Nursing Home/Long Term Care/Home Care/Retirment home for 94 year old
Hello Ginelle, thank you for your time and expertise!
I have a 94 year mother in good health for her age. She lives independently in an apartment. But I see that her mobility is decreasing and that she will eventually need help in day to day living maybe in a year or less.
She has no money other than social security, and small CD, and a few hundred a month from me. I live about a mile away and I am the only family member.
She is kind of a loner type, and I can't envision her living in a retirement home.
I have done some research and she can qualify for supportive living and there are some to choose from in my Chicago area. But she would have to downsize furniture, etc., and expectations to live there.
And I worry constantly about her, and as she lives alone, if something happens at night she might be in trouble with no help available, unless she can call 911.
Are there any alternatives? Or is a retirement home the logical choice.
My fear is that she won't like living in a retirement home. And that might harm her emotionally. She suffers from anxiety and depression and is on meds for those things. She still has her smarts, but I can see that dementia is very very slowly creeping in at times.
I am at a loss what to do, and any advice would be welcome.
Fortunately, for your Mom there are many more choices about where seniors can live verses the previous generations of seniors. In the past, many seniors either lived at home or in a nursing home. Now seniors many more options that include everything from mini-pod homes in a family members backyard to independant living apartments with supportive services to nursing homes.
You may want to discuss with your Mom some of these options.
Independent Living Apartment with supportive services - These are apartments that are licensed by the state as apartments for seniors. The people there have to have a health status very much like your Mom's. They must be able to do and remember to do daily living tasks on their own. Many of these types of apartments are designated by HUD (the Federal Housing and Urban Development) Agency and resident's pay rent based on a sliding income scale. Also many of these apartments have a staff that keeps an eye on the residents and helps to contact family or loved ones when there are things of concern. However, it is not an assisted living community where there are paraprofessionals (like caregivers, or CNAs, or PCAs) that check in on the resdents every two hours and a resident can pull a cord and staff arrives. Independent living apartments for seniors are usually more affordable and there are services there customized to seniors. This provides independence. Sometimes, these types of apartments are run by a church or non-profit. Sometimes they have a waiting list. However, two notes here. Many times at some point the senior will need to move again from this type of apartment due to mental or physical decline. Secondly, when the senior needs additional help, a caregiver agency could provide all the help needed. This of course adds to the cost and must be factored into the total budget in the long run.
Additionally, with so many advances in technology, your Mom can remain in her current apartment and have safety devices that are much more affordable that having paid caregiver help that checks in on her. She could use a emergency call button that she can wear on her wrist or around her neck in case she falls. Additionally call boxes can be put in her apartment so that if she falls, when she pushs the button for help, the operator can speak to her over the speaker on the box (she will not need the phone in hand). There are also motion detectors now that help to determine if a senior has not moved around in their apartment for some time and a call can be made to make sure they are well. There is even technology that monitors if the senior has not opened the refrigerator. In this way, you can tell if they are not eating. Amazing, isn't it? There are also many advances with safety and monitoring devices that maintain a seniors privacy but still detect if there are things of concern. Many devices that help with remote caregiving, the cost of caregiving and hedge up safety for seniors.
Also, your Mom could have a daily or every other day caregiver service that comes in for a short visit to help. This ensures that a person is seeing her every day or every other day and can call you if there are any concerns.
There are also other options including: 1.) a Pod-home (mini-stand alone home) that could be put in a family member's back yard; 2.) group homes that have 5 to 8 seniors that live together with one or two caregivers that come in to help with laundry, cooking meals and any caregiver needs; and 3.) staying in her apartment where she is with supplemental caregiver help when and as needed. These are just a few other options that are more affordable.
As far as your Mom buying into downsizing and adjusting her standard of living from a larger apartment to a more affordable and manageable senior sized home, your Mom will definately not be alone in coming to terms with this. You may have to present the senior apartment idea as a way for her to maintain her independence for many more years. Also, you may have to present what other options are out there for her to see that down-sizing may be the most desirable choice! For example, if you say "Mom is it downsizsing and moving to supportive living apartments, or going to a retirement home", I am sure she will chose the former.
If you know your Mom values Independence, I would suggest you investigate what will give her the greatest independence while giving her the safest environmental options. She is blessed to be 94 with such good health. Maybe looking at this in stages (using technology, then a caregiver service dropping in on her daily or every other day, then supportive living when needed, etc.) while planning for the future would be helpful.
I hope that this has helped you in some way. I am sure you and your Mom will come to a good decision for her that will elivate your worry about her safety and well-being.
Please do not hesitate to contact me back if I may be of further assistance.