As we approached Homeplace today, I could tell Jerry was wondering why we were there. I reminded him of our conversation last night and he remembered. We walked in and the activity room was all decorated for a birthday party, but no one was there. Kathy, the director, came to greet us and sat with us in the living room by the fireplace. Kathy, with her glowing smile, kept Jerry from turning grumpy. In a few minutes, the activity room was beginning to fill with elderly women. I was holding my breath. Then, Ivan came and with his loud, energetic voice, introduced himself to Jerry. Jerry was seated in between Ivan and another quiet gentleman while I decided to be a helper and pass out cupcakes. A fabulous pianist came and started tearing up the keyboard, then Ivan burst into song. He knew every word to every song, then said to Jerry, “Do you know how old I am?” “I’m 100 years old and loving it!” Who could NOT be happy around Ivan. The entire room of people sang to all the oldies. Jerry, still looking like a deer in headlights, kept his skeptical eyes on me, yet, I could see he was enjoying it; even clapping. In fact, after Yankee Doodle Dandy, Jerry shook his fist as if saying, “HERE! HERE!” He had two scoops of chocolate ice cream and made every attempt to sing along. That was a good sign.
After the party, nurse Gerry, asked Jerry if he would take a walk with him. I stayed and helped clean up while the two of them walked back to the memory unit. My fingers were crossed, thinking, “Oh no. This will completely freak him out!” However, in a few minutes, I saw them walking back down the hall and my Jerry was talking away. As we left, Gerry asked Jerry, “Will you come back and see me?” My Jerry, said, “Yeah.”
So there ya have it. It was a thumbs up.
Now, I know it’s going to be an adjustment when my kids see the other residents. Jerry is definitely the youngest person there by 15-20 years. But, where ever I have looked the residents have been much older. Even with that fact, Jerry actually is in a much more declined mental state than many of the residents. I honestly think he will adjust and be happily unaware of the age difference in time.
Just as an aside.....the roommate situation. Remember how I pray for Ivan for a roommate? Well, I’ve been told that could be arranged. How ‘bout that? For now, however, I think we are going to take a companion room and wait to see what who comes in. Ivan is right across the hall. I’ve been told there are two others on the waiting list who are high functioning, so that actually might work better. If not, they will do a musical chair act with the rooms. It’s a win-win.
Thanks for sticking with us.