Monday, September 5, 2011

As of Sunday...

Susan and I went by to deliver milk and bananas that Mom had asked Susan to bring by. We arrived around 2pm, Dad was eating chicken noodle soup and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Mom was eating yogurt and was moving slow, but things seemed stable.

Dr. Wiggans has reduced a couple more of Dad's meds and is talking to Musselman about others. He seems convinced that over-medication is still part of Dad's lethargy. I'm hopeful that he's right, but Dad just doesn't seem to have a firm grip on things. He knows it and that's why he has a hard time realizing he's getting better. I'm anxious to hear what the neurologist has to say. I'll talk to Mom the morning and help get the appointment straightened out. I wish she had said something about it to me yesterday!

She mentioned the Forum to Susan while we were there. We decided not to go to the movies and paid a visit to the Forum instead. Very impressive. Tries very hard to be an American Hotel for elderly well-to-do. Biggest complaint we've heard was from a friend of Marilyn's: if you're not in the right building it's a helluva long walk to the dining room. And she was right. The place was very quiet. The single bedroom unit we saw is quite large, but boy, would they ever have to strip down to move in! (Boy, the overstuffed furniture in the model-room looked so-o-o comfortable! Dad would have NO TROUBLE SLEEPING.)

But that was independent living. And that has the same problems they have now. They need help with showers, meds, basic support stuff, and they're going to need help with that even more when (if) Mom develops the pneumonitis that's the probable side effect of her treatment. (And if that doesn't clear up easily will it develop into pneumonia?)

So, what are the options?

1)   Stay at the Renaissance, but radically increase the amount of in-home care. It's possible that Alice, who takes care of Marilyn would be able to provide someone. Of course there's not a lot of extra space to have an outsider in the apartment all the time.

2)   Independent Living at the Forum or equivalent.  All meals are available in the hotel-like dining room living as needed. It would be living on the American Plan. There is a cocktail hour with wine and beer before dinner. The dining room was set for a Labor Day Buffet when we were there. I bet a lot of the residents dress for dinner! The environs is walker friendly. Our host (the food-bev director, a nice young man from New York) estimated 60-70% of the population use walkers.

It's very difficult for their contemporaries to visit them at the Renaissance, especially since the Renaissance is being very nasty about parking by the bike rack. The only guest parking is upstairs on the top level, requiring their guests negotiate a full flight of stairs. Not exactly handicap friendly.

The drawback with Independent Living is that it is just that: independent living, self-care in an apartment albeit in a 'senior friendly' environment. Mom and Dad are not currently independent. They need help and would need the same amount of in-home care as they would at the apt. Senior help is available through The Forum's Ambassador Program at an additional hourly rate, much like they currently get through Tammi.

4.) Assisted Living provides round the clock help, assistance for things like medication, bathing, feeding, including assistance to and from the dining area. Assisted living residents live in a different building from the independent residents.

Whether the Forum is the facility or not, the questions would be the same. The Rectors faced the same questions and chose to stay in the house. Susan and Meg have provided the nighttime care for a long time now.

The future is daunting!

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