Home Is Where The Heart Is
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Home Is Where The Heart Is




Two years ago my mother passed away. For a number of weeks she was in the hospital progressively getting worse. Finally she seemed to stabilize. But it was evident that she would not be coming home - at best going into a nursing care facility.


My father and mother had spent the best part of 60 years together. They would do everything together. Even when Dad had to travel on business he made sure that Mum was with him.


So when it became evident that Mum was not coming home he came to us and said "I don't want to live alone any longer". He was 90 years old but as healthy as my wife or I. Dad simply wanted some family around. We naturally told him that he could move in with us (my wife is a saint).


Whenever we were going to be away for dinner we made sure that Dad had some place to go or someone to check on him. He even came with us on a cruise to the Panama Canal.


However this time was different. We were planning a Mediterranean cruise that was going to be very busy. And this cruise vacation had been postponed for two years. It was originally to be for our 35th anniversary.


So we needed to make arrangements for Dad.


A new retirement home opened up in our town. Dad knew the facility well. Through business he spent a good deal of time entertaining businessmen there. The building was originally built as a hotel/motel.


My wife and I checked out the facility. It was perfect. He would have a great room with an on-suite bathroom. A door exited on to a patio overlooking the park. He could take his usual walks around the river but now he could start right from his door without the usual car ride.


There were always snacks and drinks available in the dining room. A new menu was available every day for meals. There was nursing staff on duty 24/7 (even thought he didn't need it). That was a reassuring factor.


He could check in and stay as little or as long as he wanted so it was no problem for him to go for the two weeks that we would be away.


And to top things off, they would allow him to bring along our pet Wheaten Terrier, Indy who had immediately taken dad under his wing. They were inseparable. (Did I mention that the facility was perfect?)


We broached the subject of going to the facility with Dad. He was a little reluctant but understood that all we wanted was the peace-of-mind that he would be well cared for. He eventually agreed to take a look at the River Garden to see what he thought.


A couple of weeks later he came to us and said that he thought that he would try it out.


The day we were to leave for the airport we took Dad with his suitcase to the River Garden. We had breakfast with him there before checking him in. Everything was looking great.


We knew that Dad had a little anxiety with the unknown but we thought that he would lose that once he met the other residents.


A couple of days into our Mediterranean cruise we heard by email and skype that Dad had moved back home. Fortunately, our son and his family had moved into our house because they were renovating their home.


Our son helped Dad check out. When they were to leave River Garden, Dad told the people there that they were great and that the facility was wonderful. He simply needed to get back with family after having done everything with Mum for so long.


When we found out we were devastated and worried that things at home would become too chaotic for our son and his wife with their two infant sons). However, as it turns out we had nothing to worry about.


No matter what we try to do to make things better or more comfortable for our elders the old saying stands true "Home is where the heart is". At 91 years old, for Dad, home was with family and that's where he wanted to be.




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