I started thinking about placing Bill in a nursing home last January when a new facility opened, but Bill wasn’t too keen on the idea until now. Greenhouse Living is a new concept in long-term care. Residents are housed in cottages with a capacity of twelve people. They have their own rooms and baths and can receive more individual attention from staff. The cottages have large living dining areas with fireplaces and patios. It’s a more home-like environment.
Lately, Bill has become almost too heavy for me to lift. I called in two therapists to see if there was any way to make transferring him easier. Both determined that it’s no longer safe for me to care for him at home. A couple of days ago, we went to look at Greenhouse and discovered that since Bill will be a Medicaid patient, there’s a waiting list, and it will be at least six months to a year before he’ll be able to move there. I can’t wait that long. He’s on the list, but in the meantime, I’ve moved him to Sheridan Manor where he normally goes for respite care when I go out of town for writers’ conferences and other events. He’ll stay there until he can be moved to Greenhouse.
Although he would rather be at home, Bill seems to have accepted the idea of nursing home placement. To tell the truth, I’m relieved. I’ve been caring for him for six years. When he came home after his first stroke, we thought he would eventually walk and regain some use of his left arm, but after he suffered his second stroke, and his therapy was discontinued six months later, it became apparent that I would be doing this for the rest of his life. I didn’t think I could do it forever, but I vowed to do it for as long as I could. Now, the time has come.
Yesterday, someone told me I would be lonely. I don’t think so. I was single for many years before I married Bill, and I hate to admit it, but I’m more used to being alone than living with someone. I’ll miss having him around the house, but it’ll be nice not to have to plan my life around someone else. I can go out and not worry about leaving him alone. Of course I’ll visit him as often as I can, and we’ll keep in touch by phone. I’ll always love him, and he’ll always love me, and life will go on.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome and How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver
5 thoughts on “Making the Big Move”
I know it's a hard decision but it has to be made. I'm glad the place is home-like. not a sterile institution..
Hi Bruce, yes, Greenhouse is a more home-like environment, and I think Bill will be happier once he gets there. He's okay at Sheridan Manor since he knows people there, and until I can get him into Greenhouse, I hope to bring him home for a couple of hours every once in a while so he can check his e-mail. Thank you for your comment.
I know this is a difficult decision for both of you and an adjustment for Bill. My older sister has had to go to an institution that gives her the care she needs while her husband who is still independent and lives in an assisted living facility comes and goes as he wants. She doesn’t like where she is and she wants so much to live again with her husband, but it is not likely. She questions if the separate living quarters will affect their relationship. He has the same questions although he comes to see her every after noon.
I have to admit, I see a difference in him. He seems happier and more care free. I understand. Although he loves my sister, he has been a caregiver for a number of years. I hope you and Bill both adjust well to your new living situation.
Hi Glenda, I must admit I do feel more carefree now that I’m relieved of the burden of caring for Bill. I wish I could say he was happier, too. The social worker told me it takes at least a month to adjust to living in such a facility, and it’s been almost a month now. I don’t think he’s giving up, though, and that’s a good thing. Will see what happens as time passes.