A Lovely Day

Today was a lovely day.

I’m back in Denver visiting my loved one at the assisted living. I spend a few days here monthly. I’ve been here since Thursday. I stay in a guest room on site so I get to do life with E. I participate in activities with her and the other residents. We usually go out for lunch a couple of times when I’m here; we discuss her health needs; and we always make a Target run. I usually meet with her doctor and medical providers while I’m here. Sometimes she has an appointment offsite which I take her to.

This morning I slept late and missed breakfast. I ate a granola bar in my room. I do this so E can eat breakfast with her friends without me. Some of the ladies like routine and get grumpy in the mornings if someone extra is at the table. It’s no big deal for me to eat alone, and it helps their day start off better.

After breakfast we participated in BFit exercise, a 20-minute class for all abilities which is led by a resident. About half of the participants do the exercises in their wheelchair or sitting on their walker. Most use one pound weights. Some use two pounders, and others don’t use weights at all. We do each exercise five times. “Why do we do five? To keep us alive!” It’s fun to laugh and encourage each other as we get stronger.

I had lunch and dinner with E in the dining room. We spent time today doing the things she does every day: exercise, hanging out in the living room, chatting with friends. We laughed and talked. I showed her videos and pictures of my kids whom she adores.

This evening we cleaned out her closet and fridge and made a shopping list for our Target run tomorrow.

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They all have stories if we will take time to listen.

I’m here to see E and check on her health, but I have gotten to know and care for her friends and fellow residents as well. I enjoy spending time with all of them.

Here are some highlights from today:

I got MW to smile this morning. She’s been sad lately; she remembered recently that her daughter died. She sits in her wheelchair in the same spot all day. I got her to plot a heist of Fig Newtons from building three. Building two didn’t have any. She loved the planning and plotting. She was to be my lookout and create a diversion by squealing as if she saw a mouse. We practiced a few times, much to the humor of everyone else in the living room. However, he didn’t follow through; she never leaves building two. But she smiled. A lot. And she kept smiling right through dinner! Plus building two got fig newtons this afternoon. Win win!

We helped decorate for Christmas in building three. E and her friend B did most of the work. They are great at decorating. They did all the Christmas decorations in building two, so they were asked to help in building three where most of the residents are in wheelchairs or use walkers. They let me tag along. We invited a few others to join us.

The folks who went with us live in building two, so it was a bit of chore to get them to go with E and me. (It’s across the driveway) But once we got there, they had a lovely time.

JM, a former prosecutor who moved here from Florida to be near his son, helped us decorate. It was a great break for the staff. He has dementia and asks questions all the time. All. The. Time. Every few minutes he asks the same question over and over. Like “When do eat around here?” He’s charming and kind and dresses so sharply! He simply doesn’t remember things. I sat on the floor and handed him ornaments to put on the tree. He discussed placement of each one before settling on the perfect place. And he asked not one question for more than 45 minutes. There were lots of smiles though. And the tree looked beautiful.

We watched Mr. Holland’s Opus after dinner last night. I always bring movies and try to get residents to watch with E and me. I often bring snacks like golden Oreos and goldfish. Sometimes the activities director will sneak us real Coke and Dr. Pepper! What a treat!

AD watched the movie with us last night. She is new and still gets lost often. It took some coaxing to get her to join us. The ladies all loved the movie. AD enjoyed it; she was still talking about it this morning. She had so much fun last night that she went with us to decorate today. I walked with her when she went to the restroom and back then back to her room so she wouldn’t get lost. I had to help her more than a few times and reminded her this is her home now and she doesn’t need to find a ride home. She started to hangout with some of the other ladies by afternoon. They are becoming friends which will make her stay here much more pleasant. She and I sat in the living room chatting for an hour after everyone had gone to their room tonight. She told me about her nieces and nephews. She’s delightful!

By taking JM and AD with us to decorate, the staff did not have to help either of them for more than two hours; they thanked me. I did it because I like these people. They all have stories if we will take time to listen.

LJ sleeps most of the day in an arm chair in the living room with her feet propped on her wheelchair. She rarely speaks, but she sings. She has a lovely voice; I’ve heard it during BFit morning exercise class. She sings “Bicycle Built For Two” when we do bicycles and “I’m In the Army Now” when we march. Yesterday she sang the verse with a cuss word in it. Everyone shouted, “Twenty five cents in the jar!” and pretended to be shocked at a cuss word. We all laughed. LJ is tiny, half bald, and missing most of her teeth but has a strong alto voice. I sat down next to her this afternoon. I began singing Christmas carols quietly. She sang with me. We sang for quite a while. She knows the words to all the songs. We had a wonderful time! I hope she sings with me tomorrow.

I am falling in love with these seniors. ♥️

Oh! And we got to face time with my grandkids and one of my sons! E loved seeing them.

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