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Old 03-18-2015, 09:26 PM   #21
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MikeP - I think part of this may depend upon the resources available to your parents. While I think Assisted Living can be great, not everyone can afford it.

I also think starting with home help may be the way to go if your parents can live safely at home with that kind of help.

How old are your parents? My mom is 91 and she doesn't really understand the concept of assisted living. All she can think of is a nursing home and she is convinced that all nursing homes are dreadful places. It doesn't help that her own mother 25 years ago was briefly in a dreadful nursing home.

I'm pretty sure my mom wouldn't go to assisted living or a nursing home unless she had dementia and had no choice. We've offered to have her move in with us, but she likes her independence in her own home (in her case, she has health problems but is able to manage on her own).
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:12 PM   #22
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When my time comes, I want to be in a home with my peers, instead of being followed around by people whose accents I can't understand.
and who will not rob you ! My neighbor stayed at home with home care workers who looted the house .
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:34 PM   #23
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Many of those retirement homes that provide an apt, with 3 meals per day in the communal dining room, activities and bus to shop do have respite programs.

Where you can get your elder parent to go there and stay for a week or two. Perhaps if it as "sold" as a vacation time, opportunity to check out what it's like, some would be willing to go.
Then if they like it, it becomes an easy thing to make full time shortly afterwards.

While its all well and good to say they have to want to go there.
At some point, unless you are willing to let them fall and die in their home from neglect, someone has to step up and make the move happen.

It is tough when the child has to become the parent.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:16 AM   #24
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One thing I feel compelled to say. I don't get the people who say they or their family member "love" the Home. It sounds like happy talk to me. Just going to the doctor's office, as I have been doing a lot lately, and being surrounded by elderly, sick people is starting to depress me. You don't want to be in that environment 24hours a day with nothing to challenge or distract you except a bunch of ersatz "activities" which amount to occupational therapy and are geared to the lowest common denominator. Plus, it is a huge comedown after striving to get ahead all your life. It requires admitting that all is lost and things will never improve. Plus, you have to give up your pets because "Others are Allergic." No wonder people resist this. It may be pig-headed but it is certainly understandable.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:29 AM   #25
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Plus, you have to give up your pets because "Others are Allergic." No wonder people resist this. It may be pig-headed but it is certainly understandable.
This would certainly be a huge issue for me. That said, I know that many assisted living places DO allow pets. And, even some nursing homes have animals that below to the home. When DH's mother was in a nursing home, there was at least one dog and a couple of cats that belonged to the home and basically wandered around. I don't know how they handled allergies but the animals were often just laying around in the common areas. The residents seemed to like having them.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:44 AM   #26
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Yes even when mom was in a nursing home, there were volunteers who brought their own dogs in to visit. Recall talking with the woman, she said most residents loved her 2 dogs. Don't know anything about the allergy issues.
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:50 AM   #27
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The IL/AL facility I am very familiar with allows pets. We also take our pet there when it's appropriate.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:42 AM   #28
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Potpourri of thoughts: When my dad needed to move into assisted living or a nursing home, (he was on the border of needing nursing home, but he was accepted into the AL, and later I hired a private aide to attend to his needs so he wouldn't end up in a nursing home) I visited several in the area. Most of them had a couple of very tame cats. Pets are a known boost to the morale of older people and the cats were happy and well fed and cared for and seemed to have favorite residents they visited.

Most assisted living places have regular outings. One of the outings is to see musical theater. Every theatrical production in our area, community and high school, does their dress rehearsal for "the old folks". One theater actually shares a parking lot with an assisted living place.

Last summer my husband did the musical "Reefer Madness" and yes, they did an old folks show.

When my dad was in rehab, recovering from a brain hemorrhage, I would visit every day I had off and some evenings. I'd take him in his wheel chair and we would go outside on the grounds. It helped him recover from the confusion he experienced. It was fall. I would point out the prettiest trees and we'd look at the diverse plants along the path.

A year later he was in assisted living, watching the stock market collapse and asked if he had enough money.

He had enough to take care of MY nursing home needs. What I want to give my son is the same lack of worry--that there will be a time when I can accept my fate, and he doesn't wonder how it will be paid for. It was still a troublesome time for all concerned.


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Old 03-19-2015, 07:10 AM   #29
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In a similar situation with my father, but my mom still works. Unfortunately, it's up to the kids to suggest things that are unpleasant sometimes. We are working with mom to arrange in-home care for dad for the short-term. Some insurance covers it for acute cases (i.e. broken hips, or the like) requiring treatment and assistance, Medicare might cover some in-home help for short periods as well. I think I'd start there, obviously looking at finances.

In any event, I empathize and sympathize.
Thanks Nash, sorry to hear you are in a similar position, wouldn't wish it on any one. Suppose it comes with the teritory of getting older though
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:11 AM   #30
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The IL/AL facility I am very familiar with allows pets. We also take our pet there when it's appropriate.
I think having pets/ being allowed pets is a fantastic idea, mind as long as the burden doesn't fall on the carer. they are spinning enough plates
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:20 AM   #31
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Thanks Nash, sorry to hear you are in a similar position, wouldn't wish it on any one. Suppose it comes with the teritory of getting older though
As my mother often says, getting older isn't much fun but it sure beats the alternative.

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Hi Dave, this is exactly my fear... forcing them into a home will just make them give up as they arent enjoying it. It's the resent that i fear and i dont want to make my parents last years not enjoyable. comforting to know that i am not the only one dealing with this dilema
An important aspect about moving into assisted living facilities is for many it can make life more, not less, enjoyable. Despite their limitations is gives them an opportunity to enjoy renewed social contact and relieves them of burden of some daily chores, such as cleaning and meal preparation, and may lead to a more healthful diet.

My personal experience is a neutral third party opinion from a qualified professional, such as a geriatric physician or psychiatrist, can be very helpful.
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Old 03-19-2015, 08:46 AM   #32
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I have been going through something similar this year; mother, mid-80's, is in rehab for an event, her first. She doesn't want to stay in the facility, live with me or have in-home help. So, I am not sure what we will do long term. But, something will almost certainly have to change for her which will be hard after living alone for 30ish years.

Currently, I am taking as much vacation as possible and planning to end my OMY this year. Mom is going to need help; and, I am very tired of my current professional environment. So, the timing is good in that sense.

I have no real plan yet but do offer many thanks to those who have already shared experiences and insights here; there is no doubt that OP, I and others will benefit from this.
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Old 03-19-2015, 09:13 AM   #33
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One thing I feel compelled to say. I don't get the people who say they or their family member "love" the Home. It sounds like happy talk to me. Just going to the doctor's office, as I have been doing a lot lately, and being surrounded by elderly, sick people is starting to depress me. You don't want to be in that environment 24hours a day with nothing to challenge or distract you except a bunch of ersatz "activities" which amount to occupational therapy and are geared to the lowest common denominator.
I don't think anybody loves nursing homes but independent living facilities with the option of assisted living they do love . It frees them from many chores while giving them social contact . By the time people need this environment they are no longer driving so they are usually socially isolated . My Mom's independent living facility has yoga , card games , movies , picnics and other activities . It also has a bus for transportation. I don't think the residents have given up . I think they are enjoying the last few years of their life with less worries for them & their children .
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:32 AM   #34
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Reading this thread I was thinking about last weekend. After sailing with a friend spent night at his mothers house, where I've been many times and spent the night before. His mother is 91, still active as she can be, and most strikingly has a wonderful attitude and personality. Frankly, her attitude about life and aging is a stark contrast to many if not most of the elderly I've known. She's lucky in that two of her four children live very close and are a great support system, the other 2 do a lot as well but are further away.

She might have to go to an AL facility some day but I do believe she's the kind who would "make the most of it" and keep an upbeat attitude. Her personality is a stark contrast to that of DW's mother. I intend to keep this observation as a "life lesson" and not be a typical complaining "the world is all about me" person as I age. I know, good luck
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Old 03-19-2015, 10:58 AM   #35
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I think having pets/ being allowed pets is a fantastic idea, mind as long as the burden doesn't fall on the carer. they are spinning enough plates
The facility I am familiar with is well taken care of. Of course that is reflected in the rent. At this stage (IL/AL), the clients are in apartments, and pets are responsibility of the clients. Of course as one progresses from IL to AL to advanced care, it becomes increasingly unlikely that the client has a pet.
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:26 AM   #36
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A little bit of a tangent, but there are factors we can and can't control when we're younger that can delay the need for this type of care and/or admission into a home (which is not for me, IMO...). Substance abuse (everything from alcohol and tobacco on up) and significant trauma (broken bones and serious injuries, including head injuries) are things we can avoid to some extent that often take major tolls on our mobility and cognition later in life. My dad struggles more with mobility these days due to various joint issues, some of which were caused by injuries earlier in life.

It's always a priority of mine to maintain strength and flexibility above all else for that very reason.

Of course, there are myriad unfortunate circumstances we can't control which can be equally devastating to our independence as we get older...
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Old 03-19-2015, 01:59 PM   #37
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A few words, coming at this from the other side. DW and I are in our late '70's, and can relate to almost all of the different experiences that have been shared here. While there are no easy solutions, having lived through the later years with dozens, even hundreds of friends and neighbors, there are a number of things we have done, or are planning to do, to ease the stress on our own children who are now in their late forties to late fifties.
I would not pretend to suggest that what we are doing is a model for others, but that it could be a starting point for planning the later years, and the eventual inability to live without outside help. The is no way to cover all eventualities, but there are commonalities that can be addressed in advance.

The money part is obviously a major factor in looking ahead, so I'll leave that for last.

For starters we did not have a lifetime attachment to our home, so spending many retirement years in socially active senior communities has made "leaving the homestead" trauma unnecessary. Often, older couples who have lived together find it easier to withdraw from the social scene, putting more of a burden on the children for advice and support. In our own case, we moved into a full faciity CCRC regular home, with natural support from the rest of the facility... social contacts, an available rehab/fitness facility, automatic transfer to the apartments, assisted living, nursinghome and Alzheimer facilities.

That does/did not mean giving up on normal activities, as we have until recently spent winters in FL and plan to go back this fall. What it does mean, is that we are well placed to make a sideways move... from freestanding home to apartment living, with all expenses in one rental amount, including meals and transportation.
The main point in all of this, is to be integrated into a community with social, mechanical, and legal support, as not to place heavy responsibilities on our children.

A second consideration is an attempt to preplan as much as possible, with frank discussions with our children as to our own wishes, and our mutual concerns for the future. The beginning part of this planning was to develop our wills and healthcare decisions, and to place them into legal documents.
We did all of this with all of our affected children present, and inviting their input. This was the initial framework, intended to cover the basics. The decision to do this was somewhat agonizing, as neither DW nor I were totally comfortable with opening up our inner feelings. As it turned out, the results were wonderful, and we have become even closer as a family.

Our next step, is coming within another few months, when we will all be together for a week. We'll have a few hours of discusssion about anything and everything. As I have shared here on ER, the likelyhood of Alzheimers is in the future for both of us. We feel this is the time for sharing our financial status and the management of assets as we go forward.

While all of this may seem to be a normal process that every family would go through with aging parents, our personal experience tells us differently. Conservativley speaking, fewer than one out of four situations involving families in this situation have moved forward without severe stress... physical, mental and financial. Mistakes that have had longlasting effects.

Some of the factors we will be discussing:
Tax planning, IRA's, Gifting, Decisions on Annuity, Nursing home... how and when, Home Health Aid, Inlaw apartment, decisions affecting Medicaid, Hospice and other alternatives.

The thinking behind this information and decision sharing, is to optimize whatever assets are there. By example, friend who made his own decision to go to a nursing home, so as not to be a burden to his daughter. Four years and $400,000 later he passed away, never knowing or realizing that she would have been happy to take care of him in her home, both for love, and to provide her with some retirement security.

Our goal is to avoid being a burden, and to prepare our children for the inevitable.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:08 PM   #38
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Good job, imoldernu! Having discussions and making decisions sooner rather than later is good for everyone involved.
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Old 03-19-2015, 02:26 PM   #39
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Good job, imoldernu! Having discussions and making decisions sooner rather than later is good for everyone involved.
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:36 PM   #40
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One thing I feel compelled to say. I don't get the people who say they or their family member "love" the Home. It sounds like happy talk to me.
So much depends on the facility, the staff, and the individual. For sure there are rotten homes out there and that is in part why we want to be the ones to pick ours while we are in a position to be picky. We are more open to moving to a CCRC because of my mother's experience. Yes, she cried a bit when she moved from the house she'd lived in for nearly 40 years. But that house had also become a burden to her in taking care of it, the cleaning, maintenance issues, who to call if I couldn't fix it, and the like.

She also wanted to be very certain that she would not become a burden to her children as her mother had been.

Six months after she moved she said "I wish I had done this 10 years ago!" All the homeowner maintenance issues went away. She did engage in the activities, mostly day trips or short two or three day trips, or classes. Often it took me two or three days to reach her on the phone because she was out running around doing stuff. She had a great time for ~11 years and it was only during the last six months of her life that physical issues curtailed much (but not all) of that and she was in assisted living. I have not a word of complaint and many of praise for the place she was living.

Contrast that with FIL. He was terrified of nursing homes and never could understand that a CCRC was not the same thing, even after we walked through a couple with him. He was adamant that he was going to stay in his house the rest of his life. However, since he didn't have the money to do much of anything else, that was pretty much his life - staying home and reading books. He was active in the church but gee, when the highlight of your day is going to Burger King for breakfast I think something is missing. The only reason he could stay in the house as long as he did was because of the help that DW, I, and her siblings gave him, both in routine stuff cleaning/maintenance and some financial.

DW and I remain certain that he would have thrived in a CCRC. He was very social and could start a conversation with all but the most hard core of grouches. And the staff at the CCRC would almost certainly have kept a better handle on his blood sugar levels and he wouldn't have died the way he did.

Thirty years ago I would definitely have agreed with Amethyst and fully intended to stay in my own house for "the duration". But the experiences of the last few years have made me aware that that is almost certainly unrealistic and improbable. So we're trying to come up with an exit strategy that lets us do as much as we can for as long as we can and still makes assistance readily available when that time almost inevitably comes.
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