This week my brother, sister and myself moved my Mom into the Elk’s Home, assisted-living retirement facility in Bedford, VA. Mom and Dad have both been in Pheasant Ridge Rehab center over the last several months, with Dad finishing up therapy about a month before Mom did. Dad moved over to English Meadows Retirement Center (historically known as the Elk’s Home) right before Christmas, while Mom had stayed behind at Pheasant Ridge for another month for additional occupational therapy.
Mom finished up her occupational therapy sessions at Pheasant Ridge rehab center in Roanoke this week, where she had been staying for the last three months. While she is still confined mostly to a wheelchair, she is able to walk slowly a bit with a walker. She will continue therapy at the Elk’s, but will now be with Dad, so she’ll be much happier there. I was amazed one day when I was there to see Mom up and playing ‘ball’ with one of the therapists – she really has come a long way since she broke her hip again; she had also been there a year ago with the other broken hip. The staff at Pheasant Ridge have been outstanding, and genuinely care about each person and the care that Mom and Dad have received their certainly shows. For all of you OT, PT, nurses, aides, activities, and other staff members world-wide, a huge thank you for all you do. You are truly Angels on this earth!
My brother Andy (from Roanoke), and sister Jenni (from Maryland), met me at Pheasant Ridge on Thursday morning and got Mom signed out and ready for the 45 minute drive over to Bedford. As much as Mom didn’t like being in the rehab center, after being there over 3 months, it still felt sad for her (and the staff) seeing her leave, although everyone was happy she had made so much progress over the months. Likewise, my siblings and I had visited her so often over the last few months, we had really gotten to know the staff there as well. Here we are leaving, and Mom saying goodbye to the delightful receptionist, Judy, and one of her OT therapists.
Here is a happy photo of Mom in the car with Jenni as they headed out to the Elk’s home, with me reflected in the window.
I drove my parents car separately so I could transport the wheelchair, walker and some additional items. Heading down the high hilltop from Pheasant Ridge, I took a photo of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
Once at the Elk’s Home (now called English Meadow’s Retirement Center), we got Mom checked in with the required paperwork etc, and met Dad for lunch in the huge dining room. Dad really liked the Elk’s Home at first site, and was eager to show Mom around again, and introduce her to people he has already met. Mom had told us when she saw him on our last visit there, that it was the most relaxed she had ever seen Dad – he really is very happy there, and I think Mom will be too. Here’s a couple photos from Christmas I have posted before of the front entrance and driveway. English Meadows spends some three months putting up all the Christmas decorations, and a few were still up in late January.
We had lunch in the dining room at Dad’s assigned table, before unloading the car with Mom’s clothes and other items. The dining room is large and grand with high ceilings, murals, large tables, and old-time chandeliers which gives a class to this 100 + year old room.
Here we are at the table with Dad and Jenni, Mom and Dot (one of their two other table-mates), and Andy, Jenni and myself.
After lunch we started unloading the car, and taking Mom’s things up to her 2nd floor apartment, but not before having a Starbucks in the large activities room, where some ladies were baking cookies! I spoke to the Assistant Director there, and told her Mom would love to do that, and she informed me about the myriad of activities they have available for the residents. I’m hoping Mom will take up drawing or painting again which she did over 20 years ago.
Back at Mom and Dad’s room, we added some pictures to the walls, including this canvas I had taken of the family (on top) and one of Mom’s original paintings she had done back in the mid 90’s.
Jenni helped to organize Mom’s clothes as well as the kitchenette. While all of their meals are included at English Meadows, Mom and Dad want to have a light breakfast in their room, so we got them some pastries, coffee, juice etc, allowing them to sleep in a bit in the morning should they choose to do so. She also brought a few photo frames she had assembled over the years, and arranged in one of the 8 window ledges in the room, as well as a photo calendar she made shown here below the clock.
Jenni, Andy, and I also put together this wall-hanging photo collage of recent photos which we put in the living room, and Jenni even got a Valentine’s heart for the front door.
While Andy had to leave to go back to Roanoke mid-afternoon, Jenni and I stayed until the 5:30pm dinner, where we briefly sat with them before they got served. We wanted Mom to enjoy meeting her new table-mate friends Edderly and Dot, and as we had met them both several times, we knew she would be happy sitting with them. We had a group photo taken of us before we headed out on the 45 minute drive back to Roanoke.
As Jenni and I were leaving Elk’s for what might be several weeks now due to work schedules, we initially felt a bit sad; like my parents must have felt when dropping us off at school the first time. We stopped to wave by from outside the dining room, and saw that my parents, and the two ladies at their table were holding hands, and Dad lead them in prayer before eating. They didn’t see us, but I took a photo, and both Jenni and I left feeling like it was a sign from God; that we had made the right choice in moving them there, and they would all be in good hands. We left feeling happy for them, as I know they will be, and they do as well.