The Power of an Open Window
At the sound of my voice, her gaze moved from the open window to me. A smile lit her face when she caught sight of the bouquet of irises in my hands. “They’re beautiful! Where did you find them?”
“They’re the first blooms from the bed at our house.”
“They’re so pretty.”
I arranged them in a vase where she could see them, and then we played Uno. When it was time for me to go she noticed them again.
“Oh, those are beautiful!” Her voice held the delight I used to hear when she called to tell me that her iris bed was blooming. “Where did you find them?”
This conversation confirmed two changes my siblings and I have witnessed in Mom lately. First, her dementia is becoming more noticeable. Second, her joy is also more noticeable. We’ve been expecting the first change ever since her diagnosis in 2008.
We attribute the second change to the power of an open window.
For years she insisted on having her window shades shut. But when my brother and I stayed with her during a recent hospital stay, we insisted on opening the shades. Mainly because we couldn’t stand sitting in the dark all day long. Soon she became more alert during the day and slept better at night. When she returned to her residential facility, we asked her team to add an item to her care plan.
Window shades are to remain open during the day.
The improvement in Mom’s mood has been phenomenal.
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Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream series for parents of kids with special needs. She speaks at parenting and special needs conferences around the country. She’s also the creator and host of the Different Dream website. Sharing Love Abundantly with Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, which she co-authored with Dr. Gary Chapman, was released in August of 2019 and is available at local bookstores, their bookstore website, and at Amazon. The first book in her cozy mystery series, See Jane Run!, features people with disabilities.
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