Jameson: A gentle room for Mom
January 2, 2016 - accent chair
The room we was about to pierce my 93-year-old mom into lay as unclothed as a newborn. But furnishing a one-bedroom vital area was a slightest of my worries. That was one charge we could handle.
What we wasn’t feeling so positive about were a many unknowns that went with a act of relocating Mom, who has dementia, who is in a wheelchair and who sees a universe in indeterminate ways (“Are we going to propagandize now?”) from California to Florida.
Mom hadn’t been out of a memory caring core in Los Angeles given Dad’s wake dual years ago. My brother, who was assisting with a send-off, and we had no idea how she would conflict to a outward world, how we would get her in and out of a automobile nor how she would get by airfield confidence and on a plane. We also didn’t know either she would humour a “transfer trauma” her elder caring experts warned about or either she would settle into her new place, regardless of how good we flashy it.
So, like each other time in my life when we felt out of control, we got bustling decorating.
Mom would be here (Please, God!) in dual days. My idea was to emanate a space where she would feel during home in a place she had never been. we wanted her room to feel uninformed nonetheless familiar, comforting though not crowded.
I arrived with 4 boxes my hermit had shipped. That this was all she had left was a unhappy service — unhappy since her element life had boiled down to what could fit into 4 boxes and a suitcase, and a service since we didn’t have some-more to contend with.
The sanatorium bed we systematic arrived. we positioned it subsequent to a window, that ignored a garden. we lonesome a bed with a dark yellow matelasse comforter and, underneath that, fine-grade string sheets in powder blue, her favorite color.
I placed a kindly used dresser in one corner, an upholstered armchair in another. On a floor, we rolled a wall-to-wall needle indicate runner cumulative with runner tape. Then we emptied a boxes.
As we rubbed a photos, a pieces of art she desired and a outfits we remembered her wearing on occasions both special and ordinary, we felt that informed ache. I’d encountered these same sentimental feelings a few years ago when we privileged out my parents’ home of roughly 50 years. The emotions squeeze we by a ankles like a clever riptide melancholy to take we to a ocean’s darkest depths.
Many of we came along as we chronicled that tour in this column, that became a book, “Downsizing a Family Home — What to Save, What to Let Go” (Sterling Publishing), entrance out subsequent week.
What we didn’t know when we wrote a final section of that book was that we wasn’t done, that there would be another move.
I put Mom’s garments in her new closet and folded and tucked them into drawers. On a dresser, we displayed family photos. On a wall, we hung a shade box of her framed medals from her days as a World War II army nurse, a favorite oil portrayal and art she had collected when she and my father lived in France in a early 1960s — all images that would fasten her to her life.
The subsequent day, we boarded a plane, my carry-on packaged with hope, and returned with my mother, wide-eyed: “Where are all these people going?” she kept seeking as we trafficked a freeways and navigated a airport.
When we took off into a large different blue, she suspicion we were carrying an earthquake. we hold her hand.
“We don’t have earthquakes in Florida,” we positive her.
Eight hours later, we wheeled her into her room, where she marveled during how her cinema had gotten there, and we marveled during how we had gotten there. we sat with her surrounded by ruins of her prolonged life until she fell defunct on a cloud of powder blue sheets, and we let out a whine as prolonged as time.
Before we flashy mom’s new room, we review tips from elder-care experts and kept a following in mind:
Edit to a essence. While it’s tantalizing to keep too much, prune down your desired one’s effects to a essentials but losing their essence.
Recall a familiar. Re-create a demeanour and feel of your desired ones’ prior home within a proportions of a new space, regulating their belongings.
Don’t crowd. Mind a mantra “function first.” Clogged closets and pressed dressers don’t help. we wanted to make bland acts of vital simple, and make certain a caregivers who would assistance Mom dress each day had room. Put frequently used equipment in places easy to access.
Simple seating. Entertaining visitors can take place in a common areas. In a room, one chair or a tiny loveseat might be enough.
Clear a way. Safety is a priority, so transparent a area for walkers, canes or wheelchairs. Control cords and secure rugs.
Add comfortable light. Overhead lighting never offers a same regard as a lamp. Find a place for a station flare or list lamp.
Color control. You expected will be stranded with bland-colored walls and no window treatments, so supplement regard with color. Choose soothing, agreeable colors over clever ones, and avoided bustling patterns, that can upset those with dementia.
Add pleasing touches. Soften a vicinity with fabrics that feel good. Accent a chair with a velvet pillow. Mom appreciates a soothing weave shawl around her shoulders, and a quilted chuck during a feet of her bed.
Syndicated columnist Marni Jameson is a author of dual home and lifestyle books, and “Downsizing a Family Home — What to Save, What to Let Go,” from Sterling Publishing.