This Christmas was going to be a challenge getting our parents in the same place at the same time. Not because of proximity but because of their condition. We have mom in assisted living and we have dad in memory care. The only saving grace is the community they live in is part of a large community with different level of cares. Thankfully, their care manager has been able to understand their needs and was able to find our parents the right facility, offering multiple levels of care.
We have decided that as long as we are able, and they are willing and able we will spend time with our parents especially during the holidays. We contacted the community where our parents are residing and asked what type of activities were planned for the Christmas holiday for both the assisted living and the memory care levels. They won’t have joint activities planned but they will be similar. We also wanted to know which activities would be best suited for family to visit and participate in.
Armed with that knowledge we could go about making plans. Mom’s mobility was compromised so we didn’t want to bring her to the house, besides she would only worry about and miss Dad. Dad is mobile but communication is compromised and he is not remembering Mom. We decided to bring Mom to the Memory Care side of the community to participate in the program where a couple of groups come in to do a light-hearted skit and have a sing-along. We can visit for about 30 minutes and then have dinner with them. We reserved the private dining room for an hour so we could have some one-on-one family time while we eat. This will bring us all together and give our parents the opportunity to connect, as they are able.
We ran this by our parents, mom was fine with it, dad was not intelligibly able to respond verbally but smiled and grabbed our hands to confirm. It is a common courtesy for us to communicate what our intentions are with our parents in the hope they understand. We appreciate their autonomy and independence, even as they become more reliant upon us.
Our immediate family plans did not have to be altered, we were able to spend time with our parents and participate in their lives and celebrate Christmas where they live. They were safe, and in familiar surroundings and it was a success because we were able to meet them where they were at physically and emotionally. That I can tell you was all due to the way the care manager initially set our parents living arrangements up in the first place. Her ongoing support has been invaluable to our family’s success as we navigate the aging process. Our goal is to keep our family as close as possible despite cognitive and physical declines. We love our parents and value the connection we have and the time we can spend with them, even when Dad doesn’t remember us. It is difficult, not an easy road, at all, but having a care manager that can help us understand the next steps and knowing that we’re making the best decisions for them relieves our stress and takes away the questioning that we had when we first started encountering the changes.
We recommend a care manager for any family with an aging loved one. There are so many questions and plans to be made and a care manager works in the interest of the aging person for all recommendations. It is a lifesaver!
If you have concerns about navigating the holidays with an aging loved one, please give us a call at 561-291-3699 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help.