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By T. Jenkins

The classic, timeless portrayal of a grandma as someone who loves to spend time with her family, is always there to lift her grandchildren's spirits, and as someone who could not be outdone in the kitchen fit my grandma to a T. She was always part of Sunday dinner with the family, curious about the goings-on in the lives of her grandchildren, and whipping up a snack for her favorite grandson. (It didn't hurt that I was her only grandson) I may have won the title by default, but it’s a title I am still proud to own.

In addition to being a pillar of the family, my grandma had a very active and robust social life. When I was about 15, I remember joking with my mom that grandma does more at her age than I do now. At the time, my grandma was in her mid-70s.

It may have been a joke, but it certainly rang true. She was always vital, active, and on the go. She took full advantage of the lifestyle retirement afforded her.

She often took trips with a group of friends she had known for over 60 years. Whether they were going to the Ozarks or embarking on a longer, interstate journey she and her friends always seemed to be able to enjoy every opportunity to its fullest.

Things Begin to Change

As is the case for each of us, time and age eventually began to catch up with her. She was diagnosed with macular degeneration. As her eyesight worsened her activity level began to slowly decline.

As her activity level declined so too did her overall health. Her physical health reached the point where she required skilled nursing care. As a result of her increasing needs, she had to move into a skilled nursing community.

Why I Am Ultimately Grateful for the Move

Naturally, the move to a skilled nursing community was a big change for both my grandmother and our family. The realization that she could no longer enjoy all the things she used to was a fact of life I grappled with before accepting, as I am sure my grandma did as well.

I came to terms with this new reality when I realized my grandmother was getting the care she needed. It was also helpful when I realized she had developed warm relationships with her peers as well as the staff. She would speak fondly of the time she spent with her new friends and the support she received from her aides. Even though she was not in her home, she was living a more active life in her new residence than she had in the last few months she lived alone.

Moving into her new residence vastly improved the quality of life she had in her later years. No longer was she sitting in the recliner watching TV and only eating what was convenient. She was now in a place where she was active, well cared for and healthy.

It was certainly saddening to see my grandma leave her home and have to make this major life change. However, I soon realized that her quality of life was greatly improved. It was also reassuring to see her social and physical needs were being properly addressed in ways that simply were not possible in her old home.