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Lighting some Chanukah Light December 21, 2008

Posted by makingyourdashcount in assisted living, Holidays.

Anna and I went to light candles tonight with the Jewish residents at Dad’s assisted living facility. One of the other residents lived in assisted living like Dad and two in “reminiscence,” where bodies outlive minds. We came with cookies, prayers and the story of Chanukah in a convenient eight parts. Reading the first of the eight installments was emotional, as I saw my father’s future in the blank stares of the others. My emotions were evident as I read. It was difficult. Then it came time for the prayers.

I asked Dad to lead them. He read the first blessing. I don’t think I had ever heard the Chanukah blessings read before and it hit me that I needed to chant them for the residents, so Anna and I started. I wanted them to at least hear the blessings so it would feel like Chanukah.

First Dad joined, then each of the other residents followed. Residents who could barely exchange a word or two in greeting went years back in their minds and found the blessings. Their caregiver shed more than a tear, also. I’m not sure I ever had had an experience like that. Watching their faces and listening to them sing was a magnificent warm gift this cold first night. As we left the glow of the electric menorah, we knew we had done something very special this first night.

Assisted Living August 14, 2008

Posted by makingyourdashcount in assisted living, eldercare, Life Journey, Thoughts.
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1 comment so far
I should feel relaxed to day. Yesterday’s move
to assisted living went as smoothly as possible. Dad is now in the cre`me
de la cre`me of AL facilities, which is immaculate. Everyone we meet there
is friendly, gentle and kind. His room, which is indeed a room and not an
apartment, seems “just right” for his needs. No longer will I get late night
calls telling me of concerning behavior. They offer activities and outings
that are appropriate for him. So why am I still a bundle of raw nerves?
Dennis is one of the house pets at dad's AL facility.

(Dennis, one of the house pets)

Perhaps it is the newness of the place and routine. Perhaps it is because I am making decisions for someone else and I want them to be the right ones. (I will comment on this more fully later this week.)
I think it is more that this is “dad.” His needs are beyond his own capabilities. I never really thought of him as someone unable to care for himself or to make decisions that keep him safe. I hoped when he moved to Columbus that he could enjoy all that my wonderful city offers, but he has not.
It’s been beyond his abilities and I find this very disconcerting. I’m sure that my nerves will relax, as he settles into his new home, and as I see that yes, indeed, I made the right decision for him. Until then, I will consciously take time out to breathe.