Experiencing Technical Difficulties (resonant) wrote,
Experiencing Technical Difficulties
resonant

My grandmother Mildred

Last week, I flew to Nova Scotia to visit my relatives. My mom drove my sister and me several hours to the town of Hantsport, on the Bay of Fundy. We met my aunt Charlene, my uncle Victor, and my uncle David there at the nursing home where my dad's mother Mildred lives. It used to be a fancy mansion, which reassures my grandmother. Although she doesn't remember much, her surroundings assure her she's not impoverished. A nice family that immigrated from Jamaica runs the home, and takes amazing care of its few residents - they treat them all like family members, and it does not feel institutional at all.

My grandmother is in extremely good health for someone in her 90s. She was well-dressed and well-groomed, and appears to be receiving excellent care. She got up out of her chair without assistance (showing she gets plenty of exercise), and expertly pushed her walker out to the sundeck to talk with us.

She doesn't remember much, so my uncle Victor and I answered her questions - the same ones, repeated every five minutes. She first asked us to introduce all the family members to her. She then asked who she was, who her father and mother were (Major and Carrie), and if they were still alive. My uncle Victor kept patiently telling her that she knew the answers, and he was right - she was able to guess the answers most of the time. She would then ask if she was a teacher (for a few years, before she started farming eggs), if she had married (to my grandfather Victor, who passed away), and then we discussed how it was confusing for my aunt Charlene to have married someone with the same name as her father. We'd tell a few stories about her parents, or about her life on the farm. She'd then ask us to introduce everyone all over again.

The important thing is that my grandmother was not stressed by her lack of memory, but was calm and relaxed. She has no health problems that cause her pain (not even arthritis), and appears happy and well-cared for. The home is close enough to her old farm where my uncle David lives that he can visit her daily.

My grandmother and grandfather had 80 dairy cattle and 5000 laying hens when they retired. Selling them and the associated production quotas means that my uncle David can only grow hay on the farm, but it allows my grandmother to afford to stay in this nice place (about $60k per year, plus expenses). When the money runs out, she may move into the nursing home where my father and my grandmother Edith live.

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After 90 minutes, my grandmother started to tire, so my mom and sister went to the car. As I was gathering my camera and things, my aunt and uncles asked me how I was doing. It shocked me - that was the first time in years that any relative had expressed an interest in my life.
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