A highly respected and well-loved pharmacist in the town, Mr. Schultz had served his community for many years. After his retirement, however, he and his wife moved into our retirement community because he had developed dementia.* A pleasant and quite likable gentleman, he was what I would have called “contentedly confused.”
Although ours was a Continuing Care Retirement Community, it was decided that they could move into independent living. This, because Mrs. Schultz was still quite healthy and mentally sharp. She could take care of her husband while we took care of all the other chores such as meal preparation, cleaning, transportation, etc. She was the perfect caregiver. And our community was a perfect choice.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Schultz also had the benefit of a loving extended family in the area who could also help out in a pinch—though they were not up to the full-time care that Mrs. Schultz could provide. That came in handy for a few days when Mrs. Schultz chose to undergo minor elective surgery and was planned to be gone from the building. Unfortunately, the minor surgery ended up being not so minor. Mrs. Schultz passed away in the hospital.
When I received the phone call, the family was understandably distraught. However, they took comfort in knowing that as we were a Continuing Care Retirement Community, we also offered Memory Care. I told them I would look into a transfer as soon as possible. However, I also knew that at that moment our Memory Care was completely full. And we had an extensive waiting list, as well.
Hanging up the phone, I began to make phone calls. The first was to our nurse in Memory Care. Somehow, someway an opening had just occurred. That just left the waiting list—which was about six people deep. Each one had to be called, as well. Saying a prayer and starting to dial the phone I contacted each of the families on the waiting list. And, one by one, they told me that everything was currently fine. They would pass on moving their loved one in at that time.
After I had finished my calls, every single family on the waiting list passed on the opportunity to move a loved one in. And the apartment in Memory Care belonged to Mr. Schultz.
Sometimes, along the gray mile, you run into a little luck. At other times, however, you encounter a little help from above. I have no doubt that this was one of those times.
*Not their real names.