Today has turned out to be a banner day. I am so pleased and grateful to hold in my hand a paper proof copy of my book, “Daughters on Duty”. Although it’s been available on Amazon since early September, as an e-book, it’s just not the same as holding it in your hand. I can’t tell you how many people have asked when they could have a printed copy. It’s almost here.
In the meantime I thought I would share an excerpt and see if I can start a conversation. A blog has the purpose to share a person’s thoughts and ideas but in my view doesn’t have much impact if there isn’t a connection with readers which includes their thoughts and ideas as well.
Below is an excerpt from Chapter Five: AFTER THE HOSPITAL: MANY ROADS TO RECOVERY
ASSISTED LIVING – SAFER THAN HOME ALONE
Unfortunately, at some point going home may not be a real option anymore. Caregivers will come to the realization that home is no longer a safe place for their loved one to recuperate, or that their condition has deteriorated to where independent living is no longer practical. Our family put it off for a long time, but Mom’s continued trips to ER, hospital stays and midnight calls — for me to come over and help her because she didn’t know what to do to help herself — became too much for me to handle, and made me fearful for her being alone.
An incident unrelated to health scared me just as badly. I got a phone call from her one day, asking me what company she had her cable service with, and what she pays for the service. When I asked why she was asking, she calmly told me that a man had come to the door with a really good deal for cable service, and she couldn’t find her last bill to tell him what she was already paying. As I told her she didn’t need new cable service, she started talking to the “nice young man” that she had already let in the house — and was still standing there while she was going through her bills and private papers. OMG! I immediately told her to ask him to leave, and we would discuss it later. When I saw her later that day, I explained that I was upset because he could have been an axe murderer. She just said, “Well, I didn’t think of that.” She promised me she wouldn’t let anyone else in the house, but I wasn’t convinced.
A few months later, I called a family meeting. My siblings came from their respective homes in other states, so we could explain to Mom that as much as she wanted to remain in her home, she wasn’t safe there anymore. To help make the transition easier, we told her that if she stayed at an assisted living apartment for the winter but was physically better by spring, she could come back to the house. We didn’t really think she would be able to come back, but it made the decision seem not so final. This is such a hard decision to make, but often the right one.
There are many options with choosing an assisted living facility, or as they are called in some states, adult foster care. Choose the environment that is best for your loved one. If he or she is active and engaged, consider a larger facility with community activities and field trips. My mother loves to garden, so I found a place where she could do this. She doesn’t socialize all that well, so the forty resident complex where she lives now is much better than the sixty-five resident complex where she moved to at first. Just like investigating skilled nursing facilities, ask for referrals and do your research in advance. Make an appointment to tour a prospective place, and even have lunch. If you do not care to eat the food, your loved one probably won’t either.
Sometimes, even though you’ve thoroughly checked out a facility and are sure it’s the right one, after a few weeks or a few months, the place you chose just doesn’t work out. I chose the wrong place the first time around, and I know others who have had to try a couple of places before finding the right combination of environment and care. Don’t be afraid to be the squeaky wheel if you are not happy with the care being provided. Talk to the facility manager and the managing nurse. If things don’t change, start shopping. Our home health nurse was the one who suggested the place my mother lives in now. When I told other providers where she was moving to, I got very positive responses. So far, our second time’s a charm. Keep trying until you find what works for you. There are many options available these days, from large complexes to private homes in residential settings.
What experiences have you had with making this transition? I would love it if you would share some ideas of what worked for you or what didn’t work. We learn much about what we want by figuring out what we don’t want. There are so many of us doing this job. Supporting each other is so much better than feeling like you are doing it all alone.
A penny for your thoughts???