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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 06/05/12

My father is 96 and has been in hospice at his assisted living facility for three months. I have found that even with both services, no one is really overseeing his care but me. The concept of assisted living does not provide for this kind of care. The ratio of residents to staff is too high and those residents who are more verbal and demanding get the most attention. My father is neither. Only occasionally do I find a conscientious staff member who checks in on Dad and tends to his needs, and that changes with each shift.

Hospice is wonderful, but this agency is limited by its scope and staff as well. Now that Dad is doing so poorly, it's been necessary for me to be there constantly or to hire additional help to watch over him. I would caution others to ask around about the level of care in the assisted living facility he or she is considering. It's something I wish I had considered more carefully when I made the initial living arrangements for my father.

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Name: Carla Cope
Location: Longboat Key, Florida
Date: 06/06/2012
Time: 03:53 PM


Unfortunately, as the child of an elderly parent that is in need of these services, we are overwhelmingly undereducated. I did not understand what the needs would be and what to ask for. I was wrong and I assumed too much. I moved my parents into an ASL facility at the beginning of February, 2012. Within two weeks of their move, they removed my father from the two bedroom apartment that they were still unpacking into, and placed him into the "memory care unit" in the next building. I knew that eventually he would probably need this new level of care, but not within two weeks of their arrival. They claimed that he had too many falls and would need the attention of the memory care attendants that would be around the clock. He stayed in that wing for the next three months. I was not thrilled with what I saw, but I didn't know what our options were. I was just happy that he was still able to eat his meals with my mother (just in the next building AL). The next thing I knew DCF (Dept. of Children and Family was notifying me that they had been investigating his care for the last 30 days. I was told that I had 45 days to have him moved to a skilled nursing facility. Now he is in another neighborhood about ten minutes away, he is attended to much better, but he is isolated and away from my mother. I try to get them together as much as I can, but I also must keep a job and somewhat of a home life with my significant other. Their financials have also suffered. None of this is fair or believable. The system just stinks and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it, but keep coughing it up. Good luck, I will be thinking about you and sending you good energy.

Name: Chris Gutierrez
Location: Pasadena, CA
Date: 06/05/2012
Time: 12:20 PM


Mimi, I am sorry to hear about your father. You have hit the nail on the head here. Many assisted living facilities will tell you that they provide a high level of care. With the economy the way it is, many communities have staffing at a minimum these days. Residential Care Homes are a GREAT option. My wife and I own two and these homes provide a level of care that the bigger communities cannot duplicate. You bring up such a good point in that asking about levels of care prior to placing a loved one there, is so valuable. Good luck Mimi

Name: Veronica
Location: Arizona
Date: 06/05/2012
Time: 10:28 AM


Mimi - I can understand what you are going thru. My dad is 89 and last summer I had to make the decision for him to leave his home and independent living. It was very confusing and at first I was also looking at an assisted living facility but God guided us to find a wonderful Group Home with only 5 residents and a full-time caregiver. It was the best decision my dad and I made. He loves living in a home and having someone there at all times to help him. He gets his meals/laundry/cleaning of his room and more importantly he is treated like family. It was such a huge weight off not only my shoulders but for Dad too. He now feels safe. If you have group homes where you are I highly recommend checking into them.

Date: 06/05/2012
Time: 10:09 AM


I agree with your comments about the lack of services in assisted living. That's been my expereince too. Often families have to hire additional help from a community agency to support the help the AL resident is receiving. It's a lot of money and I wish people asked more questions to determine exactly how much care will be provided as part of the monthly fee you are paying. If you have the funding, there are home health agencies that will provide more care for your father but it will cost you or him money to do so.



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