Finding an appropriate assisted living home for Mom had its challenges. After two rather large mistakes, I was losing confidence in my ability to find a good place. Our first choice was lovely but a little too far away and also, Mom couldn’t figure out why she was there. She called frequently to tell me to get her out of there. Several months later, our second move seemed like it would be perfect but she wouldn’t stay even one night. She lived with us in our home while we were searching, but she understandably never felt settled. It wasn’t her home.
In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, the person really doesn’t need help with daily activities such as walking, eating, showering, dressing or going to the bathroom. They don’t fit in with people who are more advanced in the disease process. Mom’s issues were more in line with safety and managing household tasks such as paying bills, grocery shopping and cooking. It’s a strange dilemma when you know they need to be helped and watched, but they don’t. That impairment has a name: Anosognosia.
My husband Bob and I started a new search. We had not yet explored what they call a residential care home. These are private homes in a neighborhood and the owners care for a smaller number of residents, usually between two and ten. The resident’s bedroom is either private or shared, meals are literally home cooked and there is generally a high staff-to-patient ratio. They can be really perfect especially if the resident is a frailer adult or in a later stage of dementia and can benefit from more individualized care. That wasn’t Mom. Yet. We visited several and never found the right fit.
I toured more assisted living facilities near our home and was at my wit’s end, when I got a call from my sister-in-law Janene. She said she found the perfect place for Mom, and I hoped it was a lot more perfect than the ones I had come up with.
Bob and I met Janene and my brother Bob over there and after an interview with the manager, we were taken to the available unit which included a bedroom, a bathroom, a small kitchenette and a living room with space for some comfortable furniture and a TV. We couldn’t run fast enough back to the office to sign the papers and write a check. With every bone in our bodies, we knew it was right. Finally.
Mom also felt it was right. We moved her furniture and belongings to her new home and never looked back. Yes, there were days Mom would call to tell me she was moving home. Home? She was home. I’d go over there find that every picture had been removed off the walls, and her suitcase packed. That’s a blog for another day.
A large advantage to this place was that Mom could live on the “assisted living” floor and later as her disease progressed, she could move down to the “memory care” floor. Thankfully and gratefully, our search was over.
Mom was home. Home sweet home.
Suggestion: When you are moving a loved one because of Alzheimer’s, hit or miss is not a great method. However, there is no guarantee you will have success on the first try. We certainly didn’t. Research is easier now and the sites listed below give some advice on how to search.
A Place for Mom has a good article on Residential Care Homes: Aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/residential-care-homes
Senior Living: Found at seniorliving.org. This site has a lot of good information about Alzheimer’s along with a search bar for the city and state you are looking in.
Eldercare Locator: Eldercare.gov
Here is an interesting article to help you understand why your loved one might not know they have a problem with dementia: