Bev Boudreau: A Time for Work, A Time for Play
“We drove up, unloaded her things and had to drive away. No visitors in the facility. I was just thinking ‘I hope they don’t kick her out.’”
Dana Blanchetteview author bio »
Bev was as tough as farm wives come. A real ball of fire. No time for fun and games when there were crops to tend and mouths to feed — cows’ and kids’.
“Mom is painting cavasses. This just crazy!” Bev’s daughter Dana reported this leisure-time phenomena to Tom, her brother, and they shared a laugh. Their spunky, not-to-be-messed with 78-year-old mother also finds whapping balloons with foam pool noodles quite hilarious. And a great way to engage mind and body daily with her fellow residents.
Bev moved to Bickford on June 9, 2020. Prior to settling in her new home, she would call Dana every evening, screaming, name-calling. A real ball of fire.
“Well, we’d said goodbye to my dad, who also suffered from dementia. Then COVID hit and she just got angrier and angrier,” Dana said. “I had to take her car keys away from her because she’d sneak off to the store during lockdown.”
Bev spent a restless six weeks with Tom and his family in Dallas as the pandemic, and fears, were spreading. They had to make a decision on Bev’s long-term care quickly.
“Initially we were looking for a memory-care facility that was pet-friendly. My sister-in-law suggested one and I said ‘yes, I’ve heard of them, so let’s take a look.’”
Procedures were a little different back in May, so instead of touring the facility, Bev and Dana got a personal home visit from the staff members.
“The nurse did some testing with mom while another caregiver had a chat with me. Within a week, mom was moving in.”
Mind you, Bev’s move came in early June. Middle of a global pandemic. Nothing was normal. Dana’s greatest fears were either about to be realized or put to rest.
“We drove up, unloaded her things and had to drive away. No visitors in the facility,” Dana said. “I was just thinking ‘I hope they don’t kick her out because she’s been pretty cranky.’”
Dana went back to her own home and had a silent night. The first in a long time. No calls, no tears in the night from mom.
“That’s when I knew she was going to be okay. I had to call her the next day. When I asked her how she was doing, she was like ‘well everything’s just fine,’” Dana said. “It was like she’d been there for months and it had only been a day!”
Turns out, Bev’s a big fan of diet peach Snapple and graham crackers. Simple. When her care team learned this, they made sure to offer Bev her favorite snack in the evenings. Right about the time she used to make those distress calls to her daughter. This simple act went a long way toward Bev’s happiness in her new home. There’s also Lucy.
“When I moved in, within a day or two, Dana asked if I’d like a dog,” Bev said. “And I said, no, no, I have a friend here who has a dog, Lucy. And we’ll just share her.”
“Lucy and I are together a lot,” Bev said. “We take walks and she likes to come in my room. I have 2 recliners and she knows which one is hers. She just jumps up there and makes herself at home.”
Turns out, Lucy is a big fan of doggie treats. Specifically the ones that look like bacon. Simple. Bev keeps a stash in her room and gives Lucy one a day. “She’s a good girl and I just love her,” Bev said.
“All the pieces are there for mom. I get texts from Stephanie, the head of the facility, with photos of mom participating in activities. That says a lot,” said Dana. “When I’ve visited her, the caregivers are teasing mom and she’s teasing them right back.”
She’s a real ball of fire.