Sunday, July 15, 2012

Assisted Living Makeover

We finally made the decision to move my father into an assisted living facility. I am not sure how it is going; for his first health emergency he dialed me (one town away) on his cell phone instead of pressing the "on-call" button for the nurse down the hall. After a few days in the hospital, we reviewed the button and the nurse idea and will just have to see how the next episode plays out.
Meanwhile - the room contains a bed, dresser, desk, nightstand and coat rack which cannot leave the room. You can "cram" whatever else you want into the room as long as you stay at least 18" from the ceiling due to fire regulations. He shares an adjoining bath with another gentleman, but each has their own sink in their room. I made a second visit before moving in, measuring like mad.  I did forget to take a "before" photo - so this is the room next door, a mirror image. If I knew how to flip the picture, you all would have never known.

I was lucky to have an extreme makeover squad accompany us to check in. My husband, two of my sons, one daughter and my brother came along to move and carry furniture and get the room in order in less than three hours while my father was being processed. After he initially suggested and supported the idea, he was having second thoughts and we felt that having the room done as soon as possible would make the transition easier for him.
We started with the bedding from Kmart. We are lucky that all the items needed for a small room makeover are the same items everyone is purchasing for new dorm rooms. I keep telling him I feel like I am sending him back to college in a dorm room!
I had over-purchased on matching wall shelving which my "carpenters" began hanging over the desk. As soon as I took these photographs, the second set next to the bed came down. I was trying to hook up his c-pap machine for sleeping and bashed my head into the unit; results not pretty. Fortunately my help still had their battery powered screw drivers in hand to remove them! We also hung a variety of family and business photographs to make the space more familiar.
I couldn't believe that the armoire which held his TV in his living room actually fit in the dorm room and when we explored the inside - it had brackets to turn it into a clothes rod with the simple addition of a dowel rod.
The facility provides free cable to rooms and he was able to bring his new flat screen he purchased last year for his kitchen. We are paying an additional fee for wireless Internet in the room (from the cable company). We also found a great dorm sized refrigerator with a large freezer compartment with it's own door to hold at least two boxes of his favorite sugar free fruit bars. The residents are not allowed to have any heating devices in their rooms, but each hall has a large lounge with a flat screen TV, recliners, tables, chairs, and a kitchenette with a microwave, sink, coffee pots, and a huge community refrigerator with an ice maker. 

I had purchased two of the white plastic coated metal shelves for the bathroom for towels, but realized that in order to use them, they would have to be hung at head bashing level, too. Luckily one fit right in his small closet above the hanging rod, making a spot to keep his hats.
 
I purchased an over the door rack for jackets and robe. A few years ago I talked my middle son into accompanying me to a farm auction on a very bitter cold fall day. I was able to win my bid for $25 for the almost maroon recliner which is an electric remote lift chair. His former girl friend had shoved it into a corner downstairs at his condo. It did not take long for him to remember how much more fun it was to operate a recliner by the push of a button!

The facility is just wonderful. Meals are served "restaurant style" all day long. Residents (and guests with a purchased meal ticket) can visit anytime from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. and order from the board of specials or the regular menu. Meals are served by the most personable waiters and waitresses and it also encourages interaction with the residents. There are plenty of day rooms and lounges, as well as outdoor areas with raised gardens and basketball hoops for taller folks or those in wheelchairs. There is even a small miniature golf course.

The resident's council and social director choose trips for each month and we have finally convinced my father to sign up for a behind the scenes tour of a professional baseball field and later this month, a trip to a nearby island for the day. There are plenty of other outings planned from dinner out to bingo's to small local music concerts.

Unfortunately, my father is having a hard time adjusting. I am not sure if he is depressed or if his illnesses are progressing farther and faster than we had thought. There is an adjoining nursing home that he can move into at some point. I am hoping that the situation improves and perhaps I can spend more time at home, or maybe go back to work, or at least find time to take down my Easter decorations.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, Merry - you are such a blessing to your father. It's so difficult watching our parents age and become dependent on us and others to help them make it through each day. I'm cautiously approaching the time when my own parents will be ready for an assisted living facility - and I know my dad especially will be digging in his heels on going. I'll be praying for an easy transition for every one in your family. :)

    xoxo laurie

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  2. I love reading through a post that will make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

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  3. Miss Merry Such a great and informative blog post, you share on web. I was looking for Assisted Living in Denver CO metro area, found your post and found it very informative. Keep it up.

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Thank you so much for stopping by to visit! I love your comments and suggestions and read them all.

Miss Merry