My Korean War Roommate Story

Adding dad to our house about a month ago was done knowing that it would change our lives. A month in and I will confirm that it has been life changing.

Dad called his previous residence 'home' as in, "Come pick me up at THE home." He moved there just over a year ago from a different 'home' north of Houston.  Both of these Assisted Living residences provided dad with a room, a space to organize with some of his possessions, community areas for social activities and in house food preparation.  Living on his own before that proved to be more than what his family felt comfortable with.  As a result of the Assisted Living homes, dad's health did improve and there was always someone with medical knowledge to assist as needed.

The first place had residents that made my 80 yr old dad feel like a 20 yr old. He could get around, play poker, joke with people and kept a pretty positive outlook around a population of similar people and people who did a lot of sitting and looking into space.

The second place had a more youthful population, but less friendly.  At least dad had his own room, which became his downfall.  He was able to stay more hidden from view and his health declined through mismanagement of meds.

Both places he lived at served very institutionalized food particles. Sometimes good tasting, it was rarely prepared with diabetic seniors in mind.  Dad, a pretty large man, has never lost any weight in his six years in captivity, despite the less than wonderful quality of food.

After my previous housemate physically moved on in her new direction, we had the opportunity to offer a room to dad in a house with family.  Dad now has more space in his bedroom and private bath than in both the previous places combined. He has access to a private bath which is now handicap accessible, a full kitchen and outdoor patio in the shade.  He says that he is very happy here.

The Mancubs have only been able to see their grandparents 2 maybe 3 times a year. To see him every week opens up a wonderful world that they haven't had easy access to.  They are still adjusting to having him here and me living in a bedroom upstairs where their rooms are.  The poor-ish condition we have found his previous places have not replicated here. He has more pride in his room and his son is getting to say words heard years ago from father to son.  It's humorous sometimes, but the kids are getting a good feel for what it is like to be around an older loved one.

For me, no more missed meals or dinner of popcorn and Blue Bell Bullets.  We are still learning to make smaller portions for dad, but the first month saw few days accumulate more than 300mg of sodium and hardly any added sugars.  Dad was eating very healthy, except for the larger portions.  My part has been the cooking 2-3 meals a day, cleaning the kitchen after each meal, keeping floors clean, and learning how to deal with diabetic/lymphedema health issues.  It requires much more time for me, but his first Dr visit this week resulted in a good report card and ata-boy for his blood sugars and leg care.  It's worth the time spent with dad.
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