lthough our father battled Parkinson’s for well over a decade, we didn’t think we’d need to look for living assistance for him until sometime down the road. But then he suffered a fall. It was at this time we learned that his spouse was beginning to suffer from dementia, we quickly realized this would prevent her from being able to help him as their diseases progressed. To complicate matters further, the nearest family member lived nearly 1000 miles away from them.
When Dad did suffer a fall, we found out just how unprepared we were for this journey. As he recovered and grew stronger, we were given 72 hours notice of his release from the rehabilitation hospital, and simultaneously learned of his inability to return home. That gave us roughly 3 days to learn the dizzying reality of healthcare placement for ourselves…
We saw firsthand the difference in services offered at the various levels of licensed care, which care communities accept couples with significantly different needs, what financial benefits are available for veterans/non-veterans, and whether these facilities met our approval and had availability. Most importantly: with his late-stage Parkinson’s, Dad would eventually suffer from dementia and develop a necessity for a secure facility to avoid the need to move again.
Eighteen months later we found ourselves involved in placement again for family members, and with our previous experience we were much better prepared. We understood what needed to be asked and what options were available. We were able to physically visit several communities to choose the care that best fit the needs, wants, and desires of the family, and we realized how much we would have appreciated that knowledge our first time through this process.
Many agencies won’t even meet with prospective clients
Throughout our experiences, we discovered how many agencies exist that won’t even meet with a prospective resident in order to assess their medical, social, spiritual and economic needs. There are too many disappointing stories of internet companies that simply “spray-and-pray” contact information to dozens of facilities, without ever inspecting them or meeting their care teams. Then they just sit back and “pray” that the facility might work out.
We think it’s critical to research the facilities, and ensure for ourselves that they provide the best level of security and care. We can only imagine how devastating it would be to move a loved one twice, and even more so because the right questions weren’t asked and certain issues hadn’t been taken into consideration. Transitions for Senior Living was founded to help other St. Louis families going through these same challenges.