My Story of Helping my Mother

living in a retirement communityWith my experience working with retirement living communities, I thought I’d be prepared when my own mother moved into a nursing home. For the most part I was. However, what I couldn’t have truly anticipated is how quickly she settled in!

We both credit this to the vast amount of social and cultural programs available at her retirement community. She immediately got involved in all sorts of things – exercise classes, painting classes, and dance lessons, just to name a few.

It wasn’t just the new experiences that helped her settle in. Truly, the magic was all the interactions she had along the way. She had a great opportunity to create meaningful friendships while sharing a common experience. After she had her knee replaced, she was able to go to therapy without leaving the community – what a convenience!

Her therapist was on-site cheering her on every step of the way, and truly cared about her well-being. For her, going to therapy wasn’t just ‘another appointment’; it was to see her friend and therapist, Tom. Tom coached her to become a stronger version of herself.

According to the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), at least 70% of seniors living in a retirement community setting are single or widowed women – just like my mother, Marjorie.

It’s a known fact that women outlive their spouses, and because most women have a need for emotional and social connections, the positive daily interactions filled a void.

As a busy working mother of 3, full of to do lists, chores, and work duties – it’s hard to relate to how this will change as I also get older. But one thing is for sure: life is to be shared, and the power of human connection with others is truly a gift that has no measurable value. Except for how it swells the heart, engages the mind and fills the soul.

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