I need to drop character here for a moment. Though I welcome all of you in my home with every post, I would like to open my heart today. I’ve written and deleted more sentences here than I care to admit and having said that, I’ve decided to stay within my mission of true authenticity. I feel a huge tug to write about my aging parents and my sister’s and my decision to move them into assisted living and how we made the decision. I promise you that I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled program tomorrow with Keeping Fed, but today, I’m hoping I can start a new dialogue with you, and open the door for discussion in the comments below for anyone that have aging parents living in assisted living or ones that need to make the move. For some, it’s a difficult decision. For others, it’s an easy one. For my sister and I, it was both.
I have beautiful memories of growing up. My parents raised my sister and I to uphold strong morals and values along with receiving a healthy dose of guilt trips thrown in as well. Par for the course for our generation, I suppose. I look back with true fondness and do my best to teach my own kids much of the same.
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Considering Assisted Living
One thing that Mommy always told my sister, Hilary, and I – “Never EVER put me in a home.” She was always adamint when she said it, and believe me, she said it often. It’s drilled into our heads.
Both of our parents’ health have gone downhill the past 5 years. Hilary has dedicated her life to taking care of them, while I try to fly down to Georgia from New York as often as I can to help. The past couple months, Mommy’s health has spiraled down, losing the majority of her speech and also her mobility. Daddy is exhibiting many signs of dementia and has become hard of hearing, which at times, is frustrating and heartbreaking to everyone. And, he’s wicked grumpy about it.
Hind sight, we should have researched the assisted living option much earlier than now, but both Hilary and I had my mom’s voice in our heads about not putting her into a home, etc. After several conversations and agonizing negotiations, we feel that our parents would strongly benefit from living in assisted living.
First, Hilary and I had to push forward and get over the “putting her in a home” comment. She was drowning in the amount of care my parents were requiring from her. Times have changed for the better and the nursing home that my mom referred to all of those years has, for the most part, received a serious upgrade.
5 Great Tips When Moving Parents Into Assisted Living
1. Interview All Assisted Living Homes That You Are Considering
Interview everyone from the head manager in charge, to the nurses, to even the food servers because they too monitor and observe behavior. Get a feel for them and make sure each employee would do your parents right, everyone from management to the nurses on staff. This is a biggie!
2. Take A Tour Of Each Facility
Take a tour and leave no stone left unturned. What are the feels? Would your parents feel comfortable living there? How’s the layout? Are the rooms big enough? More often than not, our parents don’t need much space in this stage, but still they need enough to feel their new digs are their own.
3. Are All Amenities Covered?
It’s amazing what services are offered at assisted living locations nowadays. Most have beauty shops and barber shops, gyms, social hours, 3-square meals and 24/7 snacks. More importantly, make sure there is an on location pharmacy. No more having to go to the drug store to pick up their prescription; it’s called into the assisted living location. I can attest, this is a game changer!!
4. Make Sure Your Parents Will Connect And Feel Comfortable Here
If you’re on the tour and aren’t feeling the good vibes, then chances are your parents won’t either. Many locations offer several clubs to join, like puzzle club and lots of card game clubs to name a few. More importantly, observe the current residents and hopefully you’ll find a few that your parents will connect with and become friends with as well.
And last but not least…
5. What Entertainment Is Offered?
Elderly people require a lot of entertainment, and that runs the gamment from the news to bird watching. I’m honest yet reluctant to say that these two past times are my parent’s favorite. The assisted living location where my parents are moving also has a “midnight slipper club” where those that can’t sleep head out to the main lobby to congregate and visit, all while wearing their jammies and slippers. Plus, there’s a 24/7 movie theatre where they can have their choice at what movie to watch. The Midnight Slippers will be invaluable to both of my parents as neither one of them sleep worth a damn.
Of course, there are many considerations to weigh when moving parents into assisted living. These are 5 of my best tips that I wanted to share in case any of you are in the same boat as Hilary and I.
It’s not an easy decision. There have been an ample amount of tears and denial, but both Mommy and Daddy realize that moving into assisted living will benefit them immensely. Although Mommy doesn’t say much at all, she nods in agreement. Daddy is looking forward to the social aspect and to not be as lonely.
As for Hilary, she’s going to get some of her life back. She’s going to have a lot of new found time awarded to her that she hasn’t had in years. She has earned every second. And I’ll keep flying down every 2-3 months to visit and love on my parents.
Let’s Support Each Other
I welcome any of my readers that are considering moving your parents into assisted living to put all comments, questions and concerns in the comments below. Let’s support each other and pony up any and all advice we have. The greatest support is when we all come together.
Talk to me. Share.