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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Green

Walking Down


I used to think that the disappearance of someone from Mom’s facility meant that they had died. Now I know differently.


Dad was told by the director at Mom’s Alzheimer’s memory care that Mom is unable to walk on her own. At this point, she is incapable of doing much of anything for or by herself.


The time has come, she said, to place Mom in long-term nursing care. That just about broke my heart.


A friend once described how her son with hearing impairment learns new skills. “He learns like this,” she said, tracing upward steps in the air. He’d learn something, plateau, and then learn something new. I see us also following that pattern, but it’s a downward staircase that we’re traveling. Each descent is a hard-fought emotional battle to accept Mom’s diminishment.


We received a list of three possible places in town that would be able to take Mom. We visited them without knowing if they had an opening, recognizing that her former facility would not push her out until we were ready.


All three places run under the same guidelines dictated by the Ministry of Health, but one, so close we could almost roll out of bed and be there, was less homey, and less empathetic than the other two places.


Surprisingly, there was no specific dementia ward in any of these facilities. They assume that there’s a cognitive decline in all individuals who can no longer take care of themselves. I’m not sure I’d agree, as I know physically limited individuals with full mental capacity. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for them to be lumped together with those suffering from dementia.


Dad and I debated: Did it matter to Mom whether one facility was nicer than the other? Was having her close a decisive factor? How could we weigh the slight differences between the places? Ultimately, we went with our gut, dropping by unannounced to the place we’d chosen just to confirm our decision.


A day after we’d visited what we considered the nicest place, the director called us to tell us there was an opening. Within a week of being told Mom had to move, we’d received the “exit” letter and the medical reports on her abilities, visited the various facilities, and made a decision. From one day to the next, the details were arranged. I almost cried when we had to leave the amazing staff at her memory care facility. They seemed sad, too.


The only constant is change and it occurs when you least expect it. To be honest, I did expect this. Mom was diagnosed in 2010. That’s a long time for us to be living with this disease and its consequences. This is a reminder that Mom’s deterioration is progressing.


We bundled Mom into an ambulance to take her to the new facility. This was the first time she’d been out of her “home” in about four years. What bothered her on the journey were the many bumps in the road on the way there. Otherwise, she was fine.


It was me I was worried about. While it’s true that Mom’s behavior won’t change from one day to the next, I am feeling the pressure of this move and what it suggests regarding Mom’s abilities. It’s hard to explain who Mom is to a completely new staff and to teach them about her loving personality and quirks.


But we are doing it.


Am I ready for this new stage? It’s coming whether I want it to or not, and I must steel myself—again—for our eventual loss.


 

There are times when I eat my feelings many times over. I am the queen of scrounging chocolate from my own and my husband’s hiding places. Alternatively, I bake. What better excuse to not only lick the batter but taste the beautifully baked cake? Yeah, that’s fun. Here is a recipe for easy vegan cinnamon rolls that are so sweet, they’ll pucker your mouth in delight.


No Yeast Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

Do remember to share. Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day!


Dough

2 cups flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp apple cider vinegar

5 Tbsp margarine

¾ cup soy or milk substitute


Filling

2/3 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp sugar

2½ tsp cinnamon

4 Tbsp margarine, softened

½ tsp vanilla


Creamy Frosting

½ cup margarine

3 cups powdered sugar

3 Tbsp milk substitute

1½ tsp vanilla


Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F / 190° C.

  2. Mix dry dough ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat on high for 20 seconds the cider, margarine, and milk substitute (I used soy). Stir and heat again until margarine is mostly melted.

  3. Add to the dry ingredients and knead until a dough forms. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into an oval shape on a non-stick surface about ½” (1½ centimeters) thick.

  4. In another bowl, add the filling ingredients, softening the margarine with the vanilla in the microwave for about 20 seconds on high.

  5. When filling is mixed, spread on the dough, then roll along the long edge to create a log or roll.

  6. Cut the log into thick pieces of 1” (3 centimeters) and wedge them together in a small greased pan.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the rolls begin to brown.

  8. While the rolls are baking, whip together the creamy frosting. Add an extra Tbsp of liquid to make it thinner if desired. Allow rolls to cool for about 10 minutes before spreading on the frosting.

  9. Eat and enjoy!


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