ANN BAILEY: Admiration grows for nursing homeThree years ago this December, my mom, Marcia, moved from the farm near Larimore, N.D., where she had lived for 60 years, into an assisted living apartment at the Good Samaritan Society in Larimore.
Three years ago this December, my mom, Marcia, moved from the farm near Larimore, N.D., where she had lived for 60 years, into an assisted living apartment at the Good Samaritan Society in Larimore. Six months after that, she moved into the nursing home attached to the apartments, and a year and a half later, she died.
Before Mom moved into the assisted living apartment and the nursing home, she lived independently on her farm, caring for the chickens and her cats. She drove into town a couple of times a week to go to the beauty shop and grocery store, and she went with me and my siblings’ families to visit friends, to church and to school functions. When she moved into the assisted living apartment in December 2009, her plan was to spend the winter there and return to the farm in the summer.
Change in plans
But in late May 2010, my mom had congestive heart failure, so instead of returning to the farm, she moved into the nursing home. It was the last place I wanted her to be.
It wasn’t that I had anything against the Good Samaritan Society, it’s just that I didn’t want my mom to be in “the home.” I wished she could be on the farm, taking care of herself, her poultry and feline charges just the way she always had. I wanted her to be busy and active, visiting friends and spending time with me and my family. I didn’t want her to be in a place with a strict schedule telling her when she had to rise in the morning, when to eat her meals, go to bed and little, if anything, to do in-between.
After visiting my mom at the Good Samaritan for a few weeks, though, my view of life in the nursing home began to change. I realized that there were plenty of activities for Mom to do. There was cookie baking, outings in the country and picnic dinners, to name a few. Even more important, I saw how dedicated the nurses and nursing assistants were to giving my mom and the other residents good care. I saw that the staff members geared their schedules to the residents, and not the other way around.
During the next year and a half, as Mom became weaker and more frail, my admiration for the Good Samaritan staff grew. It was evident that they had the skills to give her the kind of care I could not, no matter how much I wanted to. And as my mom’s life journey entered its final days in September 2011, the staff were kind, gentle and compassionate, treating her as they would a member of their own family. At the same time, they were understanding, supportive and sympathetic to me and my siblings. When she died, the staff had a bedside memorial for my mom — held our hands and cried with us.
In a good place
As a Catholic Christian, I don’t believe in pre-destination, but I do believe that God guides us along the path of life and that we can choose to ignore the signs he gives or we can heed them. I believe that one of the signs he showed me was that Good Samaritan-Larimore was a wonderful care facility. I feel good about working there. If Mom had not gone to the nursing home, I wouldn’t have witnessed firsthand what an excellent facility it is and wouldn’t have considered employment there.
Because Mom lived at Good Samaritan Society-Larimore, I not only knew that it was the kind of place I could work for with pride, it erased my fears of someday having to move to a nursing home myself. Now, I know that it will be the best place for me if there comes a time in my life that I need it.
Reach Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.