Enlivant Senior Living, an Assisted Living Retirement Community in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Ask the Expert – Julie Beery, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for the Southern IN/KY Region
Q: My mother is 93 years old, and still lives alone. The problem is that she is very forgetful, not bathing, or changing her clothes regularly, not eating right, or socializing. I am concerned and would like for her to move into an assisted living community, but she won’t hear of it. If I force her, I’m afraid she will never forgive me. Why is it so hard to make a decision about my mother’s care?
A: This is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. As with any difficult decision, there are always consequences – and some can be severe. However difficult, it is important that a decision is made. Putting off the inevitable also comes with its own set of consequences. Most adult children feel guilty when they start thinking about assisted living for their parents. “Mom took care of me for many years. I should be taking care of her now, but with my job and the demands of parenting, I just can’t see how I can do this, and give her the attention she needs.” You can probably remember when you didn’t want to go to school, but your parents’ tough love helped make decisions about what was best for you. Now the roles are reversed. When it is no longer safe for your mother to live alone, you need to apply the same tough love principle and make the right choice for her, especially when her memory/reasoning is impaired. There are many dimensions to well-being. She needs attentive, loving care from a compassionate team of resident care partners to help her thrive in body, mind, and spirit.
Q: How do I know whether to choose independent living, assisted living, or a nursing home for my aging parent? Dad always said “I will never go to a nursing home!”
A: No one ever wakes up one morning and says “Hurray! Today is the day I get to choose my nursing home!” No one wants to leave their home or their cherished memories behind. In fact, your Dad’s sentiments are typically what many aging person feel. The secret to changing his willingness to move away from home lies in educating him about what great strides have been made in caring for the elderly. During his life, when someone went to the “home” it meant it was the end of the line – but that is no longer the case With today’s many options and highly competitive markets, going to an Assisted Living Community is truly what its name implies – “assistance with living!” not “assistance with dying!” Attending an event at a beautiful community for “educational” purposes is often the beginning of a new outlook on long-term care. Before making a decision be sure that your loved one receives a thorough health and wellness assessment so that his needs and preferences may be matched with the specific care he needs to flourish. Also, ask yourself whether the community feels like a good fit for your loved one. Not all communities are for all people.
Q: With Winter approaching, my eighty-something parents are facing the potentially dangerous and even life-threatening possibilities of being snowed-in, with no access to medicines or groceries, and also the hazard of falling on the snow or ice. I do not live near them and would very much like to prevent this.
A: With your parents being in their eighties, you have every reason to be concerned. What many adult children like you have done is to assist their parents in finding a lovely “Winter Retreat” in a stimulating Assisted Living Community, where they will thrive in body, mind, and spirit, and be guaranteed all the comforts of home, without so many dangers. This typically includes three nutritious meals a day plus healthy snacks, a variety of activities, full time nursing care should the need arise, laundry service and housekeeping, as well as transportation so they do not become “shut-ins.” They even have an emergency call system in case a sudden need crops up, and medication management. Positioning the stay as a “retreat” instead of a permanent “move” makes the transition more appealing to them.
Q: My aunt can no longer take care of herself. She recently had a fall and ended up in the hospital and then in a rehab facility. Thankfully, Medicare paid for her stay but it will end soon. She has very limited funds. I don’t think she can afford Assisted Living. Are there any options to prevent her from going on Medicaid?
A: Some Assisted Living Communities offer “Companion Living.” This is a very affordable choice for those with limited or dwindling funds. “Companion Living” means that two compatible individuals share the common space in an apartment, but have their own sleeping quarters. The benefits of “Companion Living” are an increase in socialization, the ability to maintain a residential lifestyle rather than institutional, elimination of loneliness – thereby less chance of depression and fogginess, and affordability. The caring staff also works to help residents maintain their well-being, form meaningful connections, and engage with the things they care about.
Julie Beery is the Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for the Southern IN/KY Region for Enlivant Senior Living. Enlivant has over 200 communities in the US, with 27 in the state of Indiana. Julie has 33 years of Senior Living/Healthcare experience and is inspired by the Mission and Values found in Enlivant Communities: Compassion, Humility, Integrity, Excellence, and Fun!