Looking at Life from Both Sides

Some of the lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s song, Both Sides Now, describe my feelings about having my Mother living at our assisted living community, Toby Weinman Assisted Living Residence:

“I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all”

On August 28, 2017 I will celebrate my 27th year of employment at Menorah Manor. To say things have changed drastically in my life is an understatement. When I began in 1990, I was a part time employee with an infant son. My parents were vibrant and independent. In 1991 I had a second son, and we celebrated his briss at the Samson Nursing Center – the only briss to have ever occurred here!

As the years went by, my children grew and became independent, and I became a full time employee with Menorah Manor. My parents became involved too, and served on the boards here, and even chaired our Foundation board. My Mother co chaired a couple of the major fundraising Galas, and loved being involved.

Fast forward to 2012. My dear Father passed away, leaving my Mother alone in a big house. After a year alone in the house, she made the wise decision to sell and move into an independent living community. She had three good years there, and eventually realized that she needed more support. Because of our family’s close connection with Menorah Manor, there was no decision to be made – she would move into The Toby Weinman Assisted Living Residence.

“It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all.”

After working for Menorah Manor for so many years, I thought I knew everything about our organization. When my Mother moved into the Weinman Residence, I realized I didn’t know as much as I thought I knew. Instead of being on the outside looking in, I was very much on the inside.

The transition from independent living to assisted living was not easy for my Mother – or for me. It was an admission of the fact that things were changing; it was a time of realizing the losses that had occurred over the last couple of years. After years of providing support daily to families who were moving into our nursing center and assisted living residence, I was the one who needed the support to get through a rough patch.

After getting settled, my Mother has come to realize how lucky she is to be living in a homelike setting, where the help she needs is readily available. She feels safe and enjoys the security of being surrounded by supportive and loving staff.

I don’t think I ever appreciated how hard it is to be a family member, even though I have spent countless hours over the years providing morale support to others. I have found myself walking a fine line of making certain that my Mother receives the support she needs, but also wanting her to feel like she still has some control.

There are countless reasons I am grateful for the care my Mother is receiving – the human touch is immeasurable. The fact that my Mother can walk outside her apartment, and go into the lobby to be greeted by friendly, helpful people is a lifesaver. The peace of mind that I have that my Mother can press a button and be assisted with her activities of daily living is so reassuring. The calm I feel when I go home at night knowing that she is never, ever alone helps me sleep better at night.

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now…”

After all of these years of being on the “other side” I now fully appreciate what it means to be on this side. And, for that, I am grateful.

Judy Ludin, CFRE
Chief Development & Communications Officer
Menorah Manor