Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas at the Skilled Nursing Home

Muddy Creek on McMillan Drive
Celebrating Christmas with the family will change this year. We'll be sharing Christmas Eve with the ladies at the Skilled Nursing Home. It's over the river and through the woods to get to their facility.

For the past twenty-five years, we've invited the girls over to our house for the holidays. When they lived in Fort Worth, we'd drive over and pick them up and they would stay with Mom. Now, this isn't possible due to things that most people take for granted. For one, getting up the front stairs has become a major hurdle. The most important consideration for someone in a wheelchair is access. I never gave this a thought until I knew someone confined to a chair.

Also, access to a bathroom is one of the key things one must consider in these situations. I probably know the location of every bathroom in every store we used to frequent from Kroger to CVS Pharmacy to Home Depot and every medical office we ever visited.

We're lucky that the ladies live in a place with a caring staff and nurturing caregivers. Their Wellness Director, Latrice, is a happy and energetic lady who keeps them involved, even visiting their rooms to make sure they remember events. Despite the personal invitation and flyers distributed to remind them, Mom had forgotten about the Christmas party that was scheduled for this past Thursday night. When we arrived, she asked us why we came to visit so late. It was six pm. We said, "We're here for the party." She said, "What party?"

After a little persuasion, she and Louise trekked down to the cafe where we found a nice place to sit together. Louise went on a tour of the party table and she oooh'ed and aaah'ed and said she wasn't hungry but that everything looked so pretty.

We asked if there had been any Christmas music. John usually comes to play his guitar three times on one day each week. Mom didn't remember at first, then she told us he comes three times on Thursdays. We said, today is Thursday. "Oooooh, yes, he sang today."

John plays his guitar for the residents each Thursday.
They always enjoy his songs, stories and interaction with the group that gathers for his performances. He remembers each of them by name and plays their favorite song requests.

We consider ourselves very fortunate to have such an extended group of people looking after our loved ones. It's never ideal to live in a facility nor is it what they really want. Thankfully, Mom realizes that it is safer and better for them to have twenty-four hour staff to help them with their needs. She told me recently, "You children made the right decision to bring us here".

Even so, these things are difficult and have changed the face of the holidays for us all.