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To My Friends at Kingston

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To My Friends at Kingston

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When I moved my parents into Kingston in June of 2015 I didn’t know what to expect. This was a first for us in an assisted living facility. ALS was taking a toll on Dad’s health and it was becoming unsafe for him to be at home with only my mom to care for him who also had health issues of her own.

I wasn’t sure that Kingston was going to be able to care for him to the end, but as time went on my doubts dissipated. I watched both of my parents receive excellent care. Allowing the two of them to rent what is normally an assisted living apartment for catered care benefitted in so many ways, especially in square feet.

They each got their own space in the apartment, which was a sticky point in many conversations before they moved into Kingston. Giving up a house for the first time in their married life with the features, comforts and independence that came with it was a big concern. Such a big concern that they wouldn’t let me sell the house until they saw how the Kingston thing would work out. LOL.

Three meals a day, weekly apartment cleaning and laundry services warmed them up to the Kingston way of life. The friendships that each of them made with both residents and staff gave them purpose to push on. The Kingston activities kept them active even if it was only for a short time due to health issues. I can recall many a conversation in the early days where they both would tell me that “the day goes by so fast here because they keep you so busy”. And can we talk puzzles? I had no idea how many puzzles my parents had accumulated over the years until they asked me to bring a few on my visits.

It seemed that the pile of puzzles they had stashed in the house never got smaller as I brought puzzles. I know that they both enjoy puzzles and it is was a big plus that Kingston provide space for the residents to build them. The Kingston facility is so large that both of them enjoyed the fact that they could visit with friends, attend activities, snag some popcorn, build puzzles, and even count the ducks in the pond without going outside. Another big plus during inclement weather.

The care that each of my parents received definitely warmed them the most to Kingston. Prescription management took a load from them that I know was getting hard to manage. A regular bath schedule, dressing help when needed, having a call button to summon help, and having a nurse practitioner available is stuff that doesn’t come easily when you live by yourself at home. I felt the needs of my father in his last months were very demanding. I was so encouraged to see Kingston adjust and coordinate with Hospice to provide the care he needed. He became so comfortable with Kingston care that he didn’t want to be moved to another facility only to pass away in a cold lonely institution. He told me on a number of occasions that Kingston was his home now and he wanted to pass away in the comfort of his home. And that is exactly what happened.

It was my mom’s intention to move back to the house to live by herself after dad passed. However, it became clear to her as time went on at Kingston that moving out was a bad idea. She got to visit with more people in a day at Kingston than what she would see in a month or two at home. She knew she couldn’t completely care for herself at home and that it could be unsafe, but she saw that Kingston could help. Where else was she going to build puzzles that could be seen by other people if she didn’t build those puzzles at Kingston?

With the recent passing of my mom there is no longer a reason for me to make the 50- minute trip each way to Kingston for a visit. I will miss the well-manicured exterior; clean and well-maintained property, free popcorn, occasional music performance, Christmas party, chatting with the residents in the hall or my mom’s apartment, friendly staff greetings, sharing a meal with mom, doing her personal shopping, building a puzzle together, or just relaxing for an easy chat. These are just memories now.

Thank you Kingston for the care you provided for both of my parents. For the phone call updates on their care. For family meetings to keep communications open and work through issues. For your genuine concern of their well-being. For your creativity in working through care challenges. For making a room available for family parties. And for the “Those we Love” throw. When I look at the throw I will always recall many fond memories of my parents at Kingston.

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