PHOTO: Clare Kelly
Last Monday the inevitable happened, we moved Pete into a memory care facility.
It’s only a few minutes from my house which is nice, and the building itself is just a few years old. From the outside it’s pastel and cheery, and once you walk through the front doors rather welcoming. Hardwood floors throughout, a smiling staff, and only about thirty residents. It has all the conveniences of home without the physical obstacles Pete had to face every day living with my mom and stepdad – stairs, high bathtub edges, etc. They also have a fantastic security system that keeps the residents from wandering out, a major risk for anyone living with memory issues.
My mom and I wrote Pete’s name in his clothes last Saturday and dropped them off along with some of his belongings. Thankfully this place is fully furnished, including bedding, which made the physical move much easier. Then my stepdad took Pete on Monday. We had all prepared ourselves for the worst, but so far the transition has gone smoother than anyone could have hoped! (I think this probably has a little to do with the fact that Pete believed he had only been at my mom and stepdad’s for a few weeks, and most definitely did not believe he lived with them.) We were asked to refrain from visiting for a few weeks so that he could get into some sort of routine, so no one has visited just yet. I’ll be the first tomorrow and I’m looking forward to seeing how he functions in his new home and giving him a huge hug.
After living with my mom and stepdad for the past 15 months, we believe this is the best move for everyone. Pete now has the chance to interact with more people on a daily basis, participate in small activities, and regain a little bit of his independence. Meanwhile, my mom and stepdad can get back to a more normal way of life as well. They both agree that the house already feels lighter and their relationship less strained. While it’s an incredibly selfless gesture to care for a loved one, I think it’s important to think about how the situation is effecting you as well. And that’s something I reminded the both of them of every few months when things felt extra high strung.
Thank you all so much for checking up on Pete via email, tweets, and in person. It means so much to me and made a difficult situation a little more bearable.