Assisted Living 101: Red!

20180107_162125957370457.jpgMost apartments where people come and go are painted in neutral colors – beiges and browns, as in Mom’s apartment at Water’s Edge. There are beautiful dark brown cabinets, doors and baseboards, a light brown carpet and vinyl hard flooring. The minute mom saw it she was planning how she would fix it up. It needed some punch, and the punch was going to be red.

Red carnage begins.

The week before she moved she designated a rocking chair that would go there with her, whose outward façade would never be the same. I got in on the decorating fever and found a twin bed headboard and footboard at the ReStore. We put plastic down on the garage floor, obtained some of Walmart’s red spray paint and Mom went to work. Painting all those skinny spindles on the chair and headboard produced a lot of overspray. (Think “how to make your garage look like the scene of an axe murder” or “how to get pink hair for $3.89”). But she really liked the results, most of them (not so much the pink hair).

Moving day was last Friday, and has continued in increments since then. Having her former residence only a mile or so away has some advantages, because we forgot quite a few things at first.  Most of the cute, red stuff is here.

Moving day! The SUV was so full we had to put a basket between us in the front. I’m not really that excited – I’m freezing. It was minus 12 F. and snowed the day before.

Another way that Water’s Edge assists its tenants is in the safety department, and I said I would mention a few of those features in this post. Inside Mom’s entry door is this notification system that they ask her to use each day. 20180114_213513326780616.jpgShe presses the “check in “ button by 10 am just to let staff know she is doing fine and doesn’t need them. “Help” doesn’t have to mean she’s dying, just that she would like some help, duh. She can use it anytime, even if it’s just to get the TV hooked up, or a picture hung, or a question answered. There are also call buttons in the bathroom.

Sign out book, which we forgot to use the first night out. They forgave us. We’re new here.

Tenants here come and go as they please, but the outside entrance is locked at 8:30 pm and must be opened by staff after that time. They like to know who is out and when they are coming back, so there is a sign out book that keeps staff informed.  It’s not a jail by any means. Mom has an outside patio door on the ground floor and could get out anytime if she wished, but security is important for everyone living here and cooperative living means rules.


I’ve been getting some interesting comments on this series and want to sum things up in the next post by addressing some of what I’m hearing.



Moving Day


Yes, it’s the day.   The family that has been with us in our house since the beginning of the month will get the key to their new home today. Except for the few days when the septic system backed up, it has gone seamlessly, and even that was taken in stride.

I have loved having someone to help with meals. Loved listening to the sounds of kids riding their bikes in the drive.  Loved the discussions around the table.  Loved watching a family of six function efficiently under unusual  and sometimes challenging circumstances.  Yesterday, after breakfast, I found a clean table and this little line up of bowls, left by the children on the kitchen counter. It typifies some of the disciplines in place that have made them easy house guests. The husband and I will miss them.

They are up early. Dad has started a new job and leaves by 7. Mom and the four children usually start school (at home) by 8, but today they are packing up and will have a different schedule. I will help with the move. Mom Amy and I are picking up a trailer, loading it from their storage locker and driving all their stuff down to the new house. I am mentally reviewing my rusty trailer backing skills. Actually, I’m thinking of all the ways I might be able to avoid backing up.

Whereas it might have seemed a little daunting – to have invited in a group three times larger than the house was used to – it felt right from the start. It’s another one of those common occurrences that I attribute to God’s leading. He is good at making provision in circumstances where we feel a little “out of control”.  His timing is excellent. How else does a family go from closing on a sale of their own house, moving to temporary quarters, house hunting and completing a purchase with a closing date in less than three weeks? How else was this experience so peaceful and agreeable to everyone? Yes, good work God.

It is an exciting day for them. Shiloh, the youngest gives me a hug and agrees it is exciting, “and sad” he adds. Exciting and sad. I think that describes a lot of life. Just sayin’…