This is the house I grew up in, since the day I was born. It has changed a lot over the years in order to accommodate our family at different stages. My parents put an addition onto the house about fourteen years ago so we could have more space for our large family at Sunday dinners. They put in a therapy pool five years ago so my mom could exercise, even with her heart condition. Last August my parents turned part of the addition on the first floor into a fully accessible bedroom and bathroom for my mom.
This is now the house that my husband and I will raise our six year old son in, and probably the house my parents will never leave.
This house has seen new babies, pets, numerous weddings, an ordination, anniversaries, cancer, various illnesses, worry, arguments, and immense joy.
In this house, my mom took care of me, my four siblings, and her grandchildren when we were sick. My husband, son and I moved in a year ago and we are here to help care for her as she lives with this illness. Well, really, we are all here to care for each other because even though Mom has dementia, she still has much to contribute to this family and world.
This blog is a reflection on what it is like to live in a house with three different generations trying to deal with dementia. I am writing this blog with the permission and enthusiasm of my mom, dad, husband and son. We realize that what one of us does affects us all and in that spirit, we try to be as collaborative as possible.
We have a covenant in our house, a promise of how we will live together. It is a covenant which is adapted from a popular Unitarian Universalist church covenant written by James Villa Blake:
“Love is the Spirit of this family,
and service is its law.
This is our great covenant:
To dwell together in peace,
to seek the truth in love,
and to help one another.”
We believe that help extends outside the walls of our house and we hope this blog helps many of you out there dealing with the same thing.