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  • Writer's pictureCamp Goldston Publishing, LLC

Relocation: Navigating the Journey

Dr. Joyce Brown's mom, Granny Box

At age 87, my mother was living her best life. Whether driving around in the black Chrysler Sebring, picking up food supplies for her church’s soup kitchen, or working part-time at her neighborhood elementary school’s lunch room, she was content being useful and doing what she loved: feeding people and enjoying her good health.

Then, I received the phone call. My mother had fallen at work and had been seen by a physician at the hospital. He sent her home with crutches and strict orders to stay off her leg.

My mother hadn’t slowed down with retirement. She was still actively cooking in her church’s soup kitchen, not just cooking but purchasing food, supervising volunteers, and totally dedicated to serving upwards of 126 people every Saturday.

During the week, she was a surrogate grandmother to children in her neighborhood and active in her church and community. While we recognized her “forgetfulness,” she was enjoying her golden years to the fullest.

The fall marked the beginning of several transitions. She could no longer live alone. Although she had numerous friends, church members, and relatives, none of her children or grandchildren lived nearby. So we decided for her to relocate—to stay with me. We left her apartment fully furnished and continued to pay rent while we sorted it out. Her neighbors checked on the place, so we weren’t worried. She’d lived there since forever. Everybody knew Granny.

A ninety-mile relocation …change of residence…change of routine…loss of church family and friends…new health care team…, and loss of identity as self-sufficient elders were significant actions that radically changed our roles. The caregiver now needed a caregiver. She resisted the change in status, the inability to drive, or to live alone. With the assistance of her new healthcare team, she was enrolled in an adult day treatment program, which gave her opportunities to mingle with other seniors, enjoy outings, and have a sense of purpose. On Sundays, we went to church.

As the dementia progressed, we inevitably made the decision to place her in a nursing home. Resilient is the best word I can use to describe my mother. She adapted to the nursing home with the same quiet strength she’d met every challenge with. She made friends, attended weekly church services, and was spoiled by her healthcare workers.

At each juncture, we took the action necessary to ensure her well-being and to be available to help her successfully navigate the journey.


Joyce A. Brown is a motivational speaker and author who uses her creative energy to give voice and meaning to the challenges women face in all walks of life. She grew up in Rockford, Illinois in a household of strong women, but her professional career expanded her reach into Peoria and Battle Creek, Michigan. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and has served as a direct services worker, executive director, program director for a major foundation, and entrepreneur. Joyce has experienced many uplifting moments as a professional and as a dedicated parent and strives to bring those events and lessons to life through her characters in the contemporary fiction novels she pens. Visit her Author’s Page

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