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Update on my Dad
Old 08-14-2012, 11:50 AM   #1
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Update on my Dad

Quick recap -

My Dad broke his hip last November, 2 weeks after my Mom died. He had surgery and 2 months in recovery at a nursing home, went home in January and had Home Health Aides 24 hours a day until about mid April and then just 12 hours a day for a while and then 8 hours a day until August 1st.

He worked very hard at his physical therapy, progressing from a walker to a cane which he only used around his apartment, he felt more secure with his walker if he left his home.

Update -

He's now 86. In July he asked DH and I to come and help him try out driving his car. It had been sitting in his condo parking garage since his accident and he wanted to see if he was strong enough to drive again. He had the garage attendants recharge the battery and he had reinstated his car insurance.

He did just fine with operating the car. His strength was back and he was adventurous enough to leave his complex and drive into the residential neighborhood. He was so proud of himself! He could quit paying for help and be independent again. He felt "recovered". I was concerned about him driving again, mostly because of the heavy traffic nearby.

On August 4th he drove to his bank, got cash for the month and then drove to the grocery store and did his shopping. He planned it all out ahead of time and managed well. When he got home he had a 2 wheeled cart for his groceries and he headed to the elevator. Before he got to the elevator he got tangled up between his walker and managing the cart with the groceries and he fell flat on his face, breaking his nose, cutting above his eye and scraping his hand.

The garage attendants helped him get up and get his groceries up to his apartment. He put his cold stuff away and then called my sister. She went right over and saw how much he was bleeding and called an ambulance.

When she called me I said I'd come right over but she said that I had handled the broken hip episode alone (she was out of town on vacation) and she'd cover this one. He wasn't admitted to the hospital so she took him to her house and he stayed overnight.

I saw him the next day and although he was bruised and bandaged he said he wasn't in pain and that he was anxious to go home. But he said that he doesn't want to drive again. It was a little too scary being out in traffic and if he can't manage to get groceries home then what's the use. He thought he could be independent until he was slapped in the face with a parking lot. Big wake up call.

So last week I looked into 3 Assisted Living places in my area and my sister looked at one in her area. She lives near Dad and would like to keep him in his familiar location. I'm 30 miles away. I would love to have him close by but I don't know if he'd seriously consider it. I learned a lot about what is offered, unit sizes and prices and social activities and dining. I was impressed and really liked 2 of them. The 3rd one is close, had a nice atmosphere and good sized units but was built in the 80's and looked very worn and tired.

So this afternoon Dad, my sister and I are meeting at the Assisted Living place that my sister toured last week. It's about 2 miles from where he lives now. He wants to learn about what his future (when he's older!) situation might be. My sister wants this to happen by the end of the year. I see some compromises coming!

I'm hoping that when he decides he's ready to downsize, simplify and make a move that he will consider moving to my area, but I'm not counting on it. The 2 options that I liked were lovely and he could probably save some money compared to what it will cost him in his current area. I would love to have easy access to seeing him frequently, bringing him to my house for visits and just having him in my life more.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:56 AM   #2
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I saw him the next day and although he was bruised and bandaged he said he wasn't in pain and that he was anxious to go home. But he said that he doesn't want to drive again. It was a little too scary being out in traffic and if he can't manage to get groceries home then what's the use. He thought he could be independent until he was slapped in the face with a parking lot. Big wake up call.
Good for him!!! That is such a realistic and responsible attitude on his part, and that was what stood out most to me, in reading your post.

Good luck in finding the right assisted living place for him. Often parents who move to these facilities like them a lot more than expected. My (now deceased) mother thought hers was great. My brother is there too.
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:01 PM   #3
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I'm hoping that when he decides he's ready to downsize, simplify and make a move that he will consider moving to my area, but I'm not counting on it. The 2 options that I liked were lovely and he could probably save some money compared to what it will cost him in his current area. I would love to have easy access to seeing him frequently, bringing him to my house for visits and just having him in my life more.
Good luck to your Dad, and most of all, you are a super daughter. I have no girls, but if I did I would want them to be as much like you as they could be.

Also, he can get food delivered, he can get someone to come in and clean, he can use cabs and special senior buses with helpful drivers, so he may be able to stay home. My ex's father died several months ago, very shortly after moving into assisted living. He detested it. He could have got along in the right apartment in the right neighborhood. Although he was 96 years old, there was nothing really wrong except that his kids all lived a continent away, and he lived in a suburban house that was very oldster unfriendly and the kids were worried.

Ha
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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Excellent, encouraging story. Thanks for that.
Sounds like your dad is still mentally sharp, and that's at least half the battle right there.

Please let us have another update after he has been in the AL facility for a month or two.
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great story SueJ. God bless your father and god bless you and your sister. It soulds like the assisted living facility is the place for your father. My father also did this in his late 80's. Those facilities will be sure your dad is getting the proper care, meals, medications, etc. You think he can mamage but one never know what goes on when you are not around. Best wishes to you and the family.
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Old 08-14-2012, 02:10 PM   #6
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You say he lives in a condo with at least a garage attendant.... so I would assume it also has a guard or front desk guy...

Does he like the place where he lives?

If so, then how close are the things he needs?

If close, how easy is it to get a taxi or some other transportation that might be offered?


We were about to move my mom into an assisted living when I found her a condo... we thought that even if she lived there a year, one more year of 'independance' was what she wanted. Her comment on visiting an assisted living place was 'there are a lot of old people here'... our family was worried that she would decline rapidly....

She has now lived there for 3 years and is looking like she will be there a few more... she still drives, but would be willing to take cabs etc. if she can not get her license renewed... and of course we would help her out... our biggest problem is cabs are not around her area... if they were, it would be so much easier on her when the time comes...

I would not be pushing for assisted living unless this is what your Dad wants....
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:02 PM   #7
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Sounds like your father is doing remarkably well under the circumstances and is pretty realistic. Another option might be a senior living facility that offers both independent living apartments as well as assisted living in the same complex. It sounds as though he might not need the assisted living yet, but may in the next few years. My mother lives in such a complex - she's still in the independent side but feels secure knowing she can move to the assisted living building when she needs to. (It is a month-by-month rental in both buildings, not a continuing-care buy-in model.) Good luck with the decisions!
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:42 PM   #8
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Thanks so much for the update! You and your sister are really wonderful daughters.

If you can finesse the move so that your father buys into it as "his" idea, he will be very happy (I saw with two relatives how one felt forced into the move and was miserable every minute, while the other, moved into the same facility just down the hall, felt it was her idea and very much enjoyed her last years there). Maybe getting it lined up for "when he's older" (I love that!) will make him decide on it sooner rather than later.

And the 30 mile drive really isn't that far, is it, if he likes the place closer to your sister?
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing your story. Many of us have loved ones who have or will go through similiar situations, not to mention us facing decisions like this in the not so distant future. You and your dad are an inspiration. I hope everything works out for him and your family.
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:48 PM   #10
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Sue, thanks for the update. Your father has every reason to be proud of his daughters.

An option to keep in mind is an independent living for seniors with assisted living available if needed. These are sometimes called continuing care retirement facilities. If he doesn't need skilled assistance but does need help with meals and and supervised physical activity that might be a less expensive alternative.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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Sue, thanks for the update. Your father has every reason to be proud of his daughters.

An option to keep in mind is an independent living for seniors with assisted living available if needed. These are sometimes called continuing care retirement facilities. If he doesn't need skilled assistance but does need help with meals and and supervised physical activity that might be a less expensive alternative.
This is what my Mom has and it has worked out fine .They have lots of social activities and a bus to take them grocery shopping or to the Doctor's . It is connected to an assisted living so when she needs this it is an easy option.They also have life alert so if someone falls they know immediately .My Mom has a small apartment and one meal is included .She can opt for more meals but so far this has worked out fine .Several of her friends are in the same facility .Your Dad sounds like he is ready for this type of facility rather than assisted living .
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:36 PM   #12
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Our visit today went very well. He was open minded and asked a lot of questions. We had the full tour, saw a good sized one-bedroom unit and a studio (already occupied). We talked about the meals, the activities and the extra costs for increased levels of care if and when it's needed.

The woman giving us the tour introduced us to a few residents who were friendly and welcoming. One gentleman introduced himself and asked Dad if he was moving in. Then he asked him about what he used to do for a living and where he lived now. Dad enjoyed talking about his career and his retired years (we traveled, went to Elderhostels, etc). People were awake and aware and engaging.

The units were larger than I expected. Dad checked out every cabinet and closet. We met a man on his way out and he asked if we'd like to see his place, too. So we got to see a lived-in one.

Then we went to a meeting room and got down to specifics. There are one-bedroom units available but all the studios are taken and there is a waiting list of current one-bedroom residents who would like to downsize to the studio. So he'd have to take a one-bedroom and get on the list for the studio. The cost is much higher than his current cost of living in his condo but he knows that's what it takes. He asked some very good questions, "Do I have to sign a contract?", "Can I have my computer and an internet connection?"

We talked about what furniture pieces he could bring from home and how simple and easy it could be for him. He's concerned about selling his condo and not getting what he paid for it in 1995. My sister and I discussed how we could handle selling the condo and his un-needed furniture after he moved rather than him feeling like he couldn't move until it sold. It may be possible to rent it out for a while to cover his condo maintenance fee and property taxes if it didn't sell.

My sister noticed that while being there, seeing the place and meeting the people and thinking about a future there, he really brightened up! He's still got a sense of humor, he can engage with people and carry on an interesting conversation.

When we left I took him shopping for shoes and luckily we found them at the first stop. He wanted to wear them home and he left the old ones behind. I really enjoyed doing this with him as it's usually my sister doing the mundane errands with him.

As for him considering coming to my area, I don't think it's going to happen but I'm glad I tried. He appreciated that I'd want him close by and that I made the effort to look at a few places. But his world is there and it's enough of an upheaval for him to just think about moving at all.

Earlier in the year my sister looked into an independent living place. The one she wanted (our aunt lived there before she died) had a 2 year waiting list. But I'll mention this to her and see if there are other ones nearby. Seeing him at the Assisted Living place, it seemed like the appropriate setting, but I'm fairly new at this elderly stuff.

If he could write his own script for the rest of his life it would start with him going to bed and not waking up in the morning. He's done everything he wanted in his life, he met his great-grandson who just turned 1yr. and he's outliving most of the people he knows. He checks the obituaries to keep track of who is ahead of him in line. Life has been so hard for him for the last year and what he wants most is to not use up all his money before he dies. He keeps telling me that he's using up my money, and I tell him he worked for it and it's his until he's done with it. All his life he worked and saved and lived within his means. It's hard to turn that around and spend beyond your means to get through the final years.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:10 AM   #13
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My sister noticed that while being there, seeing the place and meeting the people and thinking about a future there, he really brightened up! He's still got a sense of humor, he can engage with people and carry on an interesting conversation.
Your father is being amazingly mature about the transition-- especially the part about giving up the car keys. I hope this all goes as well as it's gone so far!
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:44 AM   #14
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It sounds like he is adapting well to the change and is facing the reality of them.

We are also dealing with those issues now with FIL.
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Old 08-15-2012, 12:18 PM   #15
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Sue,

Is there a meals on wheels program available or visiting nurse program where your Dad lives? That might help him stay where he is for a while longer. Its tough encouraging someone who has been independent for most of their lives to give up that life style, although many of the assisted living communities are pretty darn nice. Hope everything works out OK for all of you.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:00 PM   #16
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Glad he has taken a 'mature' approach to his situation. Best of luck to you guys.

When I read these stories, I can't help but wonder what it will be like for myself if I'm lucky enough to live that long. My mom drove up to 92 years of age. Mainly just to a close by grocery store and to a hair dresser. But she has always had me nearby to take care of other things and now most everything. For me having no kids or relatives in the area, I will have to get it done myself as I'm sure many here on this forum.

I hope I have the sense to know when it's time to go in an assisted living facility as Sue's Dad. I hope I don't sound like I'm sitting around thinking about depressing stuff because I don't. Hell, I still a young whipper snapper. But it is something to think about.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:08 PM   #17
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If he could write his own script for the rest of his life it would start with him going to bed and not waking up in the morning.
...
He keeps telling me that he's using up my money, and I tell him he worked for it and it's his until he's done with it. All his life he worked and saved and lived within his means. It's hard to turn that around and spend beyond your means to get through the final years.
This was precisely my mother's attitude during her last few years. No matter how much I told her that it was perfectly fine for her to be in an expensive place where she was well cared for, it always made her sad that she couldn't leave some money to me.

It's tough, but I found the best thing I could do for her was simply to visit as often as possible. Even a 15 minute visit really made a big difference in her life.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:15 PM   #18
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Your father is being amazingly mature about the transition-- especially the part about giving up the car keys. I hope this all goes as well as it's gone so far!
+1

Sue J,

You're father seem to be able to emotionally handle these difficulties well. Good guy.

Maybe some are able to make the changes that are best for them and the others find purpose in life by being able to hang on to the status quo (car, house).
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:03 PM   #19
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This is interesting. I've had several extended family members in assisted living and gotten to see what their lives were like. But it *is* more expensive.

My in-laws are long past the point of needing this. We'd been helping them live independently - built a granny flat house for them that fit their needs... but they've decided they need to be on the east coast... so that phase has come to an end. Truthfully, my father in law should be in skilled nursing, but my mother in law insists she can care for him. (He's in a wheelchair and has suffered many strokes.) I think finances and fear are why she doesn't take that step.

I coach a FIRST FLL team (robotics for kids). The theme this year is Senior Solutions. We did a field trip to a continuing care facility near our house last week. (Research for the project.) We met one of the residents, age 92, who was getting exercise. She'd just gotten back from a 94 day cruise. She's the poster child for independent living. (And for making sure your firecalc or spreadsheet goes out long enough!). It was very interesting to see the options available.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:50 PM   #20
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+1

Sue J,

You're father seem to be able to emotionally handle these difficulties well. Good guy.

Maybe some are able to make the changes that are best for them and the others find purpose in life by being able to hang on to the status quo (car, house).
+2. When it's my time, I hope I'm in the same camp as your father.
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