Rebecca Jefferies, Executive Director, The Blake at Colonial Club
“I’m not leaving my home!” she insisted as she walked back into the kitchen, leaving her daughters looking at each other helplessly.
Their mother was so proud of the forever home she and their father built together. She kept it immaculate. Its glory days saw parties, card games, baby showers, grandkid sleepovers, holiday dinners and, most often, the casual cup of coffee brewed for a conversation with a friend over the kitchen table. Now, their mother lived in the house alone and struggled to keep it up.
The sisters worried about their mother; but most of all, they missed her. They missed the light in her eyes and the news about one friend or another. They missed her infectious laugh and her funny remarks. They knew it was time to do something. The house was just too much for mom to manage.
So many families experience this interaction—or something similar. During our working years, we build homes we love and enjoy, suited to our tastes and lifestyles. Often, as those lifestyles and our abilities change with age, our houses no longer suit our needs. Yet, we struggle with strong attachment to the place we’ve called home. We forget that houses cannot love us back, pick us up when we fall, or provide company when we’re lonely.
Houses are structures where we live and store our belongings. A home is where we feel loved, find joy, share meals, and experience life. As we age out of our much-loved houses, options like assisted living provide rich opportunities for new friendship, memory-making experiences and peace of mind. Once parents have an opportunity to process the emotions that come with the decision to downsize, they almost always find joy at the end of their adjustment. They find a place that feels like home.
Fast forward a few months, and we find our daughters sitting in the café having a cup of coffee with their mom and her new friends. The tears and frustration of that first conversation are forgotten as they share laughs and talk about the upcoming evening event—including what they plan to wear. Their mother’s humor and personality shine as she regales her friends with stories from the girls’ high school years. Assisted living has given their mother the chance to experience life in a new way—and brought back everything the girls have missed about mom.
Even after losing the ability to keep a house, home can still be found. We see residents discover that familiar feeling of home every day at The Blake. They find it in a happy greeting from friends at the lunch table. In calls or visits from their neighbors, to check in when a resident misses an event. In old friends finding each other again after many years. Or, in the satisfaction of attending an art class and finishing a painting.
At The Blake, residents experience a sense of home and belonging that they couldn’t have had alone in a house. If someone you love is struggling in their house, give us a call and let us help them discover a home at The Blake.