Over the next few issues of Harbor Light, The Continuum will feature an article that discusses the full Continuum process here at Plymouth Harbor, through the eyes of a resident’s family member. Please note that this article series is fictional, and is designed to provide a closer, more detailed look at our continuing care philosophy.
A few weeks after my mother Jane’s brief illness, she was back to her normal self. However, I couldn’t help but reflect on the reason that we chose Plymouth Harbor in the first place. Yes, she wanted an active community that fostered her independence, but also one that could be there for her when needed. My mother couldn’t say enough about the kind, caring staff in Smith Care and Home Care that helped nurture her back to health, and I, too, am forever grateful to them.
Roughly two months after her illness, mom jumped back into her active lifestyle with full force. She took up a new class in the Wellness Center, and began to work out in the community, becoming a Guardian Ad Litem and a member of the local Woman’s Club. In her time at Plymouth Harbor, she also served as a member on several resident committees. To say she kept busy would be an understatement – she had more meetings and commitments on her calendar than I did back then!
Still, elder family members and friends of my mother continued to question the idea of a retirement community. They would always ask her, “You’re so active, why would you give up your home to live there?” and “Don’t you miss your privacy?” She always laughed, and shared a story about swapping life experiences with someone in the hallway or dining room, and how easily she found comfort in her apartment when she needed some down time. As with any move, it was an adjustment for her in that first year, but after that, she loved her new home and all that came with it.
My mother remained active and flourished in her 17th floor apartment for some time. Six years after that first illness – at the age of 87 – my mother began to have some minor concerns. She would talk to us about them, and then we began to notice. Since we were now local to Sarasota, we were able to spend a lot of time with her – Sunday night dinners, holidays, birthdays, family vacations, and even just because.
My brother was able to stop in a bit more often than I could during the week because he worked downtown. During that time period, I probably saw her about three or four times a month, as my family life was getting busier.
With mom included, we were all noticing that her memory was beginning to fade — not at all to an extreme, just a couple of missed details here and there. She was also beginning to have a harder time getting around the apartment, and needed more help to get to doctor appointments or help with medication. We, of course, didn’t mind, but that led us to a discussion, and we all agreed that it would be good if someone was there to help with those things if my brother and I were both unavailable.
After talking with the staff, my mother decided that working with Home Care to provide in-home health services was the right choice for her. She could work with the nurses to develop a plan that met her goals, and they would provide the services she needed in the comfort and privacy of her own home.
Stay tuned to hear more of our fictional Jane’s story in the October issue.