"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

04 February 2017


My wonderful mother lived at the Veranda (assisted living home) in Dayton after she moved to TN last year. (It's part of the Life Care facility north of town.) From the day she moved in we never had a doubt that it was a wonderful place for her. I can honestly say that we have had no significant complaint at any time, only praise.

The facility itself is beautiful, and is extremely well kept up. It's refreshing and calming just walking into it. I saw a number of the rooms, and the residents have furnished and decorated them with pride; it was so much fun to visit them to see and hear about a bit of their lives.

The nurses and aides and all the rest of the staff -- from receptionists to housekeepers -- didn't just do their jobs with excellence, they did them with love. My mother made friends with the other residents, certainly, but the staff became her friends too. They love the residents like family, making time for conversation and encouraging them every day. Every time I arrived to visit, before I could get to Mother's room I was met with stories of something she had said or done that had made others laugh or encouraged them, and when I got to her room, it was to hear stories of how they had made her laugh and encouraged her.

When Mother returned to the Veranda after a short hospitalization for her fall, the staff greeted her like a family member who'd been gone for months. Each one made her way to her room as soon as possible to let her know she was *home*. They told me they had hoped and prayed she would be able to spend her last days under their care because they had come to love her so much. I am convinced that hearing their familiar, loving voices made those days much more bearable -- not to mention the constant prayer with which they bathed her.

And they give that same love to the families of the residents; I am known by sight and name to many whose names even now I am unsure of, staff members I've only seen a few times. Their loving concern has been for me in these days as well as for Mother, and I have benefited so much from them. As I sat with her, they brought me meals, ice water, anything they could think of; they never left the room after caring for her without asking if they could do anything for me as well. They gave me hugs; they prayed for and with me. They cried with me when she was gone.

If you or someone you love has to have assisted living care someday, pray that you find a place with half the love and expertise of the Veranda and you will be in good hands.