There’s Always Hope!!

Right after Mom’s 81st birthday in February 2010 I put her name on the Waiver Registry List in Prince George’s County, Maryland for services to help with the financial cost of her care. I’d hoped that her stay on the waiting list would be relatively short because at the end of 2010 Mom would run out of her savings that I was using to pay for the balance of the monthly cost of her care that her retirement check didn’t cover.

Imagine my shock when I learned that this was absolutely NOT going to be a short stay on the list because there were more than 23,700 people on the list ahead of us! I began paying for the balance of Mom’s rent in Jan of 2010 and then added the additional cost of her incontinence supplies in mid-2016. Like most children of elderly parents I had not budgeted for contributing for the cost of Mom’s Care! But thankfully in addition to having an amazing job, I have my book sales and speaking engagements to offset the cost of Mom’s care. I know how lucky we are because so many people aren’t in this position!

Over the years while we were on the waiting list, the Department of Aging would check in to see if we still wanted to be considered for services. Of course I said YES! Fast forward 8 years to Jan of 2018. I received a call requesting an initial assessment of Mom for services!! Holy Cow!! Could we be getting near the top of the list??? No one would confirm, BUT in April of this year I finally received the letter I’d been waiting for!! It was now time for us to be considered for eligibility for services!

But the process was no cakewalk by any means!! There were many forms, appointments, assessments and reviews that had to be completed over a 60 day period. As we got closer to final approval I then had the task of visiting group homes that participated in the waiver program where I would move Mom to. Ms. Mamie was no longer a participant in the waiver program which brought me to the stunning and heartbreaking realization that I’d have to move Mom after 9 awesome years there!

Visiting the group homes was daunting without Tim!! When we were looking for a new home for Mom in 2009, Tim and I visited places together! When we didn’t like one of the homes we’d laugh and say “Next” or “Moving On”! I felt lost doing that without Tim but I trudged on, hopeful I’d find a place that I felt good about! I found a new place and then received the formal letter from Baltimore that Mom was eligible for services!! I was so relieved that I cried!! My hope had come through!! I did know that others weren’t as lucky as we were with some dying while still on the waiting list. I said a prayer for them!

Though Mom is not aware of her surroundings at all, I was terrified about moving her!! When I told Ms. Mamie and Mom’s caregiver Angelina that I had to move Mom, both so supportive! Because of the way the state program works you have to move the person as soon the state approves, so I wasn’t able to give 30 days notice. I offered to pay the full monthly amount but Ms. Mamie refused. I sent her $500 and gave Angelina $500 as a gift for her incredible care of Mom. Angelina will use the money for the orphanage she runs in her home of Tanzania.

The night before the move I didn’t sleep a wink and I cried a lot!! Was I being selfish in accepting the financial help and moving Mom to a place I knew nothing about?? I was having so many second thoughts but I knew I had to go through with it to save the current $800 per month I’m paying for Mom.

Angelina had helped me pack and load the car in several trips earlier in the week so that on Sunday morning July 1st all I had to do was take a few clothes and Mom to the new place. Mom was never a big hugger but one of my favorite pics was she and Angelina saying goodbye!

Sunday morning I arrived early to pick up Mom with renewed hope!! We were able to take our time to get ready and Mom really enjoyed her leisurely breakfast. Finally it was time to leave Ms. Mamie’s for the last time I was really about to cry but I promised Angelina that I’d bring Mom back to visit!!

We drove the 12 minutes to Mom’s new place called Lifesprings Eldercare, LLC. It’s a beautiful home, one of three group homes owned by Fay Hutchinson and her husband!

Ms. Hutchinson is very nice but isn’t quite as friendly as Ms. Mamie, yet she and the two caregivers greeted us warmly as we arrived. I started to breathe a little easier. They laughed and joked with Mom and she was surprisingly very talkative. I had shared with Ms. Hutchinson that Mom isn’t talking a lot these days! I hung out with the two caregivers for quite a while after Ms. Hutchinson left and we carried all Mom’s stuff up to her room, which just feels like home!

But I had forgotten to bring hangers to hang Mom’s clothes so I ran home to get enough hangers for the job. When I returned, the caregivers were engaging Mom was a set of dominoes which I am not even sure Mom ever played. Yet Mom was hard at work matching up all of the dots on the dominoes.

I figured that was as good a time as easy to leave so the caregivers could get Mom settled without me. Not to mention that Mom was so engaged with the other resident at the table and the caregivers she hadn’t even noticed I had returned!! After watching the fun for about 10 minutes I said to Mom, “I’m leaving now can I get a hug?” to which she replied “I’m playing a game right now”!! Me and the caregivers all burst into laughter!! I laughed all the way to my car filled with new hope!!! I’m so thankful for all the love and prayers I have received as we prepared for this new transition!! I will miss Ms. Mamie and Angelina but I’m so hopeful about our financial future thanks to the blessing of the waiver registry! The message I take away from this last six months of work to achieve this for Mom is that you always have to have hope!! Love you Mom!


8 thoughts on “There’s Always Hope!!

  1. Dear Loretta,

    My heart breathes a great sigh of relief for you and your mother that you have accomplished her transition to waiver care and her move to a new home. What a story it is and what devotion and love you have shown in this process as in all the foregoing years of her illness. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for you to tackle this without Tim’s earthly presence. (But I am absolutely certain his spirit was/is with you every step of the way!)

    Thank you for the beautiful pictures of your mother’s leavetaking with Angelina and her introduction at Ms. Hutchinson’s. It looks like a lovely place, and she seems very much at home already. I’m so glad you got to experience her ‘brush-off’ because she was busy playing a game; that’s the kind of brush-off that is always welcome!

    Loretta, your post, as always was full of love and gratitude, so inspiring, so encouraging. I think the love in your heart could easily power a small city’s energy needs for a good long time.

    Your post brings back memories of my mother’s and my own difficult transitions during her very long struggle with dementia. Somehow it worked out; I never knew exactly why or how; sometimes the only choice seemed to be between bad and not quite as bad, but grace always showed itself present even in the darkest times. There was laughter, or there was love, or there were people who were the unlikeliest emissaries of grace who touched us with their hearts or their smiles or their optimism. Thank you for helping me to remember those times. Thank you for helping me to remember to be grateful.

    Much love to you and to your mom, Loretta.


  2. Karen,
    Thanks soooooo much!! What an amazing journey this has been!! Lots of patience and love required!!! I’m glad the blog allowed you to remember the times with your Mom. You’re so right, we never know how or why things work out, they just DO!!!

    I wanted to fall on the floor laughing when she said she was too busy to hug me!! YES it was the BEST brush off EVER!!

    I’m really inspired by this journey!! We’ve accomplished so much, even without Tim… So I just keep going and i’m grateful for where we are. I try to always focus on what Mom can still do and not on what she can’t. That gets me through so much!! I love the photos too, they help me focus on where we’ve been and that there’s still so much joy to focus on!!!

    So glad you’ve joined this journey with us!! Much love to you too!!!


  3. Loretta, great news, Congratulatons! Wish there was something like that here in Cincy. With the cost of HC raising.


  4. I wish your mom and you the very best in this new journey. It certainly sounds like she is comfortable in her new home and enjoying those Dominos.

  5. I was so touched by this. I read your blog and I am filled with hope every time. I have been praying for you a lot this week, knowing you are moving your Mom and that you are coming up on another anniversary of Tim’s death. I hope you are taking care and know that you are loved.

    • Thank you Michele!!! This has been quite the journey with Mom. But she is THRIVING in her new place!!

      I’m definitely taking care of me!! Sitting on the Patauxent River watching hot air balloons. Tim and I did three rides in our life – San Antonio, Charlottesville and Dubai!! Felt like the place for me to be today!! I’m alone but I’m not sad. Balloons and being outside make me happy!!

      And yes indeed I know I am loved!!

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