This decision varies depending on the circumstances.
- Is the maintenance of the independent living home becoming too much to handle?
- Are there transportation problems getting to the doctor, the grocery store, and friends?
- Are there safety concerns about stairs or potential falls?
For my Dad, he was very healthy and independent. He had no expectation that he would ever need to live in an assisted living home. Then he began to have unexplainable falls. We took him to the doctor and surgery was required immediately. After the surgery, he needed a place to live with very good care and assistance. He simply couldn’t live in his former home with the bedrooms upstairs and no help.
We talked about the options openly. Should we have someone live with him? Should we move him to apartment which could be shared with another senior that would provide company and sharing expenses for extra help with cooking, cleaning, medications and transportation?
It was a difficult decision as he was a very strong independent man who had spent his life as a Methodist minister caring for everyone around him. He did not like the idea of admitting that he was the one who now needed care. However, we looked at the options and decided an assisted living home near my house and office would be the best choice for now. We did not decide it would be the choice forever. We kept our other options open.
We quickly learned that there was no perfect option, however, we knew we needed some help.
In order to make the transition smoother, we brought some of his precious items from home. A quilt for the wall from the church, many family photos and his precious desk which made it seem more like home. He had always been athletic and loved the outdoors and the birds. We made sure he went outside as often as possible.
The other most important help with the transition was keeping his car at the assisted living home. My dad LOVED cars! Even though he could not drive, he knew his car was there. We had a fabulous “helper” who would come during the week and take him to doctor’s appointments, breakfast, church in his car. It made him feel like he still had those things he loved and control of his daily life.
For more information about what my Dad and I learned, see HealthSpin’s Easy Healthcare: Choosing an Assisted Living Facility.
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