Keep Smiling with Rosie Preston


Leaving my mother after visiting her at the nursing home where she has resided for several years is never easy. In 2010 her health declined, and I could no longer care for her in my home. As I filled out the paperwork at the nursing home, tears ran down my face. It was one of the hardest days of my life.

Yesterday as I left her room and walked to go to my car, I was very thankful for the meeting I had just had with all the supervisors who take care of many patients. My issue was to ensure that we were on the same page. I left confident that my mom is going to be taken care of with every shift change.

The meeting was planned to discuss why the newly hired employees had caused a lack of communication. My mother had never been neglected, which I kept in mind as I prepared a written fact sheet, making copies for those attending the meeting. I knew the presentation had to be professional and not condescending. I also made photos to share as I spoke of the issues, knowing that a lack of communication with every level of staff – from the dietician to the director of nursing and the hospice counselor – would be addressed.

The meeting went well. In fact, I left with every question answered and was assured by all attending that they would work together.  I felt good knowing that my mother is getting the best of care. This is very important to me, as my changing schedule varies on when I can visit her.

My mother will be 85 years old in December and has been an invalid for many years. It is hard for me to leave her at the nursing home knowing that she lies in a bed or sits in a chair and can no longer leave the nursing home in my car to share a meal. More than anything, I believe my mother remembers the ice cream cones we loved to celebrate the day! She often asks me if I still have my little red car! If she gets upsets about me leaving, I have to find a way to comfort her and let her know that I will be back soon.

My mother is locked in, just as much as I was locked in my own house this morning.

For some strange reason, our alarm keypad would not allow me to push the number three and I had to call the customer service department and spend several minutes on hold before speaking to a real live person. I know you’ve experienced this problem as much as we all deal with prompts nowadays because of the change many years ago when technology changed from hearing a human phone operator to computer-based prompts. It’s been a headache ever since!

A customer service agent finally answered and helped me change my password to avoid the number three. I wasn’t locked in anymore and could now leave my home! When a family buys into a home alarm system, you never think you will be the one locked in!

With this thought, a sadness reminds me of my mother’s situation in being locked in a nursing home. I could never have imagined this scenario in my younger days. At the meeting, I expressed how I am growing old along with my mother.

It is unbelievable how our lives have changed. I’ve continued to grow and hold my mother in my heart with an everlasting love. How could I have known that eventually our roles would be reversed, with me being the caretaker and she being cared for as if she was a baby?

Our relationship is locked in with love that only a mother and daughter can understand. We are locked into our present lifestyles, and that is okay. The time will come when each person reading this column will eventually pass from this earth. But I know that God will give my family strength for each day.

Before I left the meeting at the nursing home, I recited the Serenity Prayer: “God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Keep Smiling, Rosie   Please e-mail at and visit

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