Posted on Mar 2, 2020 in Assisted Living
This story isn’t intended to make you sad, but it’s vital you learn what could happen if you delay making a move into assisted living.
75-year-old David died in his squalid apartment with no one beside him. He had no children but he did have a friend who would visit weekly and bring food and drinks which he would pay for by check.
David had the classic signs of dementia. You couldn’t move through his apartment due to the rubbish that had accumulated. The stench was appalling. He never washed or bathed for weeks apart from when his niece would drive across the state every couple of weeks. Even this became dangerous as he was unable to get out of the bath himself and the emergency services were called.
His mobility was poor as he was unsteady on his feet and he couldn’t move very quickly. As he lived at the top of eight flights of stairs, getting out became too dangerous and he became a prisoner in his own home.
He seemed relatively fine when you spoke with him although he had short-term memory loss and he would spew out the same stories tirelessly. When David was well, he was a bright and jovial character who loved crosswords and Chinese cookery.
David had no children, he was the eternal bachelor. After many years of being retired, sitting at home alone watching television, his mental health started gradually to decline. When his niece visited him, he would complain of being incredibly lonely. But, if anyone suggested that he considered moving to assisted living to be with others, he became angry and suspicious. Sadly, his dementia had progressed so far that it was impossible to reason with him.
It was an unworkable situation. David’s condition wasn’t bad enough for the authorities to intervene and move him to assisted living. He exercised his right to stay in his home even if it meant he was at heightened risk of falls and illness. David insisted he was happy where he was.
As David lived many miles from any family members, it fell on his niece to drive across state to check on him, clean him up and attempt to spruce up his home.
It’s saddest for the family members who witness their loved one die a lonely death simply because they had failed to take steps to ensure they were adequately supported in old age.
Moving you or your elderly loved one into assisted living doesn’t need to be a negative experience. Indeed, once settled in, people in assisted living find often that it’s the best move they ever made.
Research shows that loneliness is fatal for old people as it creates inflammation in the body which causes disease. Chronic loneliness is sadly very common in old people but when they move to assisted living they no longer need to suffer in isolation.
Daily informal contact with staff and other residents reduces isolation and improves well-being. The feeling of community has profound benefits on a resident’s state of mind. Assisted living programs encourage you to pursue hobbies such as gardening, dancing, music, crafts and to head on trips to shopping centers or the theater.
Many assisted living communities allow pets and your own furniture so you can create a home-from-home. “I’m OK” checks are made three times a day by staff, and you get assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, going to the bathroom and cleaning.
Assisted living centers are equipped with grab bars, wheelchair adapted bathrooms, alarm systems, and secure entryways. So, if your mobility is reduced, you have things to hold onto. If you fall, assistance is only a button-press away.
Most people with the early onset of dementia find that their symptoms improve, especially if the center has a memory care program. Daily contact with others and engaging social programs combine to deliver far-reaching benefits for overall well-being.
You’ll get three freshly prepared meals and be escorted to meals. Just think, there’s no need to worry about washing dishes either as it’s all taken care of.
Moving into assisted living before your conditions worsen means that you’ll experience a better quality of life and you’ll prevent the complications arising from falls or illness.
The longer you resist moving into assisted living, the higher the chance of being caught out without the necessary support and care.
David’s story is only too common. His dementia had progressed so much that his emotions prevented him from accepting that he had reached old age and needed help. If he had acted sooner, he might be alive and well today, still enjoying Chinese food and solving crossword puzzles.
The National Institute on Aging has some robust information on how to pay for assisted living costs.
If you have savings in place, you can pay out-of-pocket. Failing this, you could start a long-term health insurance policy. To get an insurance policy to pay out, you’ll need a doctor’s note to prove that you need it.
If you own your home, you could consider a reverse mortgage where you sell your house to a mortgage lender to pay for your assisted living costs.
The National Council on Aging has a wealth of information on any benefits you might be eligible for. Click here to perform a benefits check-up.
If you’re still unsure about moving to assisted living, remember that the longer you leave it, the higher the chance you could end up like David.
All the worry and stress of keeping your home clean and tidy is taken care of. If you like your own company, you’re free to spend time alone, but there will always be opportunities to socialize if you feel like it.
Another thing to remember is the impact this will have on your family and loved ones. Your relationship will improve because the stress of making sure that you are safe, happy and well is taken away. You are then free to enjoy your daily life and push into your golden years with purpose rather than trepidation.
The best way to determine how you’d feel about assisted living is to tour a facility. Get in touch with our friendly team here at Landmark Senior Living and we’ll be delighted to show you around one of our five assisted living communities. Come and see for yourself what moving to a vibrant community with all the support you need in place would be like. Call us today and don’t put off that move to assisted living.