The Gang at Assisted Living
by Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach
You've heard me write about being at Mom's Assisted Living many times, so I thought why not introduce you to my peoples:
Ellie is mom's bestie — age 99, she turns 100 in October! They hold hands, play cards until 8 - 10 at night, have meals with others, etc. They are a HOOT — Ellie will yell in her squeaky voice: Jennie Jennie Jennie, Pay Attention!
Mom: Whatttt? (simply can't hear)
Pansy just moved in days ago, she looks and speaks like she is 80-90 but she is 104! wow!
Nick-Nick-Nick (I always repeat his name quickly 3 times) is another who has been there a while… he just turned 89. He's sweet, confused, and needs help often - get his OJ and coffee at lunch, when he fell a few times (has a black eye right now, fell outta bed), finding sports on TV or phone problems. Nick-Nick-Nick is always curious but will never join us in the Activity room.
Evie is maybe 4 foot tall and pretty heavy. I push her to and from coloring and lunch. She doesn't hear well, kinda grouchy, but put those colored pencils in front of her and instant addiction. She colors beautifully. Evie is in her early 70s and mentally well.
Joy is painfully arthritic. Therapy is beginning to help there, she just started again and I am amazed how well she can do... moves her arms a bit (can even push herself a bit on the wheelchair). Joy is an artistic coloring gal... I think she could have been an artist!
Lora is another coloring addict. She was good until COVID hit her, was quarantined for 2 weeks? and seems out of it often ever since. Things don’t make sense anymore... but she still colors.
Jim is a small man who loves the sunshine as he worked in it for many years. Unsteady, confused, just a great guy with a family who always visits.
Rina is across from Jim. She talks little, watches everything, and always worries about her bed being made up correctly. My sister and I often try to help her "fix" it to relieve her stress, but can't understand what's wrong.
Nancy sits with mom for meals. She's in a wheelchair (like others), unsure what's wrong with her (can't talk well, slurs a bit). Nancy loves cookies mom brings down at lunch... any sweets will do. She and mom watch out for each other.
Cathy wanders the halls, lost all day, pretty blonde lady, thin, and totally out of it, wonder why she isn't in memory care but... not. She often wears two different shoes or a shirt backward, but all good!
Ray, I call him “Backwards” because he sits in his chair and walks backward as it's easier. He is just 71, fell and got stuck half under the bed at home, brother realized he hadn’t heard from him and found him. He hopes to leave soon. We chat lots.
Mary dances when any music is on, can’t stop her, she’s tiny, pretty, athletic walker/runner. She speaks good, but can’t really hold a conversation.
There is ONE man, Ed, who is with his wife, 12 hours a day there. He says he has nothing else to do, no hobbies, so…. we chat lots too.
A few of the ladies asked me WHY I am always there, they seriously have few visitors, but I don’t have an answer. Not enough staff, so I help. Mom is 96 so she needs me, and maybe, just maybe, I’m ED too… 🙂
Lorri and I have brought in strawberry shortcakes and whipped cream for everyone, many had two or three helpings. :)
Early summer, we had a tea party for the ladies. Lorri brought all grandma‘s china cups and saucers. But we have maybe 10 different kinds of small desserts finger desserts with the fancy teapots and cups and colorful napkins and placemats and they loved it. It was beautiful, and FUN!
I could go on and on... I love to help wherever I am needed. I find Jim almost falling and walk him back to his room, then Rina needs help with her bed pillows, Nick-Nick-Nick needs phone help, someone needs coffee, and I stop to chat with another few... 🙂
A few residents are busy with activities, the others hide in their room (so bad for mental reasons). We color, paint while watching Bob Ross show us how, play shuffle toss, pling pong, card games, do sing-a-songs, and more.
I am writing this to say -- there are real people in these facilities. They all had real lives before. They can still have fun, be active and enjoy the company of others. They should not be forgotten, they are simply living in a different environment so they are not alone.
My mother, at age 96, is positively thriving! She gets dressed up daily, goes down to the dining room for three meals a day. She's in the activity room playing cards at night when I'm fast asleep! She loves BINGO, coloring, shuffle toss and is more active now than the previous two years during COVID. This has been a huge blessing to Mom and the family!