The choices you are faced with when you are stepping in to help are many and varied. One adult child was telling me how she just got her dad to move into an independent living community and dad was still driving. She shared that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so they wanted to get him somewhere and he seemed to be doing pretty well. I understand the hope to at least get them into a place that is more attuned to help, and that offers other levels of care when needed.
However, what most people don’t truly understand, or interview the community about, is how the community will be able to support the resident. The daughter was thinking “phew, we got him into the community,” but Independent Living is just that — there is no safety net. The dad was probably forgetful at home, and that won’t change, but will most likely increase after the move. Are there options to hire support for this while he is living Independently? Will he accept it?
Is it safe for him to continue driving? You would hope that his doctor would help with this issue, but in many cases, the doctor doesn’t have time to discuss it. Dad is going to need to go get groceries, will he be able to find his way safely from the new location?
When and how does the community help make sure the Dad is in the right environment.? Some communities offer day programs for people with memory loss, while others will force a move into Assisted Living.
My parents were in Assisted Living. After my dad passed away, my mom was very isolated because most of the other residents didn’t want to sit with the lady who couldn’t remember their name or that she had already ordered lunch. We ended up moving mom into a Memory Care community outside of the community she lived in because in her community most of the memory care residents were at the end stage of the disease. My mom wanted to walk and be active, but she needed cues and help getting dressed, and some one to make sure she ate.
The reality is that when there is cognitive decline, making changes earlier gives your loved one a better chance at adapting to the new environment. You just want to make sure that it will also be the right place after the move in.
However, please recognize that you also have the option to help them stay in their home with assistance, and then find an Assisted Living or Memory Care community that is best for them as they are moving into a later stage of their disease.
Life Care communities (or Continue Care Retirement Communities) usually require a large down-payment. Will they really be able to live out there years in that community?
If you are at this juncture, I recommend finding a local Aging Life Care Manager who can help discuss the options in your area. It will save you hours of time, could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and help ensure you find the right community for your loved one and be prepared for the changes that will come. Experienced.
Some related blogs include:
We were forced by the community to move my parents. My parents refused to move from their apartment until the community threatened to evict them from their apartment.
Making the transition to Assisted Living when your parents refuse. The process we went through to move my parents when they refused.