Over two years ago I made the decision to move my husband Bob to a senior living community because I could no longer care for him at home. People often talk about navigating having aging parents but for many of us it’s even more complicated and difficult when faced with having to make these choices for your life partner.
Bob moved to Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care and over time we adjusted and found our new normal. I visited him almost every day and even though he hasn’t known who I am for quite a while, when I was there he would hold my hand and know I was there for him. He always seemed to somehow know that our daughter and I were important in his life.
Then in March, we had to adjust again. The doors to Caledonia locked and I could no longer visit. Not having time with Bob, I worried about how we would preserve our bond. I worried that I wouldn’t know how he was doing and if he was changing at all. Once again I found myself facing a lot of unknowns. Instead of visiting Bob every day I’ve been trying to drop off little things for him that I know he likes or that might make him smile. It’s so hard to not be able to be there for him but it helps knowing the Caledonia team is.
I’m writing to you today because I want you to know that this community has been incredible. Despite this terrible pandemic – I feel good. This crisis has been a real confidence builder in terms of the decision I made to move Bob to Caledonia. My family and I are grateful. The team has been exemplary. They didn’t waste any time putting precautions in place and staff has really carried those precautions though and maintained the quality of care.
While the results of Caledonia’s actions have been incredible what means the most to me is that the staff has been so compassionate. They have understood how hard it has been to not be with Bob. I know he is well taken care of, that he feels safe and they truly care for him. The staff has taken the time to learn what he likes and what interests him. They are working on a Monet’s Garden art project and they are able to actually get him to participate. They have helped him socialize. His quality of life is as good as it can be.
When I call to check and see how Bob is doing the staff ask me if I would like to Face Time with him and they have been great about facilitating that. Bob likes to carry the iPad with my daughter and me on it around as he walks. We can’t see him – we are often looking at the ceiling – but he can see us. One day when we were doing this a staff member turned the iPad around so he could see us and he said “that’s my two people”. That was an incredible moment. I’m going to hold on to that one for a while.
Despite being apart, thanks to Caledonia I feel good and now this morning I have a date with Bob in the rose garden for the 4th of July.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July,
Mary Jane Stitt
Caledonia Senior Living & Memory Care Family Member