A Week of Decisions

My heart is breaking and I think I have moved into a long-term state of depression and greaving. What a week it has been, let me fill you in.  I have received an education in senior living and senior care this week. 20151225_133213

Mom has increased in her confusion and not knowing where she is or where she lives.  I find evidence frequently that she has been up roaming the house during the middle of the night, which leads to fear that she may go outside again and this time not remember which house to come back to. Wednesday night she wrote a heart-breaking note and placed it on Anita’s door telling Anita that she was in the room at the other end of the hall and to be sure to not leave her.  She had no idea where she was, or where she belonged, and clearly did not want to stay.  It pushed me over the edge and we realized that we needed to do something better for her.  I started a serious search for some help. I was not sure what kind of help we needed, just that we had to make some changes.

Our first stop was at a Senior Day Care center.  They were very nice with lots of activities to keep people busy while there and lots of parties that Mom would not have cared for at all.  We considered this place, but it would not have really given us much relief and none in the evening and night. I talked to a group that contracts people to come into the home to assist, but that seemed awkward since she lives with us.

I started making comparisons of places that offer respite care from the emails that A Place ForMom had sent. That would at least give her a place for a week or two and we could sleep better or get away for a few days. I learned that there are at least three levels of care for seniors.  Independent living, basically an apartment with community benefits and activities for seniors.  Assisted living which offers some medical staff, help with mobility and medical issues. Memory care is designed to assist people needing long-term care who have dementia or Alzheimer. They do all the things that assisted living does, but are designed for people with memory issues. In addition to the more traditional facilities, some are in neighborhood houses, so the places are small and intimate. Of course, the staff would also be few in number. It seems to me that these places would be better suited for assisted living, but I’m sure that there are many that are excellent in whichever specialty they serve. The senior can move in as a long-term resident or for shorter periods call respite care.  As for respite, we decided that the changing of locations would be too hard and only complicate things by adding to her confusion of where she belongs.

After the Day Care, our next visit was to an independent living facility.  Actually, a very large hotel-like structure. Each resident had a complete apartment with a full kitchen and stacked washer/dryers, two meals a day are included in the rent and activities are available.  They had nice commons areas and everything was very elegant.  We were there on Valentine’s Day and a number of the residents were coming down for a get-together, all were dressed to perfection. The coming and going of the residents were not monitored and little assistance was offered, this was definitely not the place for Mom.  Very nice, but it would not meet her needs.

Our last visit was to Arbor Hills Memory Care facility. We were so impressed with the heart that we saw demonstrated for the people there, how clean and fresh it was. There is plenty of places to visit outside of the room, activities designed for their abilities and interest, full medical needs met.  After a day to contemplate and talk it over, we returned to put down a deposit.  This is a very hard decision for us. We so much prefer to keep her here with us but have come to the realization that we have reached the place where it will be better for all to move her into a place for long-term care. Now to fill out the paperwork.

If you are moving into the area of caring for a loved one, be sure to get a durable power of attorney signed and a living will.088

Better times

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