Keeping Elderly Parents Safe Part III

Assisted Living

When my dad lost his car and became so confused, the care managers came to me and explained that my parents were no longer safe living independently at home. If anything happened to my dad my mother would not be able to call for help, nor would she be able to care for herself properly. They would discuss with my dad that they would like him and Mom to reside in an assisted living facility for a trial period of thirty days. 

Thankfully, albeit reluctantly, my dad agreed to the trial period. Soon representatives from the facility came to do an assessment of my parents’ health, and they also agreed to give them adjoining rooms to make an apartment. We were able to bring a lot of their pictures and mementos to the rooms to make it more comfortable and familiar.

The facility was a lively place with daily activities and entertainment, a dining room where residents could order from a menu, and beautiful rooms. My dad was very impressed with the place, and my mother went along, although she didn’t like having to eat and do things on a schedule. My parents seemed to come alive; they enjoye the food, activities, and just being around people. The trial period was never mentioned again, and 30 days came and went

My parents resided at this facility for several months, after which it became necessary to find a facility more suited to the needs of my mother. Although my dad had only mild dementia at that time, he elected to move with my mother due to the deep love he had for her.  This new facility had fewer residents and more programs geared to the memory-impaired and Alzheimer’s patient. It was divided into cottages with about 16 residents in each, and my mom and dad soon became very comfortable in their surroundings. They were able to go on outings each week, and they also convinced my mother to start taking medications to slow the progress of her disease.

The drawback to the facility was there was no one his age for my dad to talk to.  Most of the other male residents were non-verbal, so I hired a companion caregiver to take Dad on drives, lunch, bowling, visiting relatives, etc.  This was a godsend for my father and he looked forward to these outings every week.

My dad passed away last March, and my mother had no realization due to her Alzheimer’s. When I speak to her by phone she chats away, not knowing who I am, but instinctively knowing that I’m somebody she should know.

Things To Think About When Choosing An Assisted Living Facility

  • ·     The care managers can help you select a facility that is right for your loved one based on their experience with other clients. They can also be your eyes on site, stopping in as often as you tell them.
  • ·     Be sure you find out what services the facility will and will not provide. For example, some will not provide feeding for residents who cannot feed themselves, help with toileting or bathing – you will need to hire a caregiver. I also found that in some cases facilities will tell you they are ideal for your loved one when in fact they don’t provide the services your loved one really needs.
  • ·     The staff usually doesn’t have the time to provide a lot of one-on-one companionship for your loved one. Don’t expect them to walk with them or have long conversations with them.  Many of them do not speak English very well.
  • ·     If your loved one tends to wander, make sure the facility is secure, i.e., fenced, safe walkways, staff who can keep an eye on your loved one.
  • ·     Find out how the facility wants to be paid. Some may not accept payment electronically.
  • ·     Find out what is included in the fee.
  •       Make sure that all mail from the facility is sent to you.
  • ·     Arrange for someone to take care of your loved one’s house until a decision is made to sell or rent it. 
  •       Make sure all mail is forwarded to you.

I hope this has been helpful to you.  Let me know if I can answer any questions and please feel free to leave a comment.  I’d appreciate your input!

3 thoughts on “Keeping Elderly Parents Safe Part III”

  1. Christy: this was a great blog! I fortunately had my parents living with me when their health started to degrade. My mom had cancer, but my dad had dementia for the 10 years after she died. Turns out he had it when she was sick, but we were so focused on my Mom, I didn’t realize it. I ended up putting my father in daycare for 10 years and then the last 6 months of his life we moved him into an dementia nursing home. He thrived like your parents did in the daycare interacting with others and the activities. The transition to the nursing home wasn’t good, he got depressed and stopped eating. He wanted to go home. HIndsight I should have had him at the nursing home and sent him to the daycare during the day – ie just pay for everything. Live and learn! I was also fortunate that they were going to a geriatric doctor for the last 20-30 years while living with me. She guided me alot!

    1. This is great feedback, thank you, Margaret. All folks need activity and social interaction or they just feel useless. My dad said (not to me, but to a social worker) that he felt he had no more purpose in life. He could no longer read much, but he still enjoyed Nat’l Geographic Magazine and newsletters from Chesapeake Bay Foundation, etc; he didn’t use the phone much but enjoyed phone calls from family; he loved receiving cards and photos in the mail, which made him feel like he was still part of the family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Website Protected by Spam Master