When Betty was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease we were living in a downsized, one-level home. As time moved on and cognitive ability continued to fail, it became apparent that we would need to move. She was not willing so I finally told her that “I needed to move” and that she should come with me.
We began searching the area for retirement communities. My parameters were: close to family and, if possible, within our city of University Place. We visited a number of communities and all were nice but had drawbacks. When we found Narrows Glen we liked what we saw and began regular visits to experience the lifestyle and get Betty used to the surroundings. We attended social hours and different activates for 6 months total where Betty was also able to meet many very friendly residents. The residents and staff were really the deciding factor, however, the physical plant and the landscaped grounds certainly added to the mix. So, we moved into a two-bedroom unit. It had a patio and a garden area that appealed to me. It was also very close to the main parlor and the Rose Garden.
My passion has been gardening. After moving in, I got involved in the Garden Club and was quickly put in charge. I started to care for and nurture the Rose Garden and then the Dalia Gardens, Resident Gardens, etc. A plant/grow room was assigned to me, which I took to like a “duck to water.” The next thing I knew, I was elected President of the Residence Association. This has been an interesting experience and has put me in closer contact with management and residents. I am an advocate for the residents and work closely with the management for the betterment of all. There are so many activities available for residents that there is something for everyone, from trips to Wii Sports to various outings. All make living at Vintage a great experience.
As Betty’s disease progressed, it became necessary for me to move her to the Memory Care area, as I could no longer give her the care that she needed. Again we visited before the move to view the surroundings and get better acquainted with the surroundings and staff. Some of our family was not ready for the move and some were upset with me for “just doing it,” but they stepped up and one of them took Betty out for about two hours while the others prepared her new apartment. When she was brought to the new apartment many of her favorite pictures and belongings were in place. This was their way of trying to make her feel more at home. She has adjusted well and seems happy, has made many friends and is close so that I can visit frequently. The rest of the family is happier now and actively visiting as well.
The staff is just remarkable in what they do. The staff is familiar with all the idiosyncrasies of the residents and they know how to deal with them. For example, if I go to visit and it is time for me to leave, Betty doesn’t usually want to say goodbye. Immediately the staff will interject and get Betty actively helping them with another project so that she can be diverted – something that I can’t do on my own.
We have never looked back at the decision to move to Narrows Glen and it has made everything so easy. It was the right move for us and the timing was good.
This post was written by Don Bishop who is a resident at Narrows Glen, a Vintage Senior Living community located in Tacoma, Washington.