Growing up, we captured time by the seasons, especially summer break. As we reflect back, we wonder where the time has gone and memories of days gone by and thoughts of days to be swirl around us, allowing us to look back in reflection and forward with anticipation.
What about the present? We certainly wonder how we got here and where we’re going? In some way, we have new perspectives and ideas that influence our daily life, many times never realizing the role they will play in our past and future.
Over the last several years, I’ve had the opportunity to capture life in an entirely new light — my world as a service provider and placement professional to seniors intersected with my personal life. When my role as a son shifted to being my mother’s primary protector, I asked myself at that time — where’s the break from being a son and being a care manager for my mother, Kathy?
Today, I am enlightened to where I came from, where I am now, and the future for my family, including my mom and myself. I share this with you from my real life experience, my reflection as I give a new kind of love to my mom, and my mom’s perspective and feelings as well. I like to think of it as a new season that bears new fruit.
In 2015, at the age of 73, mom (Kathy) decided to relocate from Ohio to Arizona to be closer to family. It was important for me to ensure my mom makes the transition a smooth one. While I anticipated the move would be a big change for her, it was a priority to stay present with her and listen to her concerns and make sure she did not feel alone. My brothers and I keep in constant communication with her, and our children visit and call when they are available.
When asked, Kathy responded, “I feel like I came ‘home’ to Arizona after leaving my home in Ohio. My sons have been very caring and supportive. I also feel very fortunate to have an ally in my daughter-in-law, Stacey Fischer (Scott’s wife). We have an excellent relationship, and I loved her the day we met. One major challenge was leaving my sister Carol, who lives in Ohio. She is still a significant part of my daily life.”
Kathy was comfortable downsizing, keeping only her most sentimental items. “The best things in life are not things. When you come to a place of love and compassion, it’s easy to make your life what you want,” Kathy adds.
While Kathy has family members throughout the U.S., here in Arizona, she has two sons, one daughter-in-law, four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and three spouses of grandchildren. Kathy stated, “I know all my family members express concern, and I have accepted and believe now it comes from a place of love. And, love is first in my book.”
Today, at the age of 75, Kathy admits living alone and physical changes have been a big focus. There are things she can no longer do, and she has learned to accept she cannot do them. Housekeeping was one major challenge. Her family went together and decided to get her a housekeeper, a genuine relief for her. Kathy also feels very thankful to have a washer and dryer in her place.
Kathy has been able to change her lifestyle and health, including her balance and strength. She gets out daily to walk around her apartment complex. She’s more flexible and gets around a lot better. Kathy confesses she is overall healthier and happier. She is grateful to have more interaction with people and so many activities to do with her new friends in her community and her family. All around, Kathy feels like all her relationships are much better today.
Scott shared, “When I meet with families, they often want to know, where would you put your mom? They get personal with me and their concerns. So, I tell them, The first thing I did for my mother was to find her a Primary Care Physician, then an Elder Law Attorney who specializes in financial and legal affairs for seniors, including all needed Power of Attorney documents.”
We adopt this same practice at Options with all our families. We treat every family with a high level of attention in all matters of their life planning needs. My mom’s story is how we take care of everyone. We are always looking forward to meeting and serving our next family members.
Scott states, “I always want to be clear and concise in my communication with my mom, very transparent and realistic. I never want my mom to say ‘something has been done to me’ — I want her to understand everything is being done for and because of her. It is essential to me that my mom trusts me.”
The Options team members are sensitive of the feelings and emotions their clients experience during this time of life, here are a few:
- People experience real physical changes in their life and feel vulnerable
- They are afraid to share too much information
- Many people are afraid to move by saying, “I am not old”
- They are afraid to make new friends — scared of rejection
- They want to protect themselves and worry about isolation
In the beginning, Kathy was afraid to make a change and was concerned it would eliminate everything she enjoyed in her current routine. She was hesitant about meeting new people and new places, but what she found was a whole new sense of purpose and so many new friends, all while being close to her family. Kathy opened the door into a whole new life.
Options works to ensure families feel at home and their children feel relief that their loved one’s needs will be met. Today, many facilities are utilizing technology like Face Time and social media to keep families connected, should there be a distance between them. Many facilities have educational programs and health and wellness activities, they even have field trips to get their residents out and active.
Our devotion to our personal family and our Options family continues, as it was built, on four principles: transparency, respect, communication, and results. Let the Options for Senior Living Team show you how we make a difference every day in the lives of the families who entrust us with their loved ones. See our ad in this edition of Healthy Cells Magazine.
We are here for you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us work with you to explore your best Options for Senior Living! You can always call us directly at 602-845-1320.