Monday, May 29, 2006

Dad goes into a retirement home

Robin and Brian do the research on the retirement and Long-Term Care (LTC) homes. They tour several in the area and speak to staff. The decision is to put him into Gravenhurst Manor. Brian, with his experience finding a home for his mother, is a big help. I pack up Dad’s things and we talked about the furniture to take. Dad has not visited, but he is not sentient enough to understand.

In hindsight, from the research and recommendations from professionals, I should have packed more simply. All items need to be labelled, too. He needs his toiletries, a housecoat, slippers, a pair of running shoes, four pair of pajamas, and six changes of clothes, i.e., six undershirts, six shirts, six pair of pants or jogging suits. All of these places offer laundry services and this is all that will we need. Also helpful: a sun hat, a winter hat, and a couple of sweaters, and a seasonal coat. There is not a lot of space available. Dad’s room is crowded as it is. Many of his pants do not fit him and I am unsure what to bring. I am overwhelmed. I take far too many clothes in for him. There are things in his room he has not worn in years, but I have no way of knowing this. I will regret this considerably when he has to move, yet again, into the LTC home.

We ease him into the idea, but he suggests that we live with him at the house, despite our two cats - which are afraid of dogs. It is such a battle to get him to come to terms with the move. We reiterate that there is no choice.

I book a local man, Paul, to move Dad’s things for us. He has a trailer and has helped me clear out the basement of 30 and 40 year old things. Paul is terrific. Paul and his friend, “Old Burt”, begin the chore. Burt is nicknamed “Old Burt”, because whilst on a job a client asked where ‘the old guy’ was. Burt is actually younger than Paul. We kept up the moniker for a long time. I keep Dad busy in the living room while my brother helps carry things out.
I drive Dad in his van. We make it into the Manor with no trouble. We have done most of the paperwork beforehand. My brother and husband have visited several places in the area and find this place to be great. They have one bedroom available in a big private room. It is too bad Dad cannot have gone there earlier, with Mom. They will enjoy the atmosphere and the conviviality. We ask Dad where he wants his bed. He wants to face the window. We get him set up

We loved the atmosphere of The Manor. It is a well-appointed facility, with a variety of private, single and double rooms. The furniture is mostly antique, with period nick-knacks meant to make the residents feel at home. The paneling on the walls compliments the polished mahogany pieces, with all the little nooks and crannies that were popular in their day. Antique doll carriages and dolls decorated the corners. The local florist donates an arrangement weekly. The Sun Room is bright and cheery, with new curtains and comfy furniture. There are wide hallways to accommodate the inevitable walkers that made life easier for residents. Located on a main street, there is much local traffic. Parades and other regular events draw crowds and provide entertainment. The annual garage sale is orchestrated to coordinate with the town street sale. Residents are primarily able-minded, with some locomotion issues. They can walk across the street to the various churches, go to Stedman’s for coffee with friends, or be picked up by family for celebratory dinners and special occasions. Happy Hour is a fun time to visit. Some residents move in there for the winter, moving back to cottages for the summer. I am glad that Dad has the money to stay there. It makes life so much easier.

Dad loved his room. Later he will spend many late night hours gazing out of his window. We will look out at the church and see the white lights. He thought they were birds. One day he tells me that the birds have flown away in the night. He liked to watch the people go by.
We saw that the previous tenant had pictures on the walls. Rob and I talk about this. We think we should have one of the cottage or the lake. Robin putters in town. Rob, Dad & I were trying to decide which paintings to hang in his new room. When I went back to the cottage, a painting of our cottage frontage had fallen off of the wall. I figured that is a sign from Mom that that is the one I ought to take in to Dad.

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