When my dad moved to assisted living, I knew there would be a lot of change for him. Change of his routine, friends, food, doctors and life without my mother, just to name a few. But, one of the biggest changes nobody warned me about was how quickly the staff turned over in assisted living. I’m not sure what I would have done with this information at the time but I wish someone had mentioned it.
In a little over three years, there have been four directors, four assistant directors and too many care managers and med techs to count. In the beginning this really threw me for a loop. I would just get to know someone, and more importantly they would get to know my dad, and poof they would be gone. Some staff would say goodbye and communicate their departure. Other staff members would just disappear, as if entering the witness protection program…no goodbye, good luck or thank you exchanged.
Over the years, I’ve come to terms with this reality and so has my dad. We are waiting for a new assistant director to be hired and we will start the process all over again. Me saying, “This is my dad. He’s almost 92. He’s not a complainer so when he says he needs something, it’s important.” I’ve culled down the essence of my dad to the fewest words that paint a picture of him.
And instead of trying to fix a problem, that is way out of my control, I have come to embrace the staff turnover in assisted living for what it is. A lesson in the impermanence of all relationships, an opportunity to get to know someone new and a reminder to live in the moment.
Just like the beautiful sunset I spontaneously photographed as my husband and I drove over the Richmond Bridge, nothing is forever so enjoy the beauty of the moment.