Someone recently asked me how I decided when it was time for my mom to be cared for in a nursing home or assisted living memory care. I’ve written about that decision a time or two, but decided I should write about it again.
Before I share my personal “Top 3” list, I invite you to grab a cup of coffee (or your favorite beverage) and listen to this video by Dr. Natali Edmonds — someone who has been a virtual mentor for me as I’ve learned about being a caregiver.
Now, here are my Top 3 Reasons
Reason #1: Sleep
Not mom’s sleep. My sleep. I wasn’t getting enough of it and it was beginning to affect everything. Long-term sleep deprivation is brutal. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, it was creating “excessive caregiver stress” and it was showing up in all of the areas of my life that mattered the most to me. It was harming my closest relationships — my time in God’s Word, my marriage, my opportunities to spend quality time with my grandchildren, my friendships. I was a tired and distracted employee and my job performance suffered. I loved teaching Sunday School, but I knew in my heart I wasn’t able to focus on preparation for my ministry and wasn’t as creative in my teaching as I once was. Those in my circle of friends were beginning to comment about how tired I looked.
Reason #2: Personal hygiene needs
Mom’s resistance to help with personal hygiene, to put it politely; bowel incontinence, to be specific. When my mom’s brain could no longer register the “urge to go” with the need to do something about that, life got a lot messier. Literally. Between multiple clothing and bedding changes, multiple loads of laundry, and floor and bathroom cleanup, daily life was getting too hard for one or two people to handle. Mom needed more hands on care and a bathroom that was designed with disabilities in mind.
Reason #3: Safety & Mobility issues
In the later stages of dementia, mom was beginning to forget how to walk. There were days when she needed coaching to put one foot in front of the other. Her legs were growing weak, making her a greater risk for falls. Using a walker helped, but not always. Sometimes she’d forget the walker in another room. Other times, she’d drag it behind her. On a few occasions, she couldn’t figure out what it was, so stuck it outside of her room so it wouldn’t be in the way. My house wasn’t designed for using a walker or a wheelchair. All of the bedrooms and full bathrooms were inaccessible to mom since they were located on the second floor.
We made the best possible use of this half-bath space to accommodate mom’s growing needs, including taking the door off the hinges so we could have more room to maneuver and help her.
The more of a problem “Reason #2” became for us, the more I knew she needed a safer place to live.
I applaud and encourage the many who have made “at home until the end” work. You are amazing caregivers! Please understand, however, that you will still be an amazing caregiver if you make the hard choice to reach out for help in caring for your loved one. You do not cease to be a caregiver by changing the location of where that care is given or who helps you provide that care.
I’d like to leave you with a little slideshow with just a few photos depicting how happy and content my mom was in this abode where opportunities were many, friendships were sweet, and help was always on hand.
2 thoughts on “My Top 3 Reasons for Choosing Assisted Living Memory Care”
My sister lived in Arizona, and I lived in Michigan, when my mother died and my father was declining mentally. He didn’t want to leave St. Louis, where he had lived all his life and where his friends were. Dad was a very social person, and when he was moved to an assisted living facility, he was the life of the party. He wore a suit and tie every day, and the women, who outnumbered the men about 8-1, adored him. The staff was friendly, kind, and positive. They laughed at his jokes, no matter how many times they had heard them, and never seemed burdened by their jobs. These were people who had found their calling, and they lived it out beautifully.
My sister and I were allowed to stay in Dad’s room the last couple of nights before he died. We slept in recliners, while a nurse stayed by his bedside. The last morning, I noticed a book on the table that the nurse had been unable to read, because we were there and the lights had been turned off. I apologized to her for keeping her from her reading. Smiling, she replied, “Oh that’s alright. I just prayed instead.” Those women are angels.
I pray that anyone needing help with their parents can find a place as wonderful as Dad’s last residence.
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Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your assisted living story. I’m so glad you found a wonderful place for him. I agree with you in prayer for those who may be needing help with their parents too. ~ Cindie
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