Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Eviction

When you're old, you can get evicted even if you pay rent regularly.
In November of 2003, Mom was evicted from an independent living residence. It was a lovely place in Boulder, Colorado, the community in which she had lived for most of her life. The Meridian has spacious apartments looking out on the Flatirons, and meals are provided in a beautiful dining room twice per day.
Limited assistance is available, such as supervision in the bath and dispensing of medications for residents too forgetful to keep track of all their meds.
Mom's crime was that she had fallen one too many times. Though she hadn't broken any bones, it did not look good for the residence to keep reporting falls, and she was in danger of serious injury from another fall.
"Your mother fell today, and we have decided she has to move to a residence with more assistance immediately," the director told me. "Starting tonight, she has to have a family member with her at night because we don't provide care after 8 pm."
"But I can't come--I'm a thousand miles away," I said. "Can I hire a caregiver to be with her at night for a week until I get there?"
"No, for insurance reasons we can't allow that," the director said. "It has to be a family member."
"Okay," I said and called my brother who lived only forty minutes away.
"Jim, Mom is being kicked out of the Meridian," I told him. "You have to pretend to spend the night with her for a week until I can come get her and move her to California."
Jim agreed, and for one week he showed up before the staff left, supervised Mom's bedtime, went home to sleep in his own bed, and showed up again before 7 am.
We decided that an assisted living residence near Jim was not an option because he had been on call for over twenty years as handyman and gofer after our parents retired and needed more assistance, and more so after our father died. It was time for her other children to take up the job of daily visits and help.
Therefore, I arrived from California and suggested to my mother that she might like to move to live near me and my sister. She agreed to it happily, thank goodness.
We packed up her suitcases and left in a few days, making arrangements for a moving company to arrive and pack up all her furniture after we left, under my brother's supervision.
While packing, I had noticed her passport and mentioned it to her.
On the brisk early November morning when we drove off, she felt adventuresome and gleeful to be getting on a plane for California.
"At least I have my passport," she said. "We could go to Hawaii. I can go anywhere on a plane without paying much at all because I'm a retired Navy nurse."
"That's a good idea," I said. "Maybe we'll go to Hawaii."
Anything to distract her from the fact that she was leaving her beloved Boulder and was unlikely ever to return.