Friday, December 6, 2013

The Move to Assisted Living

This series of reprinted posts is a tribute to my mother, Esther Tamara Rukasin Annis, who died on December 5, 2013. 
Fresh posts will resume sometime soon.  For now, I hope you'll spend the time with us as we remember our mom.

You get what you pay for. The "2 guys and a truck" were exactly that - and they were 6 hours late, too. But G'ma is moved into her pod-castle, and nothing was broken or lost during the move. I probably should've checked the apartment before we left, but G'ma was in the car and it was already 4pm and I was tired. Very very tired. And she doesn't have to vacate the Old Folks Home space until mid-September, so I have time to dispose of the detritus left behind.

I'm guessing that architects of pod-castles have determined that residents in Assisted Living spend most of their time in the bedroom. G'ma's is huge, with a picture window framing the mountains and the sunset. All of her bedroom furniture and some of the living room furniture fits comfortably. The living room space is another story entirely. She's watching tv at an angle, there's no getting out onto the patio without moving an arm-chair, and that 27" tv really should be a flat screen instead of jutting out into the room like an elephant's trunk. But she's safe and her immediate surroundings are familiar and those were my main goals.

And I'm exhausted. Fell asleep on the couch at 9:15 last night (hence the delay in publishing this post) and woke up at 4am grinding my teeth and panicked. With nothing to which I could attach my heebie-jeebies (a great word from childhood which does not get enough use in adulthood) I felt like an idiot - but an awake idiot. She's in. The move is done. The major pieces we left behind have been spoken for. What am I worrying about?

The caregivers in the pod-castle were responsive and kind and remembered G'ma's name and told her they wer glad she had come to join them. There was a 20-something volunteer perkily volunteering. The med-tech had issues with the punctuation on a medicine bottle's label (omitting the period between do not crush and open capsule and mix with applesauce leads to an interpretation requiring G'ma to swallow a capsule the size of her pinkie --- the whole pinkie --- instead of snacking on an applesauce/potassium fruit cup 3 times a day) and no one seemed to want me to write a check for her rent, but other than that the pod-castle was exactly as advertised. The residents were friendly, the big screen tv in the rec room has an easily understood remote, and dinner, though served earlier than she'd have liked, was "good.... interesting.... good." The morning staff will bring her a breakfast tray at 10am, and it will be just what she's been eating for the past 40 years. "OOOH, that will be lovely."

I left notes everywhere, reminding her that she's in her new home and reiterating the process which will bring help to her suite. I never lost my patience when she asked (every 15 minutes) "Why am I moving?" I connected her tv (though I lost the remote) and found Star Trek for her to watch. I laid her nightgown and bathrobe and slippers on the bed. Her laundry hamper is just where she wanted it to be and her clocks are all re-set to the right time.

So why is my stomach in knots this morning?

As we were falling asleep last night, TBG murmured "You're a good daughter. You know that, don't you?" Yes, I know that. I just wish the status didn't come with so much angst.

First published August 4, 2009)


  1. Sending our love.... The Cheeses xoxo

  2. My thoughts/prayers are with you as you go through this next change.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. Those of us who read you over the years have come to love her too. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  4. Echoing what has been said, I am sorry for you loss but thank you for sharing your mom with us. TBG is right, you are a good daughter.

    Thoughts, prayers and hugs to you.


  5. Love and hugs to you and deepest condolences for your loss. You and your mom were so blessed to have each other. Prayers for you and your family.

  6. What else are we called to do but love and care for each other? No matter the age, losing a parent is one of life's great heart aches. Peace to you and all of your family at this sad time. Fran

  7. Sent you a private note. Totally heartbroken!

    Feels like we all lost G'ma.

    Megan xxx

  8. I'm teary and surrounded by your love. Thank you all. You did know my mommy, didn't you? This is much harder than I imagined it would be, and travel is not making it any easier. I'm taking notes and will write about this phase, too.

    Not now, though. For now, I'm finishing the planning/packing and then going to go into full on mourning mode.

    THANKS for being here for me, denizens. You soothe my soul.


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