back again …

Between COVID, moving and other changes, it’s been quite a year. I’m finally able to poke my head out and start to rejoin the world.

As I said in a prior post (where have you been?), working from home has been a blessing because my mother needed to have someone around to help her get meals and function in daily life. When she moved down to Baltimore, she didn’t really want to go out and meet new people or go to a senior center or otherwise engage in the world unless I went with her. Being at home has allowed me to be around, so that was great.

On the other hand, I was becoming a hermit. Because the apartment had one bedroom and my mother slept in the “dining room” alcove, my bedroom became my office, sleeping space, and TV area after my mother went to bed. I would come out for meals and to watch a little TV with mom after work and until she went to bed, so about 4 hours every day. It was becoming too claustrophobic for me. So, we ended up moving – I sold my condo and bought a two-bedroom unit in the same building. We’ve been renovating … slowly … very slowly!

My mother has her own bedroom now and that is working out well. We put the table for her crafts and jigsaw puzzles in her room and she splits her time between there and the living room, which gives her a little variety during the day and cozy place to sleep. I’m still working in my bedroom while I get a small office space up and running – should be soon. Then, I’ll be able to split my work time between the bedroom and the work space, so that’s eased the stress for me. What has given me surprising joy is watching TV in the living room after mom goes to bed and being able to get something from the kitchen without disturbing anyone! Sort of one small step for use of spaces, one giant leap for mental health.

It’s not all stress-free now. The financial impact of moving and renovating were intense – from an economic perspective, I should have held off moving for a year to save up more money. With COVID, so many building materials are more expensive and just really drove up the renovation costs. Unfortunately, holding off on renovations presented some problems. The new place was not in move-in ready condition, so paint and flooring were essential, as was repairing heating/AC units, getting new windows, and so on. The biggest of the big ticket items was the bathroom with walk-in shower and bench – all of which was … challenging to say the least. And, as anyone living with a person who has dementia will tell you, change is difficult for someone who has a tough time remembering things. We have been here for nine months and my mother still isn’t quite sure where the bathroom is! Actually, she knows but doesn’t realize she knows! The point is, we are trying to do most/all the renovations early (while mom is still a little flexible) rather than spreading them out over time, which I would do if we could.

Now that we are settled in and most of the immediate renovations have been completed (we’re starting the kitchen soon …), I think I’m ready to start the blog up again, so I hope to see you here a little more often. Sorry for the false starts, but that’s life!

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