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So I've come a long way since last I posted: 1) hired an elder law attorney to handle dad's finances and options for moving out of his apartment to AL, and 2) started the process of looking at Assisted Living Facilities. The law firm recommended 3 that would be in line with dad's finances of SSA/VA benefits. The problem is I've visited 2 of them and find them so darn depressing that I cannot even picture my father living there. They were both clean but both reminded me of an institution. The second one I visitied I noticed all the residents seemed "out of it" or grumpy. I have one more to go but I am already disheartened that my dad will absolutely hate being in one of these places.


And what is with the infantilizing residents with all the childish games/activities? My dad is a total introvert so forget about engaging in any of that stuff - but can't say I would blame him. Also, he is of completely sound mind which really makes me wonder how he would do in an ALF.


Just venting and wondering if anybody thought the same about these places? It just seems to me that these places are god's (or whatever) waiting room. Thanks for the mini-rant.

My mother lives in an ALF which is beautiful and not depressing at all. The games and crafts are not designed to be intellectual, for obvious reasons, but to be doable by elders who have lost some cognizance. Mom's ALF has lots of parties and entertainment and a very large garden for strolling. She's in the Memory Care annex now, but it's still nice and not depressing, but many residents are pretty far down the dementia road.
Keep looking until you find a NICE community for your dad. They DO exist
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Reply to lealonnie1
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There are so many stories of the elderly who live at home in detoriating conditions. The elderly are just that. Al facilities meet many needs. They are provided with regular meals and generally there is thought to those meals. Mealtime also provides an outlet for socialization as many residents eat at the same table. More so than not a sense of concern develops amongst these residents for each other. My mother has outlived all her friends. Residents at her AL have become her friends. You choose the words "Gods waiting room". They are elderly and closer to the end of life. No they don't reside there and find a fountain of youth. If they participate in games you find purposeless you are seeing it from the perspective of your age. There is a structure to these activities. I have been told by the resident director of the facility where my mother is that mostly that is what the elderly need meaning a structure to the days. If she has an ailment it is addressed quickly and I am given a report regarding that. It gives their life a sense of purpose. Obviously there can be a difference amongst facilities but for the most part they work for the common good. Prior to entering one my mother could not regulate her medications. She could not bathe well or really do her laundry. She ate poorly. I think you should try to understand what these facilities provide for the elderly with diminishing capabilities. Visiting them should not mean your perception of yourself in that environment. You are younger and don't likely have the needs provided there. It might help your outlook if you would change your perspective and understand that many who reside there have needs met that very likely would not happen if they resided at home. If certain individuals can remain home and continue to live there positively than all power to them but that is frequently not the reality. I may seem blunt but i found your post lacking of truly understanding the aging process. I have admiration for those who can remain at home and not detoriate but that frequently is not the reality of many situations. I hope you might find aspects in visiting AL facilities that show positive factors. It would truly be in the best interests for you and for who you might have to place.
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MaryKathleen Sep 12, 2019
You said it correctly. 🙂
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I think it’s your attitude to put it bluntly., which may very well have an effect on how well your father does . It’s not “infantilizing “, studies have PROVEN the elderly, especially those with dementia, do better and stay healthy longer when they are involved in activities that keep their minds active and they have socialization.
Check for a place that has independent and assisted living, ideally that can transition into a (separate but located in the same complex ) memory care . Their residents will probably be more independent. And he won’t have to move when his condition worsens ( our newbie mistake was the first was strictly independent living) Talk to the staff and see what their philosophy is. Who comes first the resident or the staff? I don’t know where you live but we managed to find two very nice places for my mother. We visited every single one in the area so you need to do your homework. We chose the places with the most homelike atmosphere and the most caring staff. Check resident to staff ratio. It should be much higher than legal requirements. Some areas grade facilities or have online reviews although one I noticed had 90% of reviews by staff so check for actual family and resident reviews. It was recommended by the hospital for rehab and was one of the worst imo, very poor communication with family even though it was obvious my mother was hallucinating and out of it. Most newer facilities in my area are set up as apartments with your own furniture so you have a lot of say on how pleasant it is.
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SZHNJ1023 Sep 14, 2019
Good advice, thanks!
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It's easy to think of AL/NHs as a waiting room people live in to die. Because, honestly, is that what they are? That doesn't make AL or nursing homes bad. I'm grateful that elders have a place that (hopefully) takes good care of them in their final years/months. (I know, there are horrible ones, which are an abomination to the human race.)

I had a dear family friend, the sweetest woman. When she was quite elderly, she lived alone in a tiny, barely heated old house. She only had one friend, my mom. She had severe scoliosis and could barely walk. There's no telling how or what she got to eat. It was heartbreaking to see her live that way. Finally, her daughter moved her to a nursing home.

My sister and I went to visit her, with my sister barely managing to hold herself together to see our friend in a nursing home. I admit I hated to see her in the *cue spooky music* nursing home. But then I noticed she'd gained weight, had good color in her face, had good food to eat, had a warm room and a comfortable bed, and people around to support this bright, sweet woman. She's gone now, but at least in the end she didn't die alone.

Yeah, not all AL/nursing homes are quality, but sometimes being in a facility is so much better than the alternative.
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Isthisrealyreal Sep 8, 2019
That is nothing but the truth mountainmoose.
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WHEN MY SON WAS 47 HE DEVELOPED END-STAGE RENAL FAILURE. THE FIRST CARE FACILITY HE WAS ADMITTED TO WAS DREARY AND IN NEED OF SPRUCING UP. THE CARE WAS EXCEPTIONAL. HE HAD WOUNDS ON HIS LEGS THAT WERE HEALED BY THE AMAZING WOUND CARE NURSES. PREVIOUS TREATMENTS IN A HOSPITAL HAD ONLY AGGRAVATED THEM. THE LATE NIGHT HE WAS ADMITTED A NURSE HAD SAVED US SOME SANDWICHES IN CASE WE HAD NOT HAD DINNER. NO ONE MINDED THAT I DECORATED HIS ROOM WITH PICTURES, A SMALL FRIDGE AND TV. IT BECAME VERY HOME-LIKE.
SEVERAL HOSPITAL VISITS LATER HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE "BEST" REHAB IN TOWN.FAIRLY NEW BUILDING, NICE FURNITURE IN THE LOBBY, ART ON THE WALLS.
HE HAD TO BE TRANSPORTED TO THE LOCAL DIALYSIS CLINIC. ONE NIGHT THE TRANSPORTATION WAS DELAYED. BY THE TIME HE CAME BACK TO RE-HAB HE WAS EXHAUSTED AND HAD A SEIZURE. THE NURSE ON DUTY DID
NOT KNOW WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HIM.
CRYSTAL CHANDELIERS AND BEAUTIFUL SOFAS DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING. STAFF IS THE KEY. THEY WORK VERY HARD WITH LITTLE PRAISE.
IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO HAS A FAMILY MEMBER IN ANY FACILITY CONVENIENT TO YOU ASK TO VISIT. STICK AROUND, OBSERVE AND WHEN POSSIBLE HAVE A SHORT CHAT. MEET WITH MANAGEMENT. DO THEY LIKE WHAT THEY ARE DOING OR IS IT "JUST A JOB".
THINGS I WOULD LOOK FOR ARE AN OUT DOOR PATIO WITH SOME SMALL GARDEN FLOWERS, A GAME ROOM WITH PUZZLES AND A LIVING ROOM AREA WITH A SMALL PHONEY FIRE IN A FIREPLACE.
THERE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE RESIDENTS DOZING IN WHEEL CHAIRS IN THE HALL WAYS AND A PATIENT CRYING FOR HELP. IT IS IMPERATIVE TO MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY MOVE IN TO THIS WORLD. IT TAKES COURAGE AND UNDERSTANDING.
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Harpcat Sep 5, 2019
Please don’t type in all caps..it’s akin to yelling. And difficult to read. Thank you.
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Keep looking. My Mom was in a NH so she was down the path a little farther than your dad, but her care was exceptional. And she was on Medicaid. No smells, nobody sitting around the halls, residents living up to their potential, cheerful aids and nurses that cared. After my Mom passed in April I still go back every couple of weeks to visit her roommate. I was explaining to someone today how I can go back there and not feel bad or sad, and it really doesn’t bother me, and it’s because it was/is a happy place. Hard to describe. Anyway they are out there.
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I have noticed that the “personality” of my mom’s Assisted Living shifts every once in awhile depending on the current residents. There have been times it’s lively with loud raucous laughter. There have been times it’s depressing and somber. As far as activities, your dad doesn’t have to attend. He will have a choice.
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I agree. They’re all depressing as hell. My mom was still a little “With It” when she went into assisted living. She was appalled at first but the staff did a good job of placing some ladies at her dinner table that were similar in abilities to mom. Mom was kinda the queen bee. She still hated it but it was the first time she had socialised regularly with people other than my dad, with dementia, in years.

In eldercare there’s not much good stuff happening any longer. The menu we have to chose from runs from Not very good, to really awful. I had to do lots of not very good stuff for my folks.
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Reply to Windyridge
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SZHNJ, in my area there is a large difference between Assisted Living, and that of a Nursing Home.

My Dad was in Assisted Living and it resembled more of being a hotel with a beautiful lobby, and the dining area was more like a restaurant with a menu and white table cloths. Same when Dad moved over to the Memory Care section of the same complex.

Now, my Mom was in a Nursing Home, and even though the building was brand new, it was depressing. A whole different concept. But then again, my Mom needed more physical care then my Dad.
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Reply to freqflyer
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Oh boy. I understand completely. My dad worked for the Chrysler Missile division of NASA. He had grown weak because of COPD. He needed help with meals and in the shower. I'm his daughter and he refused to let me help. I understand. I would feel terribly embarrassed if my son had to help. But to answer your question, yes. I hated him being there. He had no deminta. He read the paper every day. He knew every person in the presidential cabinet. He had no one to talk to till I got there. My dad was a WWII vet. This is best they have to offer those of the greatest generation. I wish I had an answer. We need to do better.
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