This post has been a long time in the making!
The past few months have gone by so quickly, it's hard to believe my last post was in April. Since then I've been to a couple of quilt retreats (yay), celebrated 29 years of marriage to the greatest guy ever (more yay!) and started thinking about long-term placement for Mima (not so yay).
Mima has been living with us since October of 2010. The first few months were really rough. We had to adapt to the new living arrangements while coping with the loss of loved ones (my brother and a dear friend) who both died much too young and much too quickly.
Things did go more smoothly in the second year. The biggest challenges came when my husband and I wanted to travel. Since we have no family living nearby, they had to fly in from Florida or Pennsylvania to care for Mima while we were away. Lots of scheduling details and dealing with the confusion that any change in routine causes for those with dementia. It got more difficult as Mima began forgetting family members.
By the end of 2012 I was pretty exhausted from juggling Mima's care, trying to build up a home business (since I gave up a full-time job to be home with Mima), and nurturing my personal relationships (hubby, kids, friends). We considered placing Mima in a care center at that point, but she was still so alert and the places I looked at were quite depressing - I kept putting it off. Then, out of the blue, one of my nieces called to ask if she could come stay with us. It would be an opportunity for her to do some body-and-spirit healing, and to help out with Mima. A perfect solution! We agreed to try it for six months and re-evaluate at that point.
My niece has been a godsend in many ways; now she too needs to move on with her life. She began a full-time job last week, so it's back to me being on Mima-duty for most of the day. While Mima is still in really good physical shape, her confusion is growing daily. We have made the difficult decision to place her in a center where she will be cared for 24 hours a day, and where there are plenty of activities to keep her engaged. We found a place where the residents are alert, the staff friendly and caring, the facilities clean and homey.
Move-in day is this Thursday, and I've been experiencing a myriad of emotions, ranging from dread of the transition and what anxiety it will cause Mima, to giddiness thinking about being FREE (and guilt for that last one). I will still be her caregiver; we plan to visit most days, and we will be taking her to church on Sundays. We have several friends who will also visit her, and I pray she will quickly feel at home in her new surroundings.
If any of you have suggestions on how to make this transition as smooth as possible for Mima (and us!) please let me know.
In the next couple of weeks I will post photos of quilts that Mima and I created as joint ventures. I found ways to take her not-so-well-pieced blocks and turn them into pretty quilts.
In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of Mima from mother's day. Both my sisters were able to come for a visit. As you can see, she's still got attitude. :-)