carving out a space for Mom

fairy-tale-2229620_1280Finding room in a one-bedroom apartment for another sleeping area was a little challenging. After fighting with the cat for space during renovations, I held my breath about adding another person into the mix. But at least my mother doesn’t bite or scratch! 

Since the living and dining rooms are one long room, we were able to create a nook at one end. It seems to work and, though she doesn’t have as much privacy as she would have with a separate room, she is comfortable. The daybed provides a cozy option. We have some large plants and furniture separating the space from the living room. She wakes up to a small jungle on one side and the Baltimore skyline on another. Who could ask for more?

Mom’s nook:


After finding a chest of drawers that didn’t look like it migrated from the bedroom, the next thing was to find a chair for Mom, so that she had a “spot”. We ended up with a nice little wingback-style recliner and bought end tables with drawers to hold her craft supplies. We later traded one of these for more open shelving with baskets so she could see what was in the baskets – with her memory loss, she could not always remember what was in the drawers or, indeed, that there were drawers!

Finally, creating a space for Mom meant that some of the decor needed to change so that she had familiar things around. We talked about which pictures should go on the walls and which knick knacks should be out on display. We bought large collage frames that hold lots of photos and hung them around her bed. She cannot always remember the names, but at least she can see the faces. Mom and I have different styles but it was important to both of us that the apartment reflect both our tastes. So, some things moved into my bedroom, her favorites moved into her space and we bought some new things that we both liked for the common areas, trying to keep it simple and make it feel cozy.

Through this process, I realized how fortunate I am to have a mother who is willing to compromise. From talking with friends and colleagues, I realize that sometimes old patterns and relationships are perpetuated if the people involved are not flexible. Mom’s default is that the apartment is mine so I have the last word, which is very nice. My challenge is to make sure she never feels like she is a squatter living in my apartment – this is her home now and it needs to feel like home.

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