Planning Ahead For Assisted Living
Some helpful tips for finding a place for you or a loved one
I’ve met people dealing with this issue in my own life. Recently, a man behind a store counter confided that he’d had to relocate from another part of the country with little preparation to make arrangements for his parents suffering from dementia.
An acquaintance of mine is in dangerously failing health, and her husband feels helpless.
And I nearly dropped the phone recently when my cousin-by-marriage, Helene, told me she was living at an assisted living facility in Boynton Beach, Fla. Helene, 86, had been the definition of “aging in place” ever since her husband died 13 years ago. She had reveled in her independence, continuing to work part- time.
I didn’t realize how much her health had deteriorated. “I have atrial fibrillation and fibromyalgia,” she told me. “I have aches and pains all the time.”
Her son, Michael, said Helene started falling about five months ago, and that her doctor suggested assisted living, but Helene resisted. Then, her fatigue got so bad she could barely move, and she was taken to the hospital. That’s when Helene began to assess her situation.
She was deeply distressed when she realized she now needed help with everyday tasks, like bathing and getting dressed. But, “after what happened, I couldn’t go back to the apartment by myself,” she said. “Here, I press a button and there’s someone to help me. It’s a great relief.”