I think I just lost what I was about to post. Forgive any duplication.
Just over two years ago, when my mother was 91, she lived at home with a part-time helper. She was in terrible condition: losing weight, neglecting to eat, sleeping most of the time, falling repeatedly, terribly depressed, terribly anxious and fearful about her health, mentally confused to the point of occasional delusions, terrible memory. She often had trouble speaking. We truly thought she was dying. Thanks to a fall and a couple of cracked bones, her doctor, my brother and I convinced her to move into assisted living. Since then, as my brother says, "She re-wound her clock." She has gained 13 pounds, her speech is clear, her mind is sharp, her short-term memory has improved. No signs of anxiety, which was quite debilitating before; no signs of depression. She seems to have lost 10 or more years of age. We attribute it to feeling safe, getting regular meals, having her medications managed carefully, and the companionship of the caregivers at the facility. She loves having young people around. Mind you, this isn't a fancy or luxurious place. It's a shabby old non-profit that operates on a shoestring---the least expensive place in the area. It's true that she has important private-pay extras: a private room, her own phone, newspaper and cable, and an on-call helper to drive her to appointments and on outings a few hours each week. I know these extras make a difference, too. But I still attribute most of her recovery to her sense of security, meals and the sense that life is going on around her. She was slow to make friends among the residents, most of whom are pretty low functioning, but now has found one other lady to talk to. So if you're feeling guilty or apprehensive about putting your parent in assisted living, it may help to know that sometimes it's the best place your parent can be.