Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Different Kind Of Family

I am a Life Coach who specializes in dementia.  This means I work one-on-one with families as they travel this new journey that is often confusing, frustrating, scary, and tiring.  It is my hope to bring knowledge, and hope, and smiles to their lives.  One thing that I consistently hear is, “I do not want to place my Momma in one of THOSE facilities.”  I am aware that emotions are running on overdrive at this point, but I have a great desire to help people understand the benefit of group living for folks with dementia.  I speak about this from a place of experience.  My Momma, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia in August of 2006, made the decision to move to an assisted living in December of 2009.  The move took place in January of 2010.  She will tell you it was the best decision she ever made.  I will tell you it was the second best decision she ever made.  Her first, and best decision, was to purchase a long-term care insurance policy.  This policy allowed her to make the decision to move to a group home setting.  There is not a day that passes when I am not made aware of how blessed I am that Momma is happy living in an assisted living setting.  She called today saying how touched she was by a resident, who is a young 101 years old, which stopped and asked Momma how a sick loved one is doing.  It seems another resident had requested prayer for my brother-in-law (Momma’s son-in-law) during church service.  Momma was touched!  If Momma were living alone, she would not have experienced this feeling of being part of an extended family.  Another example of this “family” atmosphere occurred this week when Emmy, who sits next to Momma at mealtime, returned home after being hospitalized for several weeks.  The party, cheers, excitement, kisses, and cupcakes all came together to make the family members experience the joy of being part of a different type of family.  It is a “different type of family”, for sure, but it is a great family.  These folks take care of each other, look out for each other, laugh with and at each other, quarrel with each other, and love each other.  Sounds like a family to me.  I want everyone to understand how wonderful group living is for folks with dementia.  They are never lonely.  They have mental stimulation and physical care.  Don’t look at it as one of THOSE places.  Look at it as the best place for everyone involved.  For Momma, she is thrilled to be part of this new family in her life.

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