Home – Revisited

Home, a topic that comes up more than we can count when talking about aging and dementia. We are constantly on the quest to find the best response to the question, “I want to go home” and we prance around with discomfort when the question, “Is it still safe for my loved one to live here” comes up. I, myself, have shared posts and thoughts about home more times than I can keep track, yet, here we are again.

Home. It has a different meaning this year, doesn’t it? Now, after months of spending more time in our home than out in the world, the relationship we have with the walls that surround us has changed. With a magnifying glass now on in our care communities, we have a different feeling for our elders and how we care for them.

I have heard from several of you that you are now reflecting more deeply on what home means to you and how you might want to make changes (both physically and communally) to your home. I have heard stories about how this time has caused to you ask the question about finding roommates, seeking out extra care via a home health aid, or are now thinking about moving in with other family members/inviting them into your home, feeling the strain of loneliness. Some of you have escaped your home, to live somewhere else during this time, and long for your home in a new way.

I encourage you to explore ways to improve this place that provides you with shelter and safety from the unknown. I invite you to use your creativity to improve the community you live in. I ask you to use your imagination and to take this time to think about how you might want to age in place or make plans to live in a community. Some questions to think about include:

Can any place be home?

What do we do when our home no longer feels like home? What steps do we take to make it our home?

How can your home be more than a place where you eat and sleep?

How are you creating home with your family?

Are you being called to co-create a home with someone? What does that co-creation look like?

What needs Mercy and Joy in your Home?

What 6 words describe your home? Your desired home?

If you could change one thing about your home, what would it be?

What senses are triggered when you think of your childhood home? What smells come to mind? What sounds? Sights?

Who do you want to greet you when you arrive home? Do you want someone to greet you? What does that greeting look like?

What is one item in your home that brings you comfort? What is one item that you would not miss should it go missing? What is one item you would like to pass down?

What is missing in your home right now?

What does home look like when the world is in chaos? When the world is at peace?

Can an observation of your home tell the world who you truly are? Or, teach you about yourself?

Where can you find Wonder within your own home today, tomorrow, and each day for the rest of the year?

Does your home have a specific feeling for each season?

These moments of reflection can help us become better care partners, community care staff members, and helps us to not only plan but articulate our plan for how and where we want to age. 2020 is the year of Home and maybe we will be better off because of it, having gone through a transformation process, building a new relationship with Home.

Published by Kathryne Fassbender

Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator. I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia.

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