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When my sisters and I knew mother needed a care center, we figured she'd stay in her room, read her paper, and watch tv, just like at home. She was never one to join in on events in her senior building. She liked going to bingo at a casino with her sister, but never went to the local bingo nights downstairs.

We thought a little stimulation would be good for her, so the four of us decided to keep an eye on the NH events calendar and show up for things we thought she might like, and go with her.

Well, apparently as her dementia has deepened she has forgotten that she likes to keep to herself. This week I called the NH to find out if they were still dealing with the flu or if their chili cook-ff event was still on for Wednesday. Oh yes, I was assured. They are back to their schedule. And by the way, your mother signed up and you'd be welcome to join her.

So much for coaxing her out of her shell!

She goes to pretty much every thing she is invited to. "Do you want to hear the accordion player now?" Sure! "When the dogs are visiting this afternoon, do you want them to come to your room?" Yes! "We are making bracelets at 2:00. I'll come and get you, OK?" OK. The staff is very good about trying to include everyone, and Mom goes right along with the program.

No kidding. She isn't always sure where she is, but she is no longer anxious about how she is getting home. She has learned to relax and trust that she'll be brought to the dining room for meals and there are fun things to do.

She reads the paper every day. She can't write well enough to do crosswords anymore, but she always has a magazine to read. She still watches television, but much less than she did at home.

We are all amazed. And glad.

I can't say that everyone settles into the NH this way. Her first roommate sat in the room and sulked most of the time. Our family always tried to include her but she declined to go to bingo or special outings, etc.

Mother has been in the NH 9 months. three of those were on Hospice -- she improved dramatically and "graduated" out. She now seems very content.

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Jeanne, I work in assisted living and see this scenario frequently and not only with dementia residents. Many elderly are living at home with depression due to lack of stimulation of being in a peer group, lack of activity and no feeling of purpose. I see our residents blossom to feeling like themselves when they can laugh, dance, sing, shop, eat and share with others in their own peer group and community environment. Great job getting her somewhere where she is enjoying her golden years!
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I just love your mother, Jeanne. She's the mom we wish we all had.
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A beautiful story with a happy turn of events.
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