darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
My two sisters and I weathered a crisis over the summer in which our mother, 88, underwent three surgeries. The third one was an emergency, during which she was taken from her condo on a stretcher, to the emergency room, to surgery, to rehab, and thence to her new assisted living apartment.

She never saw her own home again.

We prepared and sold the condo in short order. We were going to need that money pretty fast to pay the assisted living rent. Mom agreed to it all willingly.

An elderly woman in blue shirt and pants, in a wheelchair in a large institutional room with big windows and linoleum floors. Her daughter, laughing, is pushing the chair.
My mom and my younger sister, touring "the home"


It was such a nice place! 24-hour on-call help, three pleasant meals a day served in a communal dining room, but all the privacy of a normal life in the apartment itself. Rides to doctor appointments. Medication monitoring. Laundry, housecleaning, and bed-linen changing provided.

Circular driveway and covered entrance to a large apartment facility, labeled The Terrace
The Home




Instead of sliding into a final decline as we expected, Mom has recovered from her surgeries.

She needs a little help with meals, but she's able to use a shower and bathroom without assistance. She takes no prescription medications, needs little health monitoring. Still remembers most things. Hears fairly well with hearing aids. Sees just fine.

And she HATES the place.

The food is bad. The company is depressing. When she did press the red button the other night (for a not-too-grave emergency), nobody came for two hours. The promises of weekly housekeeping and bed-changing and laundry are often not fulfilled.

She developed a skin infection a few days ago, and today they told her she needed to get herself to an urgent care clinic. No, they couldn't take her. Couldn't even make an appointment for her. Basically could do fuck-all for her. My sister took care of it.

The simple truth is this: assisted living facilities are not about care. This is easy to miss when you're under the strain of sudden elder-care needs.

These facilities are cynically designed to funnel all the modest wealth of middle-class people like my mom into the coffers of the corporation that owns them.

Most people's whole financial substance--the paid for house, the savings account--bleeds out in five years. The facility downgrades your living standard at that point and starts sucking on your Medicare. Your pension and social security are also forfeit. You live whatever's left of your life with no income, no spending money, no new clothes or shoes, no treats or luxuries except what family members bring.

And what might have been a modest inheritance for the next generation has disappeared instead to some faceless corporation whose only "Care" is in its name.

We are done with this bullshit.

We're going to put a couple of modular houses in my side-yard. One will be for Mom, the other for my younger sister who also needs a home. Together we can look after Mom. Everyone's quality of life will go up.

The modular houses are accessible, flat, and well-designed. They have more square feet than my wee cottage!

A rendering of a small modular house with wood sides and a modern design, in a green landscape.
Rendering of a modular house that we like the look of


It'll be a complicated business involving tax changes and mortgages and trusts, lawyers, contractors and City permits. It won't happen overnight. But it seems to be possible, and we're gonna do it.

(no subject)

10/12/18 01:58 (UTC)
ljgeoff: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] ljgeoff
Hi, this is the first time I've commented on your journal. I'm a nurse in a nursing home. I agree with everything that you've said and I applaud your decision. What we as a society allow to happen to our elders is horrid. Thank you for taking this jump. I wish you well so much.

(no subject)

10/12/18 03:51 (UTC)
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] sasha_feather
That sounds like a good idea and I look forward to hearing about the houses. I wish there were better options for our elders, and for all of us.

(no subject)

10/12/18 04:36 (UTC)
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] firecat
Reading, because my mom ended up in a "memory care" place and the family had similar issues with it. Wish we could have implemented the solution you're thinking of for your mom.

(no subject)

10/12/18 13:35 (UTC)
ravurian: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] ravurian
I have to say that this sounds like an excellent solution to a sub-optimal situation, and it's also an excellent bit of future-proofing, too, since one day the rental income from one of those might go some way towards to supplementing your own income (assuming you retain ownership of the land and so on).

Funnily enough, this sort of thing came up elsewhere the other day: https://greenmagichomes.com/. Reasonably priced Hobbit holes!

(no subject)

11/12/18 05:33 (UTC)
twasadark: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] twasadark
Oh wow! You've been busy! I love how determined you are not to put up with the bullshit of the corporate liars. What a difficult situation they have put us all in, but you are taking control. I'm glad your mom has surprised you all and recovered - what a blessing!

You look like your mom - I recognized it immediately. :-)

(no subject)

11/12/18 18:25 (UTC)
toft: graphic design for the moon europa (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] toft
I've been watching my parents & my wife's parents deal with this reality and wondering how we're going to deal with it when it comes to us; I applaud your decision and I wish you all the best of luck.

(no subject)

12/12/18 00:27 (UTC)
jesse_the_k: fit cheryl haworth deadlifts a lot (cheryl wins olympic gold)
Posted by [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Having watched my mother-in-law take a very long, slow slide from independent living in a "continuum of care home", CONGRATS ON SEEING CLEARLY!

The path ahead will not be easy, but it's totally worth it.

(no subject)

15/12/18 19:17 (UTC)
tehomet: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] tehomet
I'm sorry your mum had to go through all that, with the surgeries and the corporate exploitation.

I have been through something similar with family members, due to either old age, injury, or illness - my grandma, my uncle, my dad - respectively, plus one of my cousins is dealing with this with her husband right now, and it is certainly challenging. The only practical suggestion I can offer is to make the bathroom bigger than you think it needs to be, as if there comes a time when help is needed showering, elbow room in a shower stall can be in short supply. Wet rooms, (if you know the way they are set up, with the whole floor of the bathroom is essentially a shower tray with drainage,) can be helpful.

I think your and your sister's proposed solution is a brilliant idea and I wish all the best to your family's new mini intentional community. All the best to you all.

(no subject)

15/12/18 20:49 (UTC)
bluemeridian: Bright red autumn olive berries (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] bluemeridian
This sounds like an amazing solution. Complicated to set-up, yeah, but a lot better for everyone in the long run.

(no subject)

22/12/18 03:49 (UTC)
mangopip: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] mangopip
This is a brilliant idea!

I once worked at a nursing home. I made it a week. I couldn't stand seeing these people strapped into their wheelchairs, left in the hallways most of the day "for interaction with others", stuck in their beds with bed sores...it was horrific.

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darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
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