The Daily EO: April 19th, 2013

I’ve touring retirement residences with my grandma and aunt of late.  My grandma is going through a 3 year journey where she is recognizing the increasing problems walking are not likely to change.  She has lived with the hope that her problems in her legs were strictly due to a lupus flare-up and would improve with time.  Nobody – including me – was to keen on telling her that although the lupus causes some problems but it was more likely due to a combination of age and lupus and was not going to get better.

She’s leaned on my aunt’s arm and life for almost 3 years now, struggling to accept that grocery shopping, taking care of everything herself and walks on her beloved quay boardwalk are no longer easy or always pleasant tasks.

So, when she had a bit of a melt down with me one day during the simple discussion of a birthday present, I knew something else was really the root cause of her upset.  When she told me “that we don’t do things like that in our side of the family” – excluding me from my her and my dad’s side – I knew she was fighting anger and frustration and sadness and despair in the realization that things were not going to get much better.

Fortunately, I recognized that instead of her meaning that I was out of the family – she really needed direction on how to start considering other living arrangements.  And being the direct type that I am – I told her that it is time for fact-finding – not decisions – just facts.  Then she could start crystallizing things in her head.  As I always say – “Have a plan – you’ll feel better.”

So, we toured two places – Thornebridge and Mullberry – both within 15 minutes of where she is living now to see their offerings.  The first day was quite emotional for her and “simply overwhelming”.  But she was “impressed”.   The second tour was less emotional, and different and “closer to her doctor” of whom she doesn’t like much (Um?  Okay Grandma).

When I called her today to see how she was doing, she was fixated on whether the first place has window coverings included in part of the rent – as they can be “quite dear”.  And also working on cleaning out her filing cabinet because its “much too big to take”.  This is a step forward from pondering how it could be possible to get her bed out of her condo as it was so big “it was terrible to get in”.

And each time I call her, she is deep into lists and and thinking things through, trying to figure out the best way to make her decision.  She asked me “What do you think of the second place?  But don’t you tell me what do to!”  Really, all things being equal for the most part (price, location, service comparison, etc), I thought the food and the servers at the second one was, well, wretched.  Well, the food was wretched, the server was okay.  My grandma said she didn’t like the server or food too much either, she thought the server at first place was much friendlier and better.  And just in case I didn’t know, she told me it doesn’t matter to her about “ethics”.  Which I took to mean that she believes all people – including those of different ETHNIC backgrounds – are created equal (both servers were of asian descent).

April 19th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Grandma is finding her facts, and is doing much better thanks to having a plan.  And I’m back in the family.


The Daily EO: February 17th, 2013

Today we visited my grandpa in his retirement residence.  We invited ourselves to lunch.  On Sundays it is usually a brunch type offering and today was no different.

I like pancakes just fine – I’ve told you about Pancakes for Dinner.  But I really like pancakes’ cousins:  Waffles and Crepes. (and French toast, but I think that is more of a distant relation).  I mean really,  they are pretty much the same thing but for a slight ingredient change:  more oil for waffles, more water for crepes.

So when grandpa asked we wanted to go out for lunch or eat at home, we queried the menu.  Cream of Asparagus Soup and Belgium Waffles with Whip Cream and Strawberries and a side order of Bacon (low sodium of course).  Go out?!  And miss waffles?  Do you not know me at all, grandpa?

February 17th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary:  Crispy Strawberry Belgium Waffles (though I wonder if a true Belgian made breakfast?)

The Daily EO: October 28th, 2012

The retirement residence that my grandpa lives at serves 2 meals a day – lunch and dinner.  A early morning continental breakfast is served in the breakfast room but many of the residents break the fast in their suites.   Like airplanes and hospitals, the thought of food in a retirement residence pulls up thoughts of industrial, lacking food.  But at the Mulberry, the food is pretty good.

Each day there is a menu, but if you don’t care for the feature, you can opt to have one of the three or so back up meals.  These back up meals change each month as well, so there is ample variety.  And if you want a fried egg or the like, the kitchen will try to get it for you.

Residences can have guests join for meals as well – for an extra fee – so I have eaten a number of meals at Mulberry.

On Sundays, the hot lunch often is breakfast fare recalling leisurely Sunday brunches from years before.

I awoke on Sunday morning with a hankering for scrambled eggs, bacon and toast – a real breakfast.  And when I considered my options, I realized Mulberry was the best bet.  There is always breakfast available and the company is pretty good.

October 28th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:    Double portions for the guests – Mulberry is the best deal in town.

The Daily EO: May 23rd, 2012

We get alot of free newspapers and magazines in Huntsville.  And the latest one is something called “What’s Up Muskoka!”  It is not a hard-hitting newspaper, but it does have editorials and serious stories but mostly is a human interest and event communication medium.  It is delivered through the mail and I picked up our copy today.  This was the picture on the front page (which almost took up the entire sheet):

 The story inside the was concerning as it dealt with the problem of poverty amongst seniors in Muskoka.  It is challenging to meet all of your expenses if you are wholly dependent upon your government pension.   I don’t disagree at all.  Both of my grandparents are secure in their retirement and have pensions from their former employers to see them through.  Our parents also are planning for retirement – saving, and counting on other income beyond Canada Pension.

Not all are as lucky.  And as the article told me, it is estimated that over 1000 senior women live below the poverty line in Muskoka.  A serious issue, considering expenses facing seniors and lack of income options.  Affordable housing is a major problem across Canada – compounded for seniors.   It certainly made me aware of the situation – but this is not what really struck me about this article.

And this has inspired me to write an open letter to my mother and my mother-in-law:

Dear Mom and Toni,

You are loved very much.  And Emile and I will make sure both of you are secure and safe in your old age.  (no, not now, in your OLD age, keep it together for now).  However, if either of you have a full-sized picture published of yourself holding your head in your hands with a quote “I do not depend on my children . . . so as not to strain their resources”, I will leave my brother Todd in charge of your retirement planning.  And you know what that means – you’ll be sharing a single room, eating saltines with past date canned oysters every day while collecting his daily returnable can quota.  So, please let me know there is a problem with your budget before you contact the local media.  We’ll figure out something out no matter what and maybe do the story as a family to highlight the issues.

Yours Sincerely,

Your Favorite Daughter and Favorite Daughter-in-Law, Susan

May 23, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:   Can you imagine opening the newspaper and seeing your despairing mother splashed across the front?  (If you want to see the article, click here.)

Maintenance May Day 23:
Sent a note to What’s Up Muskoka asking how I could help this lady.  (connection)