Welcome, this is a new blog about the challenges and rewards of running a senior assisted living home in Anchorage, Alaska. Bonnie and I decided in 2014 to embark on this unusual journey into the world of senior care almost on a whim. I reluctantly have to admit that I may have decided to enter into this new venture for some of the wrong reasons. I was attending a meeting for a local real estate group and during the presentation the subject of senior assisted living was mentioned. I was drawn in by the prospect of owning a business with great income potential. Little did I know that the business I chose was one of the most demanding of you both emotionally and physically.
I know there are those that will say the reason you should enter into this type of business is because of your passion and love for seniors, but the truth of the matter is that you are doing the work that others, usually family members, can no longer handle. I do know that as much as I love my mother, wiping her rear end on a daily basis would dramaticaly alter our current relationship. The life of a caregiver is anything but glamorous. The long hours of work changing diapers, showering, and lifting grown adults in and out of bed with little help doesn't offer much thanks. There is an amazing side to it though. I learned in short order about the rewards of being the emotional support for a family going through a very difficult time. You have the opportunity to give someone their life back. Sons and daughters can stop being full time caregivers and go back to being sons and daughters again. The relief you can bring to a family is nothing short of amazing. They have been struggling to keep their head above water because they have been juggling thier own children, a spouse, and a job, all the while taking care of someone who usually doesn't seem to want the help. The sense of relief is so strong and amazing to witness as family members can take a step back and take on the more important role they've been neglecting, being a son or a daughter again.
I do have aging parents that have their own needs and will have to cross the bridge of providing the care that they will need when the time comes. Upon relfection I think the role of being a son is more important than the role that seems to be a "natural fit" for our own situation. Instead of having them move into our own assisted living home when the time comes, I think placing them into another home will allow me to maintain the relationship with them as a sibling and a parent instead of a caregiver and a patient. After seeing the relief we can bring to struggling families it's a pitfall I would like to avoid.
For now I'll keep learing the lessons I never knew I needed to learn and realizing the rewards and challenges that come from this new adventure.
This blog should prove fruitful for myself as I take a moment to reflect on life and the lessons that present themselves and hopefully they can help someone who takes the time to read my thoughts. I hope you'll check back often as we continue to document this journey.