When my Dad passed it was most sudden and of course a shock to my siblings and most importantly to my Mom. My parents had been together joyfully for 60 years!

My Mom was very active socially; with her friends always going somewhere; music, theatre, bowling, taking walks, enjoying a meal out.

That slowed down when my Dad passed as she pulled back a bit from going out. In the transition to being alone she stayed with us for a few weeks then decided she wanted to go home. She made trips to Oregon, LA, and Santa Cruz where her other children lived. Family was paramount in her life.

After she settled back home we decided to meet every Wednesday evening for dinner out at her favorite Asian restaurant, 6:00 standing reservation.

It was about 45 minutes from my office in SF and 75 minutes from my home. It was always a wonderful night out and I really began to get to know my Mom on such a personal level. Previously when we went out it was always with others. On weekends we would get together to go shopping, take a walk and just spend some nice time together.

A few years went by and I could see Mom had lost some of her vitality, not seeing friends as often or going out as much. Some days she would just stay in and see or talk to no one. Isolation and nutrition were playing a part in that change. She lived in a great area but I began to worry as a son does, about her safety and well being.

We had our first chat about relocating to a senior community where she could make new friends, eat healthier, be in a safer environment. She did not like that idea as she felt it would inhibit her independence and thought that was just for old folks. She was 84 at the time!

One evening we had a talk about Family and how important that was to her. She did not see her other children very often as they were out of town. We came to common ground; move to where one of her children lived so she could see family almost every day! Bingo! She wanted to stay in the Bay Area so we agreed she would live near me. The search began for a great place that would be a good match for Mom.

It was important for us to find a place that was right for her today and as she aged. We visited several communities to get a feel for what Mom liked and I then visited a few more.

We wanted to find a place where she could rent and not put down a huge down payment. A Community with good programs, clubs, dining services, nursing services, a safe environment, a great location close to services, and friendly!

The family got together to ease Mom’s mind about moving, ensuring we would all help to pack, sort things out, donate pieces, and get a great mover. We made a party out of it, lemons into lemonade!

Well, we did it, Mom & me; we found a great community just a mile from my house. I had driven by The Redwoods Senior Community a thousand times throughout the years and never really knew much about it.

As soon as we walked into the lobby for our tour the friendliness and sense of community showed through. My Mom’s smile was all I needed to see.

Oh and yes, they had the wonderful programming, clubs, good food, nursing services, and a beautiful safe place to get out and walk.

Sitting outside by the Estuary one day I commented to Mom, “You live in a park with all the trees, water, and birds.” She smiled broadly and said, “Yes, it sure is great!”

By Barry Schenbaum

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