As we continue our “Starting Over” series this month, I’d like to share an extremely emotional stage of life that we’ve recently experienced. As our loved ones age and their health begins to decline, possibly the hardest decision ever made is to place our mother, father or in our case, my husband’s grandmother into a nursing home. Jay’s mom has cared for her mother in her home for over 12 years. After a fall at the age of 97, that broke a second hip, Jay’s mom could no longer physically care for her mother.
After many hours of deliberation, tours of different facilities and a miraculous opening in what we deemed the best facility in the city; the decision has been made. Now how do we go about making the move a little easier on everyone involved?
Jay’s mom had to get all the following paperwork in order.
- Gather all the information needed about the financial requirements with our state, insurance company and nursing facility.
- Fill out all forms for Medicaid, admission and gather banking documents needed for the state.
- If an attorney or consultant is needed, retain their services to be sure everything is in order.
- Set up a family trust.
We had the help of a wonderful employee from the facility that walked Jay’s mom through the long and tedious process of getting all state requirements met.
Once her room was assigned, we began to make it look as much like home as we could.
One thing that was mandatory in our facility is that the draperies had to be flame retardant. We discovered a DIY procedure, so we did that first.
Using gloves, we mixed 9 oz. of 20 Mule Team Borax with 4 oz. of boric acid into one gallon of water. We then poured the mixture into a spray bottle and sprayed the draperies.
These particular curtains had been in Jay’s grandmother’s home for years and were her very favorite.
We chose what furniture we could bring from home and would fit in the new room. We started with the two gold chairs that had been in her living room.
Then we shopped for bedding that would coordinate with her chairs. We definitely wanted something very cheerful. And then my mother-in-love added the mirror to open the room up.
The bookcase was chosen by her son and daughter-in-law to have a place for family photos and some of the books she loves so much. The bookends were chosen by Jay’s mom because her mother has loved to read since she was a little girl. A move to this type of facility can be very upsetting regardless of how nice it is and anticipating this, we tried to make sure that everything in the room had meaning to our grandmother.
We had prepared her that she would be moving from rehab into her own little “apartment.” The advise we received suggested that we anticipate anger, but we amazingly, had just the opposite. Once she saw her curtains, her pictures on the wall and the new bedding, she said she had “never had such a good surprise.”
Here they are, waiting on a bed replacement, with the move almost complete. We continue to visit which makes her very happy. We’ve read and plan to implement a few more tips to make this transition a bit easier.
- Send cards or notes written in large print on special occasions.
- Bring in flowers for each season.
- Take her outdoors into the courtyard of the facility as often as she is comfortable with it.
- Pets are allowed to visit, so Jay’s mom plans to take her cat for visits when possible.
- Take her out of the facility on “field trips” when possible.
On our visits, the first thing we see when approaching her door is this butterfly on her door. A butterfly is symbolic of change – beautiful change. That is our prayer, that even at the age of 97, in a skilled nursing facility…this can be a beautiful transformation in her life.