Parental update – 041210

When we learned that Piedmont Place would be moving Mom & Pop from their present accommodations, Lisa was sad.  She felt that this was a step down for them.  I fought that assessment opting instead for a “silver lining” approach in which lemonade was made from lemons.

That strategy worked pretty well until I visited M&P today.  Mom announced to me that they didn’t want to move to the new room.  “Why?,” I asked.  “Because it doesn’t have a shower.”  True enough, the room we’re looking at doesn’t have a shower.  None of the Skilled Nursing Care rooms (which will soon become Assisted Living) have them.  I had missed this detail.

I went to the prospective room to confirm my fear.  Their new room does have a private bathroom with a sink and a toilet, but no shower.  I talked with the staff in that wing and found that the shower is located about fifty feet from their door; and that their new dining room is maybe one hundred and fifty feet away; a greater distance than at present by about a third.  These measurements are significant because of Pop’s intermittent challenges with walking.  The exercise will do him good, of course.  But meals can be brought to his room upon request or as a matter of necessity.

I walked into the Administrator’s office not knowing why.  She sympathetically confirmed what I already knew.  There was nothing new that she could offer to make things better than mentioned in my last post.  Without having to say so, she knew I was struggling to find the positives.

Then I went back to Mom & Pop and presented them with two possible scenarios.  The first has Pop staying in his current room (one bed only, but with a private bathroom with a shower).  Mom would move to the new AL wing with a new roommate in a semi-private situation, just as it is now.  She’d be sharing a bathroom (sink and toilet) with three other people as she is now.  And she could spend her days with Pop in his room, just as she is now.  The only difference is that she would now be free to use his bathroom with a special seat (provided by PP) for those times when Pop’s infections are most transmissible.

Mom’s interest in this scenario is in having access to a private bathroom with shower, and who can blame her…I would, too.  There is a cost, however.  To stay in his present room, we would jump from the current $134/day to about $194/day.  I told the folks that if this was their strongly desired solution, it is doable for about three years.

The second scenario has M&P moving into the new room with its limitation.  There would be no additional cost except for the walking distance to the dining room.  (Mom is already walking to her shower.)  The advantage to this move would be that M&P would be living together again with each other’s familiar peccadillo’s as opposed to those of potential roommates.

Mom quickly opted for moving, and she announced her decision to Pop.  Being the submissive guy that he is these days, he shrugged his assent.

There is one further negative other than that already presented: when either or both of them require Skilled Nursing Care, they will be moved yet again.  If Pop, for example, is moved to SNC first, Mom would be paired with another roommate again in a situation similar to the present until the time when she would need SNC.  This is made necessary by Mom’s status with Medicaid.  It is possible, of course, that neither Mom nor Pop will know or care about the next move.

I know someone here who is having the exact same issues with his parents as I am.  He’s dealing with a different set of challenges and with a higher economic strata than we are.  But the outcomes are the same: stress and eventual death for the aging; stress and, ultimately, sadness for the survivors.

Which brings me back to me.  I am sad.  Initially, I thought it was because I had come to agreement with Lisa about this being a step down.  Upon reflection, however, I think it’s more than that.  I’m sad because there’s only so much I can do to keep the folks’ quality of life at a high level.  But even if more money were available, I can do absolutely nothing to prevent their eventual deaths.


About FredMarx

Old enough to have wisdom; young enough to learn.
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3 Responses to Parental update – 041210

  1. Anne Stearns says:

    Thanks, Fred for your willingness to share. My parents are also in assisted living right now. We may have to up the care to memory care for my mom. The place they are in is great. They have all levels of care. I also thank God that my family pitches in.
    I miss you both very much.

  2. fredmarx52 says:

    Your insights are so meaningful, Yvonne, because you are living the same experience. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Yvonne says:

    I know how you feel Fred. This last week my Dad had some oral surgery done and the meds or something made him very confused and it was rather alarming. I am fully aware that my Dad is 87, that he is ill, and that he won’t be here always. I know my purpose each day is to have my Dad live each day that he has with as much joy and “main-streaming” as possible. I also know where we are headed and where this phase ends, but it is still sombering when you see little glimpses of the reality of the vulnerability of your DAD (and all humans), but magnified beause it is your DAD, the big tough guy. And to suddenly realize you are now “the big tough guy” (even harder to imagine as a girl) and you know full well that you are actually pretty ordinary and not very tough at all. Thanks so much for your eloquent updates. They are healing. God’s love and peace to you and Lisa.

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