After the incident at the doctor’s office last week, I decided that I need to be proactive and start looking for a living situation that will meet Mom’s needs in the long term — before we have an incident that forces the issue. I would like to get her into a community that specializes in dementia care. I toured one such community after work today.
I saw a lot of things I liked about it: the spacious dining room with high, sloping ceilings and plenty of room for walkers and wheelchairs to maneuver between the tables; the large TV lounge; the quiet, tree-lined street on which it sits; everything on one floor, so no elevator causing a traffic jam at meal times. The activities are more in line with her interests, including a weekly Scrabble game and Bible study, and they have an actual Activity Director. The residents, nearly all of whom have some degree of dementia, all seemed friendly and engaged. Though it was after dinner, lots of folks were up and about in the hallways. Lots of the rooms had sliding doors opening onto a central courtyard.
On the flip side, the rooms are significantly smaller than her current one. She’d have to get used to a twin bed (instead of full size) and could only keep about half of her furniture. And because it’s specialized care, it costs more: a minimum of $600/mo. more than she’s paying right now, which puts it at $300 (or so) more than her total monthly income. A shared room would cost the same as what she’s paying now, but the shared rooms aren’t noticeably larger than the private ones — so she’d be down to just a bed, a dresser and (if she’s lucky) one chair. While she’d enjoy the company of a roommate in a larger space, I can’t see her living like a college student in a dorm with no privacy whatsoever.
I have a good feeling about this place. Maybe by the time she needs to move, I’ll be able to figure out how to pay for it. I could get a roommate, so that the money I save on my rent can go toward Mom’s extra expenses. (Is it completely ludicrous to be contemplating getting a roommate myself so that my mom doesn’t have to have one? But at least MY roommate situation would include a private bedroom and bathroom.) Or maybe there’s something better out there. I’m going to keep looking.
Meanwhile, when I called her tonight, she seemed so “with it” that it made me doubt whether she really needs to be in memory care just yet. Hopefully we’ve got a little time, a nice comfortable plateau to settle in on before the next decline.