a day? ( That very nice cook assured me she never uses salt in her cooking but she has hot dogs on her menu. )
And more important than all, would I get to visit my friend in Westfield, keep track of the kind people here at where I live now, and those at CVS who have taken such good care of my Rx or see my friend and Aide who shares stories of her family with me, my new PCP at Valley Medical or Pam the cumadin nurse? These would be major losses.
When I met staff in the halls would they be as caring as Jackie or as pleasant and helpful as most of the other workers here? Would I feel safe and secure? (We met a woman in the hall of the nursing home cleaning the floor. She stood at the end of the hall watching us approach. She was a big woman - and I’m not prejudiced – because I’m big and she could have been sky-blue-pink if she had just smiled or spoken or made any acknowledgement that we were visitors. But she just stood there until we passed with an expression on her face and in her eyes that I didn’t see as friendly but a little unsettling.)
Some days I don’t bother to get dressed but run around (no, not “run around” exactly) in my night shirt and a pair of shorts. And I am always barefoot (I wear shoes only when I have to go out). I wonder how that would go over at this very nice Home? OK, perhaps if I stayed in my rooms, but It makes me grin to imagine it!
So – as I have thought about it, it is obvious to me where I can “enjoy” – And the ‘what ifs’? I’m happiest remembering the gifts of the past but living in the now. Never mind “ what if.” No worries about who I was or who or how I might be. It is the NOW that I can enjoy and will be forever (however long that might be) grateful for the friend who asked the right questions and cut through the growing confusion that was keeping me awake at night and ruining my appetite by day! As she encouraged, I’m going to enjoy my life right now, right here, today.