Hi all—I posted awhile back about my mom transitioning home from a nursing home. She is 69 years old and had a year of bad falls and hospitalizations which led her to spend a lot of time in a SNF.

She's doing a lot better and can walk around her apartment on her own with a walker. She has aides at her house 8 hours a day which has proven to be enough (though the 1-1 attention is driving her insane). The biggest issues are socializing—I live across the country so I'm only there every few weeks. She can't easily get out without transportation (her front door is very far from the parking lot so she cant walk there safely in the winter). We found an ALF that takes Medicaid and has a very large studio available for move in in 2 weeks.

She is willing to go, but I am scared about whether she will find it more depressing to be there than at home? She doesn't have dementia as of now. She lives with her mentally handicapped brother in law who will be moving to a group home down the street if she moved. He can visit as he wants.

Can a younger senior without dementia thrive in a ALF or should I be considering another living situation?

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Bear in mind that an AL is not for every younger elder--(in their 60s). Personally I would REALLY DISLIKE someone telling me when I have to arise for the day and when I have to go to bed for the night.
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She can be as happy and involved as she wants to be.
If she is the type to sit in her room and "Woe is me" attitude then she will not be happy. On the other hand if she gets out of her room goes on outings, joins in with groups that she has interest then she will have a good time.
She will meet people that have the same interest, she may find something new that she enjoys.
It almost sounds like you are projecting your fear or insecurity on her. Anything new is scary, first day at school, new job, first date.....but you get used to things and you find you actually have fun.
I am guessing they are not going to bar the windows, nail the door shut and toss away the key. If after a few months she finds she really does not fit in you and she can start looking for a new place. And yes it might take a while to find another place that will accept Medicaid but as long as you begin the process of looking that will make "sticking it out" a bit easier. But I doubt you will need to look.
I hope she has a great time, meets fun people and enjoys her time there.
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I am 64 and I have lived in a mixed independent/assisted living community for 5 1/2 years as the youngest resident. The average male is 91 and the average female is 85. Quite an age difference! It has not mattered. The acceptance and love that I have experienced is real. I have formed some wonderful friendships. I can honestly say that moving into this facility has been one of my best decisions.

 I have had a physical disability for 15 years, but I am mentally sound. I think that I am here to help others. I read to residents who need me to, anything from get well cards to insurance EOBs. I help search for jewelry, meds or other things that may have fallen to the floor. I have learned to play numerous board and card games to help others occupy their time I have been prayer and Bible study partner with quite a few people. Although sad, it has been an honor to help them along their journey. In the beginning I could push other residents in wheelchairs. I am no longer able to do this, but I can give compliments and big bear hugs.

I do not feel institutionalized or like a burden to my family. I feel wanted, needed, happy and safe. I wish more younger seniors would realize the value of these senior communities. There is an adjustment period or two or three. If you would like to hear my perspective, just let me know. I'm always willing to share. Good Luck to you and your dear mother.
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Wow....I am 62...and I cannot fathom living in such a facility right now....

Oh, how I wish we had "pushed" my parents a lot harder to move from their huge home to an AL. Caring for dad wore mom (and us!) out--then he passed and she immediately filled up her little apartment (in YB's home) to the gills.

A couple years ago she had a hip replacement done. Some of us tried very hard to get her to stay in the lovely ALF she was in--but to no avail.

So now she's housebound. IF brother feels like letting her "out" she gets to go to Bingo at the Sr Center and maybe out to lunch. She might get to go to grocery store too, if YB feels like taking her. She has no freedom and I know she is crazy bored a lot of the time. She's very social and should be in a place that caters to that---but the decision to move into one sailed a couple years ago amidst MUCH drama within the family and none of us wants to revisit that.

At 75, mother would have LOVED something like this. At 89, she is barely mobile, but still has her mental capacity, so she is aware she's kind of being held hostage. She begs me to move her in with me. She begs another brother too.

Sadly the decision she made at 68 set her on the path she's on. I KNOW she'd be much happier, overall in a ALF, but the timing for that move is critical. And yes, a younger senior (esp one who cannot/does not drive) could very possibly be VERY happy in a facility.
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magnolia1 Dec 2018
Your mother may qualify to attend a senior day-care facility. From place to place, the hours may vary, but they are something like 8 am to 4 pm. Your city may have a Council on Aging which could provide transportation. And your mother can have a legal medical form completed by her physician of 2+ years stating that she is competent to make her own medical decisions. Getting out may improve her mobility and give her needed socialization. YB won't have to be tied down to her. A win-win for everyone.
I just went through that with my mother this year. After another fall at her condo, she had rehab and needed more care. ( Hint- moving before a fall greatly extends loved one's options and what best fits their needs in assisted care places.)

There is everything out there from 'soup to nuts' - so call around, visit places, and know what the finances are before deciding.
Entry fees can range from $2,000 up to $15,000 ( with the later place needing proof of being able to pay full rent for three years before any kind of state aid was accepted... the huge fee being pooled for everyone in case of needing benevolence cost help.)
Waiting lists for openings are also charged - only refundable if you DON'T move there. ($200 to $2,000!)
We chose an all-inclusive (one rent - no care levels additional charges for more care required) newer resort like facility that was SO much better for mom than we could ever imagine. Only required a deposit of $2,000 and first month's rent. They do a month to month rent, with 30 day notice if needing to move. (No big contract, as needs can change over months.) They had a few apartments to choose from. No waiting list. Her 'studio' was a front living room, kitchenette, bathroom with shower, and a back bedroom. All meals are either at a gorgeous dining area, or sent to her room with no extra charge. Minimum age there is 60. Residents wear a pendant to call for assistance, and staff are frequently checking in with loved one... inviting to an activity or outing that may sound of interest... or just to see how their day is going.
Everything is included, except for hair salon services. Choice of doctors come to her (including lab work) and other services (podiatry, dental, eyes, hearing) come as well and are covered by Medicare insurance just like going out to them would be, coverage depending on what loved one has, of course.) Just sign up. So simple. No more w/c transport to doctors offices!

Mom didn't want to leave her condo (age 91)... and looking back, she should have moved MUCH sooner - and would have been delighted. Financially things would have been better, too... as she could have sold her condo and used that towards her rent. Now a family member is DPOA in charge ... and refuses to sell condo to help pay for mom's expenses. (Apparently one can keep some things and still qualify for a medicaid waiver... while strait up medicaid requires $2,000 or less in assets... yet medicaid can put a lien on the property to recover costs... kinda confusing.) Gotta love family dynamics... (dysfunctional and all...)

Some facilities take VA assistance - but not coupled along with a medicaid waiver. More of an either / or.
Some facilities accept the waiver (and loved one's social security minus $60 / month for own needs) - and it would be MUCH more helpful to start out at that place from the get-go... than to have to transfer and move loved one later on from a facility that does not accept any waiver aid.
Ask questions.
LOTS of places are popping up for this older age group... hopefully you have lots of options while it isn't a "gotta find a place within a week" kind of scenario.

Mom is now 92 and we just moved her yesterday to a "friendship suite" shared room (still is very nice and resort like) ... but looking back it would have been better for her to start there in that facility - than having her move again. It would've been less confusing for her and less stress on us. (She is needing beginning memory care, which the sister facility/ same organization did not offer at the facility that was assisted care ONLY where mom started out at.) Thankfully the move is only a few miles away. Thankfully we could stay within the facility "system" and not need to begin at square one all over again with minimum stay requirements.

Mom LOVES all of the care and attention that she receives and still having her own room/ place.
Most facilities are amazing. Wishing you the best for her (and you) to thrive.
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Yes, my SIL was 62 when she moved into her AL and loves it.
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You’ve already received some great insight and advice here that paints a very accurate picture.
In my experience with SNF’s and some AL’s your mom will be perfectly fine. Definitely ask who else is younger there currently and ask the staff to introduce them and encourage meal times together so she can make fast friends.
I have cared for many in there 40’s & 50’s and while the populations in these places does tend to be getting older and older I honestly wouldn’t consider your mom to be alarmingly young at all at 69. Sure she’s a bit younger than most there, but it’s not at all uncommon.
If she’s the social type and has a positive attitude about it then she should flourish in this environment. Now would be the time to do it too before her health necessitates a SNF level of care. She should transition much more easily than most and her younger age and being cognitively intact will help this process eminencly.
One thing to consider though would be to move her to an AL near to you instead of staying in her home state. Obviously I don’t know your situation and surely you’ve considered that possibility as well.
It’s great you’re considering all the possibilities though. But the younger patients that are cognitively intact and fun to be with tend to befriend the staff as well and quickly become an integral part of the facility pretty quickly.
It’s preferable that she make friends with other residents over the staff.
I wouldn’t let this opportunity to get her to the place you both chose pass you by. Especially since you live so far away from one another. If anything should happen such as a fracture or even a virus that really weakens her she would need immediate placement then you’d be scrambling for where and how to care for your mom. This way she’s already settling into a place you both chose and even getting her to look forward to.
Lucky you! I think it’s the best of scenarios for you both!! Just call her and her nurses often and take part in care conferences via the phone etc. all it takes is quick and frequent contact to keep your mom on the staffs radar to help speed the bonding process between her and the staff.
The more you can have them vested in your moms well-being the better. Telling a quick cute story or giving them insights to her likes and dislikes help too. Encourage your mom to do the same.
Best wishes to you both!
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What I experienced was that the staff tried to set my dad next to people of similar abilities at meal times. This gave him some social interaction and all the guys seemed to love telling each other tales.

I think if you have your own space that you can adjust to anything. She can make it her own and if she wants to crawl in and be left alone she has that option.

From your previous posts, I would get her and uncle moved. You will sleep better knowing she has 24/7 help a push button away.

There is always an adjustment period, so be prepared to hear how awful it, you and life are. Know that 99.9% of that is manipulation trying to cause you grief because she's not happy and when mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy. She will adjust and she will be just as happy there as any other place her body lives.

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It's unlikely the ALF will be worse than home and she can always move back to an independent apartment if it doesn't work out. It's worth a try, especially since she's willing. She'll have the necessary attitude to make new friends and seek out other residents who aren't 'on their last legs' and are still cognitively intact. The staff should help her.

The one-on-one care would drive anyone nuts. There are ways in which it's more isolating than being alone.
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Did the ALF appear depressing when you visited? The ones we toured were very engaging, happy, no smells and lots of activities. My local ones didn’t accept wheelchairs so Mom never made it due to that but she would have loved it. Your Mom can socialize and get out much more than she’s doing now with her BIL. And she may find some happiness even helping with activities and getting to know a few residents with her same interest and abilities, or some that may be starting to decline she could take under her wing. If you can make her room pleasant with things she treasures from her current home, it can be a happy place for her. And she’s willing!! That’s awesome. Try to be positive and not to give her any vibes. Remember it’s not jail...if eventually she finds it’s not a good fit, you can help her find another after a good trial of a few months or so.
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It sounds as though you might be transferring your own fears onto your mom in your own mind. There are many types of facilities out there. It’s best to check them out and see. It’s a bit like having your own apartment or being in a dorm because it is community living. If you can find a place that also has an independent living area associated with it, she will have increased options to interact and meet people as well as activities. If she truly needs assistance then better to do it early than later. She will have an extra set of eyes on her as well as transportation.
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My mom went into AL and took part in everything they had going on. She even got the aids to take her to another building to get her hair cut. Went on the grocery shopping trips, to all the parties, did her own laundry and did a WHOLE LOT of talking to other residents. If your mom is willing (and it sounds like it) to take part in what they offer she should be fine. My mom even had me come and do a concert on my dulcimer and on the 4th of July to make balloon animals for everyone. So get involved too as you are able.
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AshleyNicole, the Assisted Living facility where my Dad had lived had younger people who looked like they were in their 40's and 50's..... who were there because they were wheelchair bound and needed the extra help. For them it probably was more budget-worthy being in Assisted Living than having the much higher expense of having 3 full-time caregivers each day at home.

And I noticed that those younger people were happy helping the much older individuals guiding them to where ever they needed to be :)
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ALs have dementia residents but not all residents do.
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Does she like the ideas of regular meals with others? Do you think she might benefit from activities within the facility as well as traveling to ones the facility plans? Given what you have stated I think she might benefit from an AL but a certain amount depends on her desire for independence. There are other factors of course but as these have so much to do with daily life I think these should be considered first. The facility administers her medication. That should be explained to her. It certainly helps as one ages making certain that it is not forgotten. If she needs help with bathing or dressing they also provide that but that is not mandatory. There could be added monthly costs for these services. I think the factor that her brother is near is very positive. I wish you the best moving forward.
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Since your Mum does not have dementia, she has a choice to thrive or not in a new living situation. If she is missing socializing, she will have many more people to interact with on a daily basis.

A dear, but older friend of the family has just moved into a facility, her husband could not look after her needs any longer. Mentally she is sharp, but a stroke 40 years ago has taken its toll on her.

Many of the residents have dementia, but she has decided to make the most of the situation. She is getting the physical care she needs, yes she misses her husband, but he visits often. There are daily activities that she can choose to participate in or not. She can have her door open to encourage visiting or close it when she has had enough.
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I used to joke that I would be ready to move into one right now! Seriously, it depends on the facility and the needs of the person living there, if the other residents are mostly active and mentally "with it" and there are real opportunities for meaningful recreational activities then it will be better than living in isolation. Even if she chooses to remain mostly in her apartment the meals, housekeeping and opportunities for outings and ease of arranging transportation to appointments can't be overstated. I know of a younger senior who moved into one after his wife passed away from cancer (he was partially disabled from a stroke) who rode his scooter into town every day to shop, visit and eat out - it is what you make of it.
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