Board and care or stay at home?

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Are you trying to make a decision about placement of your husband who has mobility problems? Please provide more details.
Yes, my 81 year old husband was in a SNF for 100 days, then discharged to a nearby board and care residential home for 6 patients. He needed 2 people to assist him standing to a walker and then to a wheelchair. He now can stand with little assisting, so I am considering the possibility of bringing him home and hiring part time help for his showering, toileting, etc.. He has no myopathy, but has probable neuropathy in his back, hips and maybe his legs. He has assorted other health problems like diabetes type 2 and atrial fibrillation, and a very mild cognitive decline that has been improving rapidly except for very short term memory loss, such as what he ate for breakfast.

I want him to come home ASAP, but realize he is safer right now with around the clock assistance. Does anyone have any experience with something like this situation? We live in a suburb, have access to good bus transportation for disabled, have good medical access, etc..
Top Answer
GG - could he stay in the board & care home for another couple of weeks? This would give him more time to get stronger and while he is there you can have the flexibility to get your house more user friendly for him - like look into having all your entry's changed to ramps with grab bars, getting a bathroom set up as his bathroom with grip bar toilet seat, shower chair.

I'm assuming that he will be needing some type of non electric walker - like a Hugo - so is the house set up that he can easily get about and through the rooms? Try going and doing at the house with the walker to see what needs to be moved or made wider. You may find that you need to get rid of or move some furniture. This will be easier to do before he comes home and it will probably be a relief for him to know that it's done.

If he fell, could you pick him up? If not, who would you call? This would be my biggest concern for you as you don't want to have a fall or break yourself. When my mom was still living at her home, she tore her rotor cuff and had surgery. She was late 80's then too. I stayed for a couple of weeks then had home health care come for several weeks to help out with bathing, shampoo's and cleaning and take her to MD & PT appointments. But there still was time when she would be on her own. The fire department in her city has a senior outreach program for non medical emergencies - so they came over to the house before I left to talk with her and let her know that if she fell or locked herself in or out of the house to call the nearby fire house and they had her name and address on their look-out list. (Her arm was super weak and she had big issues with using keys) The local Agency on Aging usually has all kinds of information on what is available in your city, that's how I found out about the fire department outreach. Some places also have the OASIS program which is good too for day time activities for seniors and everything at the OASIS where my mom lives is all built or retrofitted for handicapped. My mom already had in place Meals on Wheels which delivered to her a couple of times a week and they provided a styrofoam ice chest & freezer packs that she could put outside for those days she wasn't home to take delivery. It was like $ 3.00 a meal too - the meals just made things easier and you can always doctor-up the meal if it's too bland. All these organizations are your tax dollars at work, so use them.

Oh another thing, for my mom - who is petite - it was hard for her to sit at the dining table to eat after her surgery.The table surface was just too high until she built up the use of her arm. So I went and got a rectangular adjustable height table at Sam's and set it up on a lower height for her to use instead and put the old dining table in the garage. If your DH has to be seated a lot you might see if doing this could work. Good luck.
GG: Does he get rehab at the board and care or has his improvement just come over time? I would talk to the people at the board and care and tell them that are considering bringing your husband home. Ask if he can get additional rehabilitation to get him as strong as possible for the return home.

As Igloo said, call your local Area on Aging and set up an appointment to meet with the person who works with caregivers. They can put you in touch with a host of services. In addition, Home Health will come in when your husband comes home and they can help with modifications and suggestions to keep your husband as safe as possible in the home environment. They will usually make home visits during a 6 to 8 week period after your husbands return home. They will help with showers and rehab and a nurse will visit also. This is short term, but it gives you a chance to get things under control.

Do take into consideration your health, strength and be sure you know the amount and kind of assistance you can count on.

Sending you best wishes, Cattails.

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