Sleepless in Sun City: Chapter 22


Today is the day.

I can honestly say…I have no regrets. My mother will be placed in a dementia unit in an assisted living facility and believe it or not, I am OK.

I’ll be the first to admit that the road has not been easy but I know this is for the best. Shocker number two…my family is finally on one accord and in full agreement. This is largely because of the private care management team at FSL. Not only did they help us comb through the countless assisted living facilities in Arizona, they coordinated tours and did all the preliminary things to help us make this transition. They will also continue to communicate with the us and the facility to ensure my mother’s success. Most importantly, they offered mediation for our family so that we had the strength and the unification to make this life-changing decision as a unit…instead of our usual division and turmoil.

In fact, my sister, Kitty, is on her way to pick me up and we will be going to gather up the last of mom’s things and settling her in at her new place. My brother, of course, was more willing to donate his money rather than his time as usual. Even this is okay with me. At his point I will take all the assistance I can get, any way I can get it (Lesson #1 I learned from the social worker from FSL that so graciously helped our family…everyone has a role and people can only do what they are able to do in their role.) My brother, we learned is not coping well with the deterioration of his parents. His sporadic visits home were not only a defense mechanism but subsequently hindered his perception of the ultimate truth…our parents will not be with us forever.

(Lesson #2, it turns out that an assisted living facility is almost 3 times the cost of in-home care.) Enter my brother. My parents are very comfortable financially but with thousands going out each month, their nest egg will dwindle rapidly. Naturally, that part’s a big strain but not nearly as detrimental as the strain on my heart.

To separate my parents was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. My mother no longer recognizes my father and has become strangely fearful of his presence. She will often accuse him of stealing her things or trying to “take advantage” of her. She has called the police on my father and even stormed from the house, declaring that she was going “home”.  This is why he will not be coming along today. This thought alone makes my heart ache. He is devastated. A lifetime of marriage diminished to brief moments of recognition only to be forgotten like yesterday’s newspaper. Her moments of clarity are so few and far between that I simply can’t be present when my mother’s behaviors overrun my him. Kitty has been living with my parents the past few months and will continue to stay with my father. I will continue my daily visits, especially during this trying time.

I heard my father cry recently. That was the catalyst, guys. Being in Sun City, near them, was priceless. I am so grateful that I was able to help up until now but this has become more than I…than we…can handle alone.

Wish us luck,


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