Monday, April 6, 2009

What does mom need in assisted living?

Watching Mom over the past year, I tried to make note of things that make her happy or seem frustrating. Too often the list is heavy on the latter, but Mom keeps her sense of humor about it. Often she says, " Old age isn't for sissies.." or "It's tough to be gumhla". "Gumhla" is probably not spelled correctly but it's the best I can do. Mom tells me it's Norwegian or Swedish for "old" or "old lady", her grand parents and great aunts used the same term as they creaked about....

By building my list I hoped to capture things that would become helpful or hurtful in an assisted living facility. From these observations I created a list of things to look for in her next home:

  • Are hallways long or short? How long must she walk to get around to things she'll enjoy?
  • Hallways - narrow or wide? Can she, another resident and an aid pass each other easily with room to spare?
  • How many elevators exist in the facility and are the numbers for floors easy to reach?
  • Cabinets in the facility - low or high?
  • Are individual appliances permitted in apartments or rooms? Coffee makers, refridgerators, microwaves, TVs, Stereos?
  • How often do they come around for laundry? How do they keep Mom's things together or ensure they are returned to her?
  • Can she go to breakfast in her pajamas? Is there a meal time dress code?
  • Can she get her hair done on site?
  • Is there a bathtub so she can get help for a nice soak now and then?
  • What sort of outings does the facility have? Are there extra charges for these?
  • How often do entertainers come in to the facility?
  • Can I spend the night with Mom once she's moved?
  • Can she control the heat in her room by herself?