Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shady Lane

As we drove down the driveway to my mother's new home, she saw in front of her a past image of a place she hoped she would never be a part. She commented that when she and her best friends were younger they all teased about someday being residents of Shady Lane and now here she was.

When I realized she was looking at the old Shady Lane, I quickly re-directed her attention to the new Shady Lane.

Shady Lane Home - Clarksboro, New Jersey

This view was much more pleasant to her but she still realized that it was a nursing home. I tried to ease her anxiety by explaining that I had researched  all the homes around and that this one had the highest scores and had many recreational activities suitable to her. I'm not sure that made her feel any better.

In the end I have to say that she handled the move much better than I. After all she wasn't the only one to have memories of nursing homes. I worked for a short time in one during my nursing education and then my grandmother had spent her last years in a home. However my daughter and I had visited Shady Lane prior to the final decision and our first impressions were that this place was very promising. We were given a very nice tour and met my mother's new roommate, Irene. According to Irene, we made a good decision. She had been in another home for several years that she felt was all right, but not anywhere as nice as Shady Lane. Then we met Marge, another resident, who again emphasized that our choice of homes was the best. She too had been in other homes and found that Shady Lane was a very nice place to live as far as nursing homes were concerned.

My family accompanied my mother into her new diggs. Since it was a Saturday, no receptionist was available. However a maintenance worker saw us and led us through the dining room to the nurse's station for check in.

This was a good initial impression for my mother. I explained that she would be having all her meals here if she wanted. We were then taken to her room which appears more like a hospital room but with some decorations and items from home they soften the look.

We're still working to on the look so we'll update the picture as time goes by. She has her own television which is located at the opposite end of her bed. Most importantly though I made sure she had her crossword puzzle book with a pen. We were there with her most of the day only running out to get items that we hadn't thought to bring. As I was preparing to leave towards the end of the day I ran into, Judy, who is responsible for the marking and washing of the laundry. She immediately recognized my mother and shared that my mother used to come over to her house all the time to visit her mother. Sure enough I recognized her name and family.

The first night was the hardest for me and I imagined it was for her as well. However when hubby and I went back on Sunday she seemed quite content and said that she had had a good night. I wasn't so sure as she was sitting by herself in front of a TV in the lounge with a look of resignation to her new life style. In an attempt to perk up her spirits we thought of taking her out onto the porch. The view looked very pleasant and inviting. In order to exit hubby punched in the code to release the door locks and out we went except the alarm went off and there was no other way to get back in without someone coming to fetch you. Therefore, hubby stayed in the lounge and Mom and I went out onto the porch. The screeching of the alarm and the excessive heat left our trip out on the porch as a very short session.

Hubby and I left for breakfast after a time. I returned later in the afternoon to check on her. Things were looking up as she had gone to a church service and was preparing to have lunch in the dining room. So I went on down to her room with additional items I had brought for her. I noticed all her clothes had been returned from the laundry and tagged so I hung them up. When my grandmother was in the home, we had to do all the laundry. Not so here.

After lunch Mom was inducted into the group. Irene, Marge and Dot have a sitting area in the lounge to which they all retreat during down times and when they have visitors. As we sat talking Mom excitedly introduced me to Dot sharing that she had gone to school with her. At first I thought she had Dot confused with someone else, but nope, not only did Mom go through school with Dot but my grandmother and Dot's family were friends.

I returned every day the first week, sometimes more than once. As the week progressed I noticed a significant change in my mother, for the better. Let's see, she played Bingo, had her hair done, nails polished, sped around in her wheelchair, talked to everyone and loved meal times. There were a few music sessions in which local singers held concerts including music from the forties, seventies and gospel singing. I had to pick up an activities calendar so I wouldn't interrupt any of her fun time. She missed going out to the Chinese Buffet because of a doctor's appointment.Not only that but I had taken her to the doctors and then to lunch. Upon finishing her lunch she announced that she was ready to return to Shady Lane. Ok. By the end of the week, Mom had received her invitation to the Senior Prom scheduled for August 11.

By the second week my mother was settled into her routine. Marge and Irene were making sure she was participating in all the activities and not left alone. Preparations for the prom were in full gear. The day before the prom my daughter and I retrieved my mother's dress and jewelry. We must have done well as my mother recognized the dress immediately and was pleased that it was the one we had chosen. Mom was scheduled to have her hair done the day before and touched up the day of the big event.

On the day of the prom my daughter and I showed up early to make sure Mom was ready to go. By the time we arrived, she was ready and sitting with others chit chatting away.

Does this not look like a happy woman? It's a look we haven't seen in a long time and one that I've seen on her face more often then not the past two weeks.

It was time to go so we pushed Mom down the hall to the awaiting decorated dining room. As we started off we were stopped by a young lady who gave Mom a flower wristlet.

A very nice finishing touch for a beautiful occasion.

As we moved slowly along we passed her friends who looked equally happy and beautiful.

Dot, as you can see, was happy and ready.

Irene looked very nice and was having a good time as she walked along.

And Marge was leading the way.

As each resident entered the dining area they paused for their pictures to be taken. Mom insisted that Lynn accompany her into the dining area.

 Irene was escorted by a very handsome young man who volunteered to help out the director of the event.

 The dining room was beautifully decorated and quite a sight for all to see as they entered.

 Each attendee received a nice gift.

It was filled with Mom's favorite: Hershey Kisses!

You can't have a prom without music and music they had!

Entertainment included dancing

And then the choosing of the King and Queen of the Prom!

After two weeks, my anxiety level for the decision to move Mom into a home as opposed to having her needs addressed 24/7 at home have been greatly relieved. She is happy, being well cared for and participating in the many available activities. She has not done one crossword puzzle since she entered. There's no time.

I was informed that the reason for the multiple activities was that someone left money to Shady Lane's recreational fund.  I believe I shall also contribute. I don't think I've ever seen so many happy seniors at one time as I did at this Senior Prom. Whether they remember or not they had a great time during the moment!

For now have a Firecrackin Great Day!!

 Be sure to stop by my other Blog:
Firecrackinmama's: Firecrackinmama's


Jasmine said...

Glad your mom is enjoying her new home! The senior prom look and sounds amazing, I bet everyone had a great time.

Bali Hotels said...

Nice Post ^_^

Kat said...

I enjoyed reading this so much..