What do you need?
While everyone’s situation is unique, there are some common threads we’ve observed. Here are a few general stories that might remind you of what you and your family are experiencing, along with the kinds of options we’d recommend.
Ready to enjoy a simpler life.
Jean and Bob are 64 and 65, respectively. They are at the very youngest eligible age for a United Methodist Homes unit, since one person in the couple is 65 or older. They currently live in the two-story house they built 35 years ago in a rural community, and feel ready for a one-level home with easy entry closer to shopping, entertainment, and health care. They want someone else to take care of yardwork and shoveling, and want to simplify their bills. They still cook for themselves, drive, and pursue hobbies and volunteer work in the community.
Making things a little easier.
Donna has been living in an apartment since her husband died and she sold their home. She has fallen a few times in recent years, and is starting to enjoy cooking less and less. She eats a lot of cereal and frozen foods. She still has her car, but only drives to church on Sunday and then swings by the grocery store on the way home. She never drives at night, and never on the highway anymore. Showering is difficult, and as a result she only bathes a few times a week. Donna’s niece feels Donna needs some help with medications – the last few times she’s visited, pills from the Monday portion of her medicine box were still there on Tuesday.
Carol, who lives with her oldest daughter, has been having increasing difficulty walking independently, occasionally bumping into walls in the hallway and bouncing from chair to couch to doorway in the living room. She has not managed her own medications in years, and can no longer grocery shop or help with the household tasks she once enjoyed, like baking. Carol’s daughter is struggling to manage Carol’s needs at home, with Carol increasingly unable to even make it to the dinner table without help. Simple tasks like bathing, dressing, and grooming have become sources of stress between mother and daughter.
Recovering from a rough winter.
Frank had a hard winter — first a fall in the driveway, then pneumonia. He’s been staying in his apartment with help from home health aides, but his doctor thinks that Frank can be independent again following a short-term rehab stay to rebuild his strength, balance, and endurance.
Dealing with the aftermath of a stroke.
Clara, age 88, recently had a stroke. After her hospital stay, it is not safe or practical for her to return to her small ranch house. The doorways aren’t wide enough for the wheelchair she is now using, and she cannot cook, bathe, or ambulate independently. She hasn’t driven in more than five years and medication management was progressively difficult for her, even before her stroke.
Late nights and forgetfulness.
Ed is a retired teacher who has always had an encyclopedic knowledge of literature, world history, and current events. But his children can no longer ignore the fact that he is repeating the same stories over and over, has weak short-term recall, and is making poor financial decisions. They have been doing as much as possible to help him remain in his home, but they’ve recently received late-night phone calls from local police, who have found Ed wandering along the side of the nearby highway in his pajamas. Ed forgets to eat, has lost weight, and often wears the same clothes for days at a time. His blood pressure is high because he forgets to take his medication. His youngest daughter recently read an article about “sundowning,” the tendency of some with dementia and Alzheimers to sleep all day and remain awake at night, and realizes this is what Ed has been doing.
Let us know how we can help.
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