The Journey Begins
My journey with finding an Assisted Living Community for Mom started in January of 2009 when she fell at her home. Fortunately she sustained minor injuries but it opened my eyes to how she was really living. At the time I was able to have someone come into her home for 3 hours 5 days a week to help her with light cleaning, getting in and out of the shower and running errands. As you can imagine that was a total waste of funds! You know how stubborn Mom could be and she would tell the aide not to clean, wash or do anything so nothing was done. However, it underscored the reality that she needed to be in an assisted living community and could no longer live by herself. Since my job takes me out of town on a weekly basis I needed to know Mom would be safe and she was no longer safe by herself.
I looked at three facilities in the Columbia with good reputations but I didn’t feel comfortable in them and I knew if I wasn’t comfortable Mom wouldn’t be either. It was February by now and I was beside myself trying to decide what to do. Kate Vos, my senior care consultant, suggested I look at Jenni-Lynn. She told me that she was always impressed with the staff when she came to visit clients and that it just felt “homey”. My husband and I came by for a visit that very weekend and met with Beverly. The minute we walked in the doors I knew Jenni-Lynn was the place I wanted my Mom to live. It was perfect – a house dog, outside house cat, warm and inviting! You see I would be taking away my Mom’s dog, car and house all at the same time when I moved her. (Her dog was a seven year old Wire-Haired Fox Terrier that had never been disciplined otherwise I would have brought him with her.) Room 43 was perfect – she could look out and see trees and watch birds at the bird feeder if she wished. Next we decorated the room and put as many personal touches in it as possible.
Having known Mom you can imagine what my next obstacle was – getting her to Jenni-Lynn. I knew there would be no reasoning that it was the best thing for her because I had tried that 2 years before without success. So the only way was to spring it on her. Our master plot was to get her to go to lunch with us for my husband’s birthday (he conveniently has a birthday on April 4th and we moved her in on April 6th). Well she was having nothing of it and I had to call 911 to get her out of her house. You see the house was a biohazard. She wasn’t willing/able to walk her dog frequently and no fences were allowed in her gated community so the dog used the house as his rest room. It wasn’t the best day of my life! Mom was spitting mad and she cursed us quite a bit (to put it mildly). My heart broke that day but I knew it was the best thing for her.
It took her about two weeks but being the smart woman she was and a survivor she realized it was the best thing for her! She would tell me that no one should live by themselves. She had friends now and folks to talk to. She became close to Mrs. Garvin and really enjoyed helping her and being friends. She had friends and people to help so she felt useful. There was music and dancing on a regular basis. There was Bible study, exercise classes and she even became quite a bingo player! Through the years she truly became to consider Jenni-Lynn as her home. When we would go on trips or even just out to lunch she was always excited to get back “home”.
She lived very comfortably for 3 years at Jenni Lynn and then she started to eat less than what was normal for her. She started to lose a lot of weight. I thought it was because her teeth were in bad shape so I took her to the dentist for dentures. I wanted to make sure she had functioning teeth to eat with. As it turns out she just didn’t want to eat anymore. She was never a good eater and always a picky eater but this was something different. Then she started to get confused and fell in her room. Mom’s fall landed us in the Lexington Memorial ED for a 12 hour visit and subsequent hospital stay with pelvic and rib fractures. When I realized she may never fully recover from her fractures I abided by her wishes for no heroics and to keep her comfortable and pain free. I was so scared that I would have to move her from Jenni-Lynn to a nursing home, but with the assistance of Hospice, Jenni-Lynn let Mom come back home. For awhile she still continued to be the fighter I knew but she finally gave up the fight and went home to God on 10/21/2012.
The Jenni-Lynn Family
I always knew the Jenni-Lynn staff was friendly and Mom liked them but I never really experienced how wonderful they are until the last weeks of my Mom’s life. When she came back from the hospital everyone was on a mission to get her to eat something and to get her out of bed. I was fortunate to be able to work from home for awhile. Many times when I would arrive at Jenni-Lynn a staff member would be in Mom’s room sitting with her and holding her hand. She was checked on frequently and everyone bent over backwards to make her things to eat even though she wouldn’t eat them once they were prepared. I will be forever grateful for the loving care I witnessed during this time.
I have always thought that Jenni-Lynn is a top notch assisted living community for a loved one. I can attest to it by having moved my father-in-law into Jenni-Lynn as well as recommending it to friends for their loved ones. I have also had fellow church members who came to visit Mom tell me how lucky I was that she was living there because it was so nice. I will be forever grateful for the care you provide my Mother and your support after she went home to God!