My mother’s week-and-a-few-days-long reprieve at an end, she was moved on Monday, December 2, from her old new home at Sunrise Assisted Living to her new new home in the Sunrise Memory Care.
I’d spent a portion of the previous night lying awake angsting. Though my mother had been in her Assisted Living neighborhood a little less than three weeks it somehow felt to me, strangely, as if she’d been living there for many months, so far back in time did my old life with my old preoccupations before her arrival seem. But how would my mother take the news of the move? How would she take leaving her friends? How would she adjust in the Memory Care unit?
The Memory Care Unit, like the Assisted Living Unit, was divided into two neighborhoods.
Entrance to one of the two Memory Care Neighborhoods.
And so my still-cognizant, still sociable, still-conversational ninety-nine-and-a-half-year-old mother who, despite her confusion still possessed a decent amount of joie de vivre, would find herself in an environment where she was the highest functioning of all the residents, most of whom spent their days staring blankly. And how would my poor mother deal with that? Would she herself quickly mentally degrade to the state of the dementia and Alzheimer's residents around her?
What was the Sunrise staff thinking? I not-too-happily wondered.
But what choice did I or my mother have? Thus I hoped that, by some miracle, this move would turn out to be not for the worst.
I’d been told by the staff that I could help with the move if I wished, or not if I didn’t wish to, but I did wish to help, so on Monday morning Tom and I showed up to help with the move.
As it turned out, all the residents in my mother’s Assisted Living neighborhood knew that my mom was moving out that morning. During her brief stay in the neighborhood my mother had managed to endear herself not only to her neighbors but to several of the residents of the other Assisted Living neighborhood, several of whose residents were now in the daily habit of meandering over to my mom’s neighborhood to hang out with her. I imagine they enjoyed soaking up her warmth and humor, which she hadn’t lost despite her sporadic mental confusion.
On the morning of the move several residents approached me and told me how sorry they were that my mom was leaving.
One resident looked around her then leaned closed to me and said softly, “I wish they’d let your mom stay here and move a couple other people away.”
I laughed at that, pointing out to the resident that they were one of the people whose room my mom had invaded in the middle of the night.
“I don’t care,” they said, “I still wish they’d let her stay here.”
So do I, I thought to myself, not the least reason being that when I'd arrived that morning to help with the move I found my mother, for the first time since she'd arrived at Sunrise, in a terribly anxious, unhappy state.
She knows, I thought, nobody told her, but somehow she knows.
But as it turned out, my mom's sudden high anxiety, unlike mine, had nothing to do with her imminent move.
To be continued...