Moving to a Retirement Home

By:  Katy Curry  ©

my first galaxy hair!Here I sit, writing this blog avoiding the inevitable — packing and moving.   My husband’s health hasIMAG0038[1] gone downhill for some time, and it is appropriate for him to begin life in one, in the independent living end…  Me?  Well, there you see me with my teal and pink hair.  I am overweight and tend toward the lazy, but I do not need the care offered in one of these communities, yet I find myself going.

It ‘s hard to find a community that will not fleece your wallet and will take care of your loved one the way they promised you they would.  In Florida, I have been fortunate.  We did have to pay an entrance fee which will secure care for life.

The one accepting us is truly a gift from God.  Our buy-in cost, by God’s God’s Grace, significantly reduced; they are giving me a complete closet organizer!   Our apartment is a likable size and includes a tiny but full kitchen, living/dining room, front Porch, bathroom with walk-in shower, a regular coat closet and a huge walk-in closet.

I do not know if I can publish the name of where we are going, but will say it is in the Port Charlotte at this time so that I will avoid it.

I had anticipated the need for such a move and started looking at various facilities.  Cost wise, they were all pretty comparable. However, there was an extensive range of accommodations, amenities, ratings, etc.

Most places would charge something similar per month as we are paying, but often the units were smaller by one hundred to two hundred square feet, only one other facilities offered porches, while other amenities such as a swimming pool, art classes, sewing classes were non-existent as well.  If one lives in an environment where there is little to do, you sit in your room and age and age and age.

We are well satisfied with the facility we are moving into, but we did a lot of research.  If you are seriously looking for a space for yourself or a parent, do some serious research.  By that, I mean not only visiting the facility but check them out through BBB, get on FaceBook and ask a general question if anyone has had dealings with the home or facilities. The research takes time, but it will produce a sound decision you will not regret.

If you have had dealings with a home for more than a day, consider, has anyone taken his glasses or dentures?  Have they been returned?  Given him food and water? Has the food been edible and appropriate for your loved one to eat?  I remember they had taken my grandmother’s dentures away and would not return them to her.  She would be served a lovely dinner of roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy with some vegetable, but they did not return her dentures, give her a knife or cut her food for her.  We found she had to be hand fed to get any real amount of food into her.

Are they tying your loved one to the bed?  If he or she has a tendency to wander, it is easier to do this than keep track of them.    My mother was tied down when she was in the hospital.  She was delirious due to some medications and rather than calling the family so someone could sit with her, they tied her to the bed instead.  Something even worse happened to my grandmother; she was given sedatives on a regular basis so that the staff would not have to deal with her.  One night when she was left unattended in the shower, she slipped, fell and broke her hip.  Not too many months later she died.

Do things turn up missing?  Have you checked for reflexive defensive actions, cleanliness, suspicious marks or bruises?  You would be surprised at one can go on in an assisted care or full-service nursing home when there is no one there to see.   Personal visits are vital, especially during meal time.

Have I frightened you?  Good.  Terrible things can happen in these places if we are not careful.  Often it is just a matter of visibility and questions, lots,  of questions.  Never be afraid to ask, politely (or not so politely) challenge treatment or staff actions.  The care of your mother, father, child, or spouse is in the hands of these individuals.

Once a parent or grandparent is a patient, the one who gets the best care is the one who receive the most frequent and most insightful visits.  We are all human, and if someone does not get and receive visitors, their care will suffer.    There are some great homes out there, but finding the perfect one takes attention and interest.