Sunday Musings from our Multi-Gen Home - Memory Loss and Memories

Real Estate Broker/Owner with ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors

Forget-Me-Not, Dear Father

The story of us has evolved - from the four of us, to the six of us - my husband and me, my sister and her husband, and our parents. My sister and I had a good life while growing up, thanks to our parents. We both feel it's now our turn to ensure they spend their latter years surrounded by love and support. Therefore, we all moved to the same multi-generational property in Camas last Fall. 

For us, the key to making this work is privacy and cooperation. We consult each other on important matters that involve all of us, and try to give one another the space we need to breath. Admittedly, while we wait for our parents cottage to be built, it's not ideal at the moment, but we make it work. A good sense of humor, patience, and the knowledge of of "end in sight" is helpful. 

My dad has dementia and it comes with mood swings and moments of frustration. He's still lucid enough to remember us all, and generally knows what's going on. However, it's sad to watch his impatience with himself when he loses a thought or a word. He often repeats himself as if stuck in a loop, especially if he's stressed or over tired. Things that used to be easy take time.

Mom needs us as much as he does. The illness is often just as difficult for a spouse as it is for the person affected by memory loss. We all work to jog his memory with stories and frequently mention the names of friends and family members. We try not to remind him of his inability to remember things and pretend as if we've heard a story or suggestion for the first time, rather than the fourth or fifth. The moods swings take love and understanding. 

My dad's younger sister and her family came to visit us yesterday. They live north of us in the Seattle area. It was good to relive old memories, and when we couldn't recall a place or name, we laughed at the normal momentary memory loss most experience as we age. What a juxtaposition I thought to myself, we're sharing old memories, making a new memories, and visiting together while we can all be remembered. Tears flowed when they left amid exchanges of " I love you's."  "Life moves too damn fast," someone said. 

Sunday's are family day at our multi-generational household and we'll be hosting dinner for everyone at our place this evening. I'm not sure what's on the menu yet,  as I'm still honoring the feelings of my bittersweet mood this morning. I'm overall grateful though, and happy to be here. I'm certain none of us will ever regret this time spent as a family, together again.  I love you mom and dad. 



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ViewHomes™ grew out of our passion for nature, beautiful surroundings, and peaceful environments. Starting together in an urban environment, over the years we've gravitated towards areas with smaller populations and less density. We now enjoy our lifestyle in a rural environment, but with close proximity to metropolitan areas where we appreciate all the amenities of fine restaurants, shopping, and an easy drive to an international airport.
Living in ViewHomes™ is like having “elbowroom for the soul”.






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Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

What a wonderful, heartwarming post.  I imagine there are many, many folks who, in looking back, wish they had taken the opportunity to do just as you are doing. 

May 15, 2016 04:34 AM #1
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD - I get the dementia thing ... as my mother had it. It was real tough for me to manage "my way" through her dementia.  My heart embraces what you are doing for your parents and the love you all share as a family.

May 15, 2016 05:15 AM #2
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Debb - What you and your family are doing is amazing and wonderful, as well as a beautiful response to a difficult situation. We can all hope that our children are as loving as your parent's children.

May 15, 2016 05:20 AM #3
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Debb-Heartwarming post and I understand all too well about the memory issues with a parent. What you are all doing is tough but as you said it is something you won't regret.

May 15, 2016 06:24 AM #4
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

That is such a tough situation but I think you made the right choice.  At least your dad will feel loved which should comfort him on his difficult days ahead.

May 15, 2016 06:44 AM #5
Mimi Foster
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

This made me cry to read. I wish I had known so much more as I went through this. I'm so glad you have your sister there to help. I worked hard at making it joyful. Not much else you can do. Bless you.

Nancy Reagan said many times, His body is still here, but Ronnie has been gone for a long time. Bless you.

May 15, 2016 12:18 PM #6
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD 

Wow! That is a lovely picture. Have a wonderful week. 

May 15, 2016 01:44 PM #7
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Dear Debb - Beautiful Title and photo to go along with a real Chicken Soup for the Soul story. What you're doing isn't easy, but necessary. Your passion for family oozes with love and devotion. Reading through your story, it makes me wonder what our parents were like for us when they cared for us as infants. I'm sure they couldn't understand what we were trying to say, and we repeated ourselves to get our point across in words without meaning. They were very patient and we got through our childhood because of them. What you're doing now is heart warming. It's a tender story about family love. 

Love & hugs to you Debb. If I was there, I'd give you a hand. Because I can't, I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. 

May 15, 2016 08:14 PM #8
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Debb and Bernie --- another thoughtful post and yes "Life moves too damn fast" sums it up well.   

May 15, 2016 11:54 PM #9
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Debb, this is such a beautiful post. Taking care of your parents is hard, I watched my parents do it for my Mom's parents and Granddaddy had dementia too. You will never regret what you're doing, I know that much. It won't be easy but, it will be worth it and it's wonderful that you have your sister to help you. Life definitely moves way too fast. 

May 16, 2016 12:39 AM #10
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That is always such a difficult situation, but it sounds like you are handling it the right way and making it work.  We definitley have to take care of family!  The picture of the flowers is very similar to the flower on my post today, I wonder if it is the same type?

May 16, 2016 01:00 AM #11
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Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD

REALTORS® in Clark County, WA
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