Her daughter had a vacation planned, which wasn’t a concern for Betty*, but Susan* simply didn’t feel comfortable leaving her Mom home alone with no one to support her while she traveled. Reluctantly, Betty agreed to stay at Cribbs Residential Center for a 10 day respite stay to allow her daughter peace of mind so she could relax and enjoy her trip. BUT she was adamant that she wished to return home as soon as the trip was over. Betty’s feeling of reluctance toward coming to Cribbs isn’t at all uncommon. Often when a person comes to Cribbs for short or respite stay, they agree only to please their loved one, but inside they are nervous about feeling institutionalized and separated from the life they are accustomed to. Despite all of the encouragement they typically receive about benefits, amenities, activities and services available, they don’t expect to enjoy themselves. After all, change is hard, and there is no place like home….or is there? After Susan’s vacation, she picked Betty up and took her home as promised. Initially, Betty was excited to return to her home of 56 years. But to Susan’s great surprise, Betty called after just a short time and stated, “I can’t stay alone in this house another minute! I want to move to Cribbs.” Susan was stunned, what had changed?
For Betty, it was the realization that at home, she was just too lonely. She needed stimulation, and now that she had experienced this, she wanted it! Before her trial stay she had become used to her daily routine, and she had accepted that this was how things would be at this time in her life. She was unaware how much she missed people and opportunities to be involved. Once home, it was just too quiet and she was keenly aware that there was little to look forward to from day to day. While at Cribbs, she had enjoyed having friends to share meals with, activities to attend and just someone to sit and visit with without having to go anywhere! Life was engaging again. She didn’t have to be alone for long periods of time, or call for a ride, or wonder what she might do today…it was all available to her. At Cribbs, all she had to do was leave her apartment and there was something to do. While she hadn’t realized how much this affected her before, now she was acutely aware, and it totally changed how she felt about making a move. A call was made, an apartment was selected and before she knew it, Betty had settled in to her new home at Cribbs. How does she feel now? Well, there is no doubt that downsizing is an adjustment, and after living over 50 years at the same address, she still has moments that she misses her old home. What she doesn’t miss is eating alone, relying on others or trying to manage a big house and yard. She doesn’t miss the isolation caused by no longer driving and the inability to be social and involved. For Betty, there are far more daily benefits to her decision than there are moments of feeling reflective and that has put a new spring in her step and more joy in her life!
It is not uncommon for a family member to call Wesbury seeking a short stay for a loved one to provide support when they plan to be away or need a break from their support role. We also encourage a “trial” stay when a person is uncertain about committing to a move but would benefit from a personal care environment.
*Please note: Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality and to protect privacy.