It's never an easy decision to relocate a beloved family member to a senior living community. Emotions run high, and the possibility of anger, fear, sadness, and guilt usually seem to find their way into the decision-making process. Even more, what if a cherished family member also has the added challenges of a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer's disease? These types of memory issues complicate the process further, affecting both the diagnosed and their loved ones.
For Bill Stuart and his family, these challenges are all too familiar. Stuart was born in Glendale, California, to a stay-at-home mother and a father who worked as a purchasing manager for an oil company. He had one brother and two sisters. As a high school student, Stuart was a pole vaulter and high jumper. He later attended the University of California at Berkeley. After college, Stuart met his wife, and they started a family. They had two daughters, Ann Marie and Jennifer. He worked in various professions and eventually became owner and president of Portion Pac, Inc.
For most of his adult life, Stuart has enjoyed sports. He frequently swam and played handball. Stuart himself says that at handball, "I am the best."
Ann Marie Stuart, Bill Stuart's daughter, remembers sitting on her father's lap as a five-year-old while he taught her about football. As an adult, she now has a family and career of her own, bringing her niece to live with her and her long-term partner John and their two Great Danes. She enjoyed a career in marketing until she decided to help her parents full time, causing her to take a break from her professional life.
While living in Cincinnati, Ann Marie Stuart received news that her father had broken his hip. She made a trip out to visit her parents. While there, Ann Marie Stuart said, "I noticed dad slipping and convinced them to move back to Cincinnati with me."
When her father's situation didn't improve, she first felt fear, then anger, then sadness. "I had looked up to my dad my whole life, so it was scary."
At this point, her family faced a decision. How could they care for their dad in the best possible way?
The stellar reputation of Twin Lakes and the Lennard Court's Memory Support Assisted Living was a significant factor in their decision-making process. "No other assisted living community compared to what Twin Lakes offered, especially with the ability to assist memory challenges within Lennard Court," Ann Marie Stuart says.
These decisions are never easy, but Twin Lakes made the decision process more manageable, giving their family the confidence that Bill Stuart would be cared for. The highly trained staff of Twin Lakes fulfilled their promise of offering individualized support while maintaining the highest level of respect and dignity to the family's beloved father.
Ann Marie Stuart visits her dad almost every day. She says her father "is happier, more interested in what is going on, meeting new people, and very engaged. He has grown so much since being here. His happiness is off the charts. It was a tough choice, but my health, my mom's health and my dad's health have all improved since moving him to Twin Lakes. Knowing he's safe and happy, we wish we had done it sooner."
Difficult decisions like relocating a parent into a senior living community can profoundly affect all involved, either positively or negatively. In the case of Stuart and his family, the positive results have created the stability, health and peace his family needed. Now they can enjoy their time with him without worry.
Ann Marie Stuart shared a story that seems to summarize their experience and the spirit of Twin Lakes. "One day, we were all in dad's room, and he got wind that singing was about to start. He got up, ran out and left us in the dust! We walked out and saw him singing so loud and happy, we both just cried. It reinforced why we moved him and that we made the right choice."
Twin Lakes is a not-for-profit senior living community located at 9840 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242. For more information, visit lec.org or call 513-247-1300