Pt. 2 Grateful for Assisted Living Administration
When my dad moved to assisted living, he was pleasantly surprised at how much he liked it. I’m not saying he loved it, or that he enjoyed the food (I’ve yet to meet someone who does), but my dad was a people person and he enjoyed being with pleasant people. Over and again I was told by his neighbors and staff how my dad was such a kind man, and how they enjoyed his presence there. When his divorce was final, I breathed a sigh of relief and felt I was through the worst of his situation. Well, that was premature!
About two weeks later, my dad tells me he’s met someone at the facility. He had a twinkle in his eye and that shy grin on his face. I was surprised, and a bit concerned. A short time later he said they wanted to get married.
At this point, I’d yet to meet the woman he wanted to marry, but I took my concerns to Chris, the director of the facility. And let me be clear – I had no objections to my dad having a relationship – I wanted him to be happy and content. I had great objections with my dad making a legal arrangement when he had a diagnosis of dementia. The director understood, and set up a meeting between him, my dad, his new love (I’ll call her M.) her two children, and myself.
Chris arranged the meeting to take place during lunch, and provided lunch for us. My first impression of M. was that she was ebullient being with my dad. And it turned out that I was acquainted with M.’s son from years back. Her daughter lived in Marietta, GA and came up specifically for this meeting. After M. told us all how they were in love and wanted to marry (with my dad nodding and grinning), I told the group how dad had just gone through a difficult divorce and that I didn’t think it was wise to get back into a marriage. M. said that she didn’t want any financial support from my dad, she just wanted to be married to him. I brought up the elephant in the room, stating that since Dad had dementia, he had no business making a legal decision. M.’s children agreed with that.
At this point, Chris talked about the relationships he had seen during his time working at assisted living facilities. He said that some couples got married, some had ceremonies of commitment, and others simply lived together. We discussed ceremonies of commitment, and we all agreed that this would satisfy what each of us needed – a commitment of love between Dad and M., being joined before God, and having no legal entanglements. Crisis averted!
M. was quite excited about planning the ceremony. I even volunteered to officiate (I had two previous ceremonies under my belt) knowing that I could be sure that there were no legalities involved. A date was set for about three weeks later and I got to work writing the ceremony.
And it all went off without a hitch. Family members from both sides attended the church ceremony, and there was a reception at a local motel afterwards. (One of M.’s family member asked if I’d do her ceremony of she ever decided to marry again!) M.’s daughter sprang for a couple of nights for the newlyweds at the motel, and I again sighed in relief.
I was so grateful for the assisted living director coming to the rescue with both his suggestion and how he was able to get us all on board, and I was glad for the structure that allowed for this to unfold. If my dad had been at a different facility, who knows how this would have developed? Each has their own policies and rules, and I was so grateful that a legal entanglement was averted.
Then sixteen days later, another shoe dropped. But that’s my next post.