A few years ago I talked to Rebecca. Like many of us, she was juggling many balls at once. She and her husband both worked full-time and were both engaged in volunteer activities. They had two boys, aged 12 and 14. One played soccer and another was in the Boy Scouts. Both enjoyed the playroom that had grown with them through the years. This was one busy family.
Rebecca called because she wanted my take on a few assisted living facilities for her mother.
It was clear that she’d already made the decision to utilize one of them. I shared my thoughts on two I would recommend and another that I couldn’t. When I asked how much her mother was involved in the selection and whether they had taken her to visit her top choice, I was shocked by Rebecca’s response. She had never even asked her mother!
Rebecca assumed that her mother would never entertain the notion of living with her and that it would create such a major upheaval in her family’s life that it just wasn’t worth considering. I offered to meet with the family to provide an in-person review of the facilities she was exploring and to talk a little about some of the families we serve.
Like many of those we serve, Rebecca was very eager to arrange a family meeting and arranged for everyone present. We talked about her mother’s situation and everyone (including her mother) agreed that assistance was needed.
When I asked if that was an option, Rebecca and her husband immediately said that of course it was but that they couldn’t imagine that her mother would want it. To Rebecca’s surprise, her mother truly wanted to be invited into her daughter’s home to live. This was the first part in our conversation where she actually perked up and became more engaged. Prior to this, her body language practically shouted defeat.
Rebecca’s sons came into the room and it was the 12 year old who said they could make their playroom into their grandmother’s new bedroom!
As their wheels started turning in all of their minds, I shifted gears to start helping them navigate these waters.
The new extended family unit felt fully empowered because they fully controlled every decision – together.
Rebecca expressed great relief that we were helping her mother and, though she made some adjustments in her activities, she felt like she had re-balanced her life to better reflect her values and beliefs. Because the boys had relinquished their playroom, they wanted to play a role in helping get their grandmother situated with her familiar furniture and décor. We involved everyone and even if tempers flared from time to time, everyone played a vital role.
During the transition period, we recommended an appointment with a respected geriatrician who became the new primary care physician.
In reviewing everyone’s schedule and the various needs for assistance, we agreed on a service schedule that seemed to make everyone’s life easier.
Rebecca’s mother lived with them for almost three years before passing away.
I recently received a handwritten letter from her saying, “these were the best years of my life and, I think, my mother’s too.” She thanked us for providing the services and supports necessary to make it a reality and for “empowering my family to do what we didn’t think we could do. During difficult times, the Lord always sends angels to help along the way and that’s what I think of when I think of Home Helpers.”
For information on how Home Helpers can make your loved one’s life easier – even if you and everyone concerned is at their wit’s end – contact Home Helpers’ owner Sam Sellers at (501) 663-3900 and schedule a time to visit. Or, simply complete the form below and we’ll see when’s best for everyone.