The population in Adagio, our Adult Family Home is actively in transition. One is moving out to live with her ailing husband in a home closer to their DPOA. She is a very bright woman with only occasional outbreaks of dementia clouding her abilities. The others are incautiously stepping out onto the slippery slope of decline. Fortunately for us they take turns.
Each person exhibits unique symptoms and behaviors. Unlike luggage, there is no such thing as one size fits all. Food changes. Jello camouflaged by whipped cream replaces the rejected fluids. Bowls replace plates. Single menu items replace meat, vegetables and mashed yams or potatoes. Only desserts are consistently popular. Our previous meal times merge on a white board chart that reminds us who ate or drank what when.
Walking is replaced by shuffling behind a walker. Mornings begin in a wheel chair, and some evenings the wheel chair again offers safety to shaky legs.
None of these changes erase the lifetime of contributions these dear ones have given to us. They were the workers for 70 plus years, the church and community volunteers. They supported our country through several wars. They became parents and then caring children to their own aging parents.
Now in their mind they still have work to do. Habits of a lifetime. People are depending on them and they need to get going. If they could only remember where they left their car.
As their failing abilities jettison the contents of their luggage, we stand by holding their memories. As they travel closer to their final destination, we pull the luggage. We remember.