Family of Lorraine Barber

My sister and I began to notice since April at Mom’s 90th birthday party, a real decline in her ability to remember or recognize familiar people. She had been repeating herself often during weekly phone conversations even before this time. It became apparent this summer, especially due to the effects of lock down and isolation, a lack of participating in activities at Wintergreen. She was sleeping more during the day. Also, a decline with cleanliness in the kitchen, bathroom and the apartment in general. She was negligent with her medications, contributing to her mental health.

Her dementia become more noticeable with doctor visits as she was not able to concentrate. With the doctor’s recommendation, we hired a nurse from Wintergreen to assist with her medications. We began talking more about the possibility of moving her to assisted living. The doctor, the administrator of Wintergreen and her attending medication nurse agreeing we decided it was time. Pine Ridge notified my sister of a room available August 1, and we decided this was great timing. We wanted a safe place for her, care givers she would need and an environment to get her active again.

The Pine Ridge and Wintergreen administration were so helpful suggesting we use a gentle and swift transition to avoid confusion, anger and a sense of loss. The staff worked with us to make the move smooth. That Monday, August 2, we scheduled movers to assist with furniture while my sister and my wife took Mom shopping while we moved. All was completed by noon, we met for lunch and then explained to her our important decision. With the four of us gathered around a table, holding her hands, I told her we have a very important decision to talk about. I said we all love her and want her to be safe. I continued to tell her she will be moving to a safer apartment where she will receive 3 meals a day, continued help by her medication nurse and opportunities to be with others. She asked when this would happen and I said it is done, you are moved. There was a moment of tears, a little anger and a slight amount of confusion as she realized she could be happy anywhere. We reassured her she has shown from the past to be is a strong person. When we arrived at Pine Ridge, the staff had been expecting her (and us). They were very gentle, very helpful and reassuring to her during the check in period. Once she entered her new apartment, she smiled and noticed her furniture and items familiar to her. She toured her living area, bedroom and bath and said she could live here comfortably. What a relief! Other staff came by to introduce themselves and got involved with her immediately. As we continued to decorate her room, she felt more at home. Eventually, she was invited to dinner by the staff and ushered into the dining room where she met other residents. It appeared she had been accepted. We left as she was dining and could see her interacting with those at her table. We felt very satisfied and relieved. The next morning, she mentioned she slept well, had breakfast, and told us she felt very comfortable in Pine Ridge. In speaking to her over the last few weeks, she expressed her happiness at being in Pine Ridge. From my sister and myself and our spouses, THANK YOU for how you helped guide us to make this difficult decision the correct decision.

– From the Family of Lorraine Barber; Mike Barber and Jean Ann Becken

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