I rememember my mom saying to me, about 6 weeks before she died, that my dad had been keeping her body alive and she’d been keeping his brain working. I had no idea just how true those words were until shortly after her death, when suddenly, the nouns that slipped my dad’s mind weren’t an occasional thing, and more and more words and thoughts were harder for him to recall. To make the story short, I will tell you that very quickly after her death, my dad sold their home and bought one midway between all of us kids here in CT to where their house had been. It was a mistake. Last August, just a year after my mom’s passing, my dad officially moved into an Assisted Living facility.
One of my sisters was the one who brought dad to the different places around us that offered different levels of memory care, because she was the one who had the most availablilty to do so. What we as a family needed to do was sit down and discuss what we wanted for our dad, and most importantly, what he would want in any kind of assisted living. We did this, and came up with a list of what we thought important- and then we all spoke with my dad, and tried to find out that same information from him. Dad’s biggest request was that he not ever have to move again- so that was our main priority. He also wanted to be a short drive from all of us kids, so we weren’t inconvenienced (his thinking, not ours) by driving to see him. That helped to narrow things down, and we were able to start making appointments. I know one thing that helped all of us, including my dad, feel the most comfortable with the decision for him to move into where he resides now, was making several visits to the place, having a few meals there, and meeting some residents.
Having to help our dad make the decision to move into assisted living was a very tough one- but ultimately, the right decision- for him, for us. The decline of his receptive and expressive language in the past 20 months since my mom’s been gone is just awesome to me- sad, and unfair, and heartbreaking. If you have a loved one who is starting to be ready for some more advanced care like assisted living, or skilled nursing homes, I encourage you to discuss what they would want sooner than later, and look around, take your time, to explore all of the options.
I am participating in the “What about Mom & Dad” campaign by AvalonHCI.com and received compensationin exchange for this post. Opinions expressed within are my own.