Guest post by a reader, Sherri Cash who wanted to share HER story about searching for a community for her parents. Thank you so much Sherri for telling us your story!
I had been listening to the concerns voiced by my parents for a few weeks before we engaged in a conversation to make a move into an assisted living community. My father is diabetic, and on a sliding scale medication which we all have difficulty keeping track of; at first we entertained the idea of brings in a nurse to monitor his dosage. My mother’s mobility has decreased as of late, and the expansive distances she traveled to get to social events and appointments was starting to wear on her.
However, our final decision coupled with a dissatisfaction my parents had with their changing East Boston neighborhood (streets bad to drive on, friends moving and neighbors they could not relate to.) Rent was ever increasing, traffic was getting worse, and my parents were just ready to be in a community environment that would soften the stress that their life had been sustaining.
My parents are quite independent and refused to budge on many issues. One of the biggest ones was deciding what to do with their automobile situation. My father, who refuses to budge on giving up the Cadillac he inherited from his father, did not think we could find a community that would allow him to bring his car. Luckily, with proper research, I was able to prove that his personal stigma of assisted living was not up-to-date with the wonderful facilities available now.
The list of stipulations given to me by my family was surprisingly easy to deal with- a kitchenette (my father cannot live without some recipes my mother has to perfection,) four private walls, and obviously car-friendly.
My mother was ecstatic to get rid of her automobile in preparation for paring down to Pop’s Caddy, the cost of maintenance, gas, and insurance on the vehicle she was no longer comfortable driving. We invested in an electric wheelchair for her to get around outside easily (visit her neighbors, get to the community center, etc,) which when combined with savings on such things as in-home nurses, former car costs, and bills made their move much more cost efficient than living on their own.
We located and moved my Mom and Dad into a wonderful assisted living facility in New England, which houses free-standing townhomes for their resident’s comfort (quaint kitchen provided coupled with meals in the community.) It is a joy to see the dignity my parents maintain in holding on to their independence, while being in a fulfilling community of their peers and have professionals nearby for specialized healthcare.
I write this to emphasize the importance of listening and working with the elder members of your family when you consider assisted living.
My parents are proud of their independence, and broaching a subject like this made me feel like I was disrespectful of their freedom. Luckily, with an active ear and commitment to researching all possibilities and with the amazing amenities offered in modern assisted communities, we were able to fine tune and happily move somewhere where my folks are happy and I feel safe with them being there.