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A Difficult Visit

by TerriAnn

It is so sad when your loved ones get older and reach the point where outside home health care is the only option. We had a chance to visit my last surviving grandparent last month and it was a difficult visit full of mixed emotion.

My grandmother, for as long as I can remember, has always been kind and enjoyable. Even as she got older, it was always a pleasure to visit her. It was so special that my aunt brought her to our house soon after our daughter was born. I never got to meet any of my great-grandparents so I was glad my daughter could overlap her great-grandmother’s life.

Great-grandmother meeting her great-granddaughter for the first time

Soon after, though, her health began to deteriorate and it was apparent my grandmother needed in home care. She could no longer do things alone and needed someone there to help perform general assistance, cleaning, and to prevent her from falling or hurting herself otherwise. This worked out for many years although it was a challenge for my aunt to find a trustworthy person to fulfill this need. As dementia and signs of Alzheimer’s Disease set in and worsened, my grandmother was put into  local home health care. This place was very good but my grandmother was unhappy and always trying to escape. After a while here, she went back to her little San Francisco apartment and new options had to be explored.

Due to miscommunication and difficulty in circumstances, I was not able to visit my grandmother for quite a while. My sisters and I often wondered how she was and missed being able to stop by, give her a hug, and chat with her about the old Chinese movies she loved to watch or her latest knitted quilt. We were happy to find out that for the past year, my grandmother had been living in a new nursing home and we were able to see her again. She had no idea who I was, let alone my daughter. It was hard to hold back the pain of seeing how much she had aged (now 96 years old) and her being bent over in her chair, wearing cushioned headgear to prevent injury. Still, we were so happy to see her and her beautiful smile again!

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