By Paul Benedict

At 91 years old, the time had come.

Mom had lived alone in a nice apartment in Mesquite for 8 years, her fat black cat, Onyx, her only companion. She loved Mesquite, she hated snow, and we were happy she lived near us. We were close enough to be there whenever she needed us, and both she and we enjoyed our privacy.

Her arthritis forced her to use a cane and her vision was deteriorating, but her mind was sharp enough to recognize that she was aging. We were so proud of her when, a few years ago, she asked us to sell her car because she didn’t think she should be driving any longer. We began to shop for her groceries and write her checks for her, and the nice folks from the Mesquite Senior Nutrition program delivered a hot lunch for her every day.

Over the next couple years, the cane gave way to a walker, her eyesight worsened, and she began to show signs of aging much more rapidly than she should have. A few dizzy falls and ambulance rides convinced her that the cardiologist was right – her heart wasn’t working right – she would soon need a pacemaker. Besides that, though, she needed help bathing, she needed exercise, and she needed someone to watch over her more closely, so her doctor arranged for the kind professionals from Mesa View Home Care to help her. This worked well, but she was still weak; her poor vision wouldn’t allow her to cook any more, so the delivered lunches became her only real daily meal; and now more than ever, she was lonely. Onyx was a silent companion, except when the moon was full – that’s when Onyx saw to it that Mom got little sleep at night.

Her pacemaker surgery early this May went well, but Mom now really needed someone to be around all the time. She needed someone trained, someone who could respond to an emergency within seconds, rather than long minutes after a phone call to me. She didn’t need a nursing home with its skilled care, but she did need assistance, so her doctor’s instruction that she shouldn’t live alone any more brought her to Bee Hive Homes.

A couple years ago, the Exchange Club was invited to have lunch with the residents of Bee Hive Homes Assisted Living, and Barb and I joined our fellow club members on an in-depth tour of the facility. It wasn’t a nursing home, it was simply a nice home with trained staff to help the 16 residents whenever needed. The dietician-prepared lunch was delicious, the staff were attentive, and the residents were happy. We were truly impressed, and felt that when the time came, Mom would like living there. She could bring her own furniture if she wanted to, a private phone with her old number, and her own TV. And she could bring Onyx.