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Gaining independence thanks to a move to assisted living

Patsy and daughter Lisa at Dickson Hollow assisted livingMeeting people where they are at is important to us at Presbyterian Homes & Services. That’s why, in a recent video interview with a mother and daughter, we felt blessed to hear their inspiring testimony. After moving to assisted living, Patsy gained independence while her daughter Lisa gained peace of mind.

Dickson Hollow is in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin — just a five-minute drive from the home where Patsy raised her family and lived for 58 years.

The thought of moving did not come easily for Patsy over one year ago.

Recalling this time, Lisa turned to her mother and playfully asked, “So, Mom, do you remember — when I wanted to move you — what you told me? ‘You’re not moving me over my __’” Lisa’s voice trailed off.

Patsy replied, “Dead body.”

“Over my dead body,” Lisa echoed.  

Finding the perfect fit

Lisa recalls, “It was probably a year before Mom moved that we started looking at communities.” She said, “I felt like Goldilocks. You know how they say it was too soft or too hard? The first place was too restrictive. The second place was too over-the-top – it did not feel like home.”

Meanwhile, Lisa says she continued to worry about her mom at home. “When she didn’t answer the phone,” Lisa recalls, “I would worry, ‘Did she fall? Did something happen?’”

Then Patsy developed pneumonia. During her stay in the hospital and rehab, doctors gave her advice: plan a move to assisted living. 

On March 13, 2020, Patsy moved into Dickson Hollow. Lisa recalls, “Coming here was like coming home. It had everything.”

The very next day on March 14, Lisa says, pandemic safety restrictions went into effect.

Watch this 44-second Zoom interview clip: 'Patsy socializes and gets care and attention she needs'

Yet her mom “hasn’t missed a beat,” Lisa says. She turns to Patsy and says, “Mom, what do you call everyone? Even if you don’t know their name?”

“Girlfriend!” Patsy exclaimed.

Lisa says with laughter, “Everybody’s her girlfriend!” and reflects, “Had she been in her home when COVID hit, she would have been extremely isolated. Coming here, Mom was meeting friends and getting more attention and more socialization than ever.”

Improved health and independence

All that positive feedback and increased attention paid off in better health, too, says Lisa. “I took her to the doctor like 3 weeks ago, and she told me then that my mother was basically kind of like a miracle.”

Lisa continues, “Because she has leukemia… Back in the summer, [the doctor] thought [Mom] was going to need hospice care, because her blood counts were so, so low. And she said, ‘You know what? Your mother is one you can’t judge based on the medical records. Because she has such a positive attitude about life.’

“That is what is keeping her living!” exclaims Lisa.

Leukemia also negatively impacts Patsy’s eyes. Lisa credits her mother’s improved eye health to access to personal care services in assisted living.

“This is the best her eyes HAVE EVER BEEN! Ever been! And it’s because my mother would not take her medication anymore herself,” Lisa explains, “You know, you need three drops in this eye and two drops in this … and it was confusing for me to write it all down for her. And here, she has people who come in, and I know that at least 3 times a day she’s being looked at.”


Daughter’s peace of mind

Watch this 33-second clip: 'Patsy makes friends and Lisa feels peace of mind'

Lisa says, “God had his hand in us finding this place,” and continues, “I was very concerned how she would be, moving out of her home of 58 years. But coming here, this is her new home, and she’s adjusted extremely well…”

“As her daughter, I do not worry about her,” Lisa says with gratitude. “I have peace of mind that she’s here. Everybody takes exceptional care, and she’s very happy here.”


Mom can stay and grow in relationships here

Patsy says she enjoys still living close to family – plus meeting new friends. “You know everybody here!” she exclaims.

Lisa adds, “Depending upon health concerns, if she does need further care, they have everything here. Because I know how confusing that can be for people to move around, and she feels very comfortable in this building.”

Patsy chimes in with laughter, “I know where I’m going!”


Back to being a daughter

Watch this 1:10 clip: 'On finding home and all the care options at Dickson Hollow'​

Turning to Lisa, Patsy continues, “They’re very, very good to me here, and I love it – it’s beautiful. You did a good job.”

Dena Kugel, Housing Counselor, reflects on the journey of this mother-daughter duo. “What I see is the impact on the whole family. With Lisa’s security knowing her mom is here and well taken care of, she’s now back to being a daughter.”

See what else is going on at Dickson Hollow on their Facebook page

Considering a change, but not sure where to start? If you're exploring care options for a loved one, search Find a Community. Ready with questions? Connect with a Housing Counselor today.

More reading:

My dad’s move to memory care
Finding the right care
Our approach to care
Living and care options

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