Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Caring For a Loved One

Can it really be four years since we received that phone call about my husband's sister. I remember the day like it was yesterday. We had spent the day before at the Garden's celebrating Mother's Day.
It was a call from an unfamiliar number with an unfamiliar voice on the other end.

My husband's sister was having problems and we needed to come as soon as possible, no easy task since we lived an eight hour drive away. Lots of story line in between that call and her arrival at our home, but God's hand was seen at every turn.

We settled her in a place close to our house and that's where she remained until they closed down the facility last summer. Moving her from that facility proved to be hard on her. The differences in the two places are pretty significant, and in the end we have decided to move her again...sigh!

Here are some of the things we have learned that may be helpful to you, if you find yourself looking for a place for a loved one to live. Some things you need to consider.

1. Location
The facility has to be convenient for you to get to, the closer the better. The facility my SIL is at right now is only 15-20 minutes away but it's on a side of town I rarely travel, and I have to time my visits around traffic.  Consequently I am not able to get over there as often as I would like.  If you work and are the main caregiver, finding a facility close to your place of employment may also work. Bottom line, convenience is top priority.

On a side note,  your frequent presence at a facility often makes a difference in the care your loved one receives. They are often shorthanded and an extra pair of hands is always appreciated. Even if it's only to put your hand on the shoulder of a lonely soul that just needs someone to listen to their stories.

2. Layout
This was something we never really though about until our SIL was at the new place. She loved to walk, but there are no places to walk in her current facility. The lobby is very narrow and acts as a multipurpose room. She finds it difficult to navigate the narrow space, encumbered by wheelchairs and walkers from other residents, so she stays in her room more. Result...she walks less and that is never good.

3. Odor and Cleanliness
You know what I'm talking about. An occasional odor happens, but when it's the first thing to hit you when you walk in the door every time you visit, it might not be your best choice.  This wasn't really an issue at our SIL facility but I know it is at many places.

Why not keep them at home you ask? Well, it's an option for some, but you have to consider safety issues, mobility etc., for us the choice was Assisted Living. Sweet Lady was able to keep some independence and privacy and still be safe.

Okay, so here's the test question, what's the biggest factor in choosing a place for your loved one to live? You just have to trust me on this one, it's LOCATION.

Sweet Lady has been on a waiting list for for a place very close to us for a couple of months now. We were getting a little anxious because our grands will soon be here. We didn't want an impending move to take away from any grand time. My prayer was that we would hear from the new facility after the 15th of May (that way we wouldn't have to move her until after grands left. ) God answered that prayer. All the preliminary paperwork will be done before they arrive and her move in date will be after they leave. Thank you Lord for your perfect timing!

By the way I would still be thankful even if it didn't work out the way "I wanted" but it's nice that it looks like it might.


Lea said...

OMG! I could not agree with this post anymore if I tried. I have been a caregiver for the better part of my life. Currently I oversee my Dad's care and he is less than 3 miles from me and you are so, so right, location is of utmost important. He's in an assisted living facility now but was in a nursing home and I've had 3 other loved ones in nursing homes and I was the overseer of their care. It can be such a tough job but I have always felt very sorry for those folks that do not have an advocate. Blessings to you!

Creations By Cindy said...

I could write a book on this one! So glad you shared. Thank you! Hugs and blessings, Cindy

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

I expect that one of these days we will be facing that decision for my Dad. Frankly, he should be in assisted living now, but he refuses to go. And truthfully we don't push it because maintaining his independence is what is keeping him going, I believe. Nevertheless, this will be good information to have when that day comes.