Growing up in New Orleans, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by family. All four of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins lived within a few short miles of my home and we took full advantage. The weekends were filled with family dinners, laughter and play time. Some of my best memories are with my grandmothers who were very active. They would play basketball, jump rope, teach me about gardening and play cards all while having an unlimited supply of gum and circus peanuts.
I am very fortunate that both of my grandmothers are still with me today. In fact, my maternal grandmother just turned 90 a few days ago! Unfortunately, she is losing her strength and quality of life which is so hard to watch. After the death of my grandfather, she lived alone for several years only moving in with my uncle when she had frequent falls. My Mom and her siblings considered home health care for her which worked quite well for some time. They even had the local Pastor come by to give her Communion when she was no longer able to attend Church on a regular basis. My Grandmother loved her in home care Staff and talked highly of the experience.
As her health continued to fail, my Mom and her siblings made the difficult decision to switch from home health to a nursing facility. Despite the fact that my Mom did not want to place my grandmother in a nursing home, it turned out to be a blessing. My grandmother was socializing with women her age, playing games, getting her hair and nails done and having meals with her friends. The experience has not been all stellar, but I believe my Mom did what she felt was best.
I am so thankful for the memories I have had surrounded by friends and family here in New Orleans. One of the reasons we decided to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina is because I want the same for my children. My experiences have shaped me into the woman I am today and I owe much of that to the incredible women in my life. Thanks, Grandma!