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Jane and Larry were in their mid-80’s. Jane’s health was pretty good although her memory wasn’t as sharp as it used to be. Larry had mobility challenges. His legs just didn’t have the strength for him to walk so he used a wheelchair to get around. Because he wasn’t very mobile, he counted on Jane to help with his personal care such as transferring from his wheelchair to his bed, lounge chair or commode and helping him shower. She also had to prepare all the meals, do the laundry, do the housekeeping, do all the shopping and chores that they used to share.  Jane was exhausted emotionally and physically and stressed out. She felt like her memory was getting worse a lot faster. She reached the point where she couldn’t do it all anymore.

Couple hugging
Photo courtesy of Upsplash, by Joe Hepburn

Jane and Larry were in their mid-80’s. Jane’s health was pretty good although her memory wasn’t as sharp as it used to be. Larry had mobility challenges. His legs just didn’t have the strength for him to walk so he used a wheelchair to get around. Because he wasn’t very mobile, he counted on Jane to help with his personal care such as transferring from his wheelchair to his bed, lounge chair or commode and helping him shower. She also had to prepare all the meals, do the laundry, do the housekeeping, do all the shopping and chores that they used to share.  Jane was exhausted emotionally and physically and stressed out. She felt like her memory was getting worse a lot faster. She reached the point where she couldn’t do it all anymore.

Larry ended up in the hospital with Covid-19. After a two week stay, he was ready to go home. Jane and her adult children knew that Larry was going to need more help than prior to going in the hospital. At minimum he had been in bed for two weeks which would cause anybody to lose strength. At 85 recovering from Covid-19 would take time. Jane knew she wouldn’t be able to help him transfer anymore and was concerned he or she would get hurt in the process. Jane and her adult children also realized that a family caregiver’s health often declines faster than the person she is caring of. They were worried that if Larry went home, it would not be safe for either of them.

Larry was determined to go home, and certain that Jane could help him as he felt he wasn’t going to need much care. When Jane said she couldn’t help him anymore and that she thought they should move to assisted living he ignored her and continued to make plans to go home. He wanted to sleep in his own bed and sit in his own chair. The family finally realized that Larry was picturing assisted living as being the same as a nursing home where he would have a hospital bed and uncomfortable chair in a small, shared room. He didn’t realize that assisted living could look just like home with his own bed and chair. That he could still be independent in assisted living, but that he could receive the help he needed without risking his wife’s health.

As a Certified Placement Referral Specialist, I strongly recommend touring assisted living communities early. It is important to have a plan just in case somebody, like Larry, ends up in the hospital and can’t safely go home.  Touring an assisted living community would have saved Larry a lot of angst. He would have known that assisted living isn’t like a nursing home. He would have learned that he could have his own private apartment, his own bed, chair and TV. He would still have independence. He would gain opportunities for socialization and activities, entertainment, and caregivers to help him when he needed it. He would have learned that assisted living is not at all the same as a nursing home. 

Placement specialists can help aging individuals prepare for the future. They can help determine good options and they tour assisted living communities with their clients to help ask questions clients may not think to ask. Placement specialists’ clients are under no obligation to move right away, they just want to ensure clients have options that they clearly understand and like for when it is time to move.

Please call a Placement Specialist like Liz Fischer of Right Fit Senior Living Solutions today. Liz can help aging individuals find options they like for when it is time to move. There’s no obligation to move now and there’s no charge for touring. Liz does not charge her clients for her services; she gets paid by the assisted living into which her clients move. Having a plan can save a lot of anxiety during a much more stressful situation, like Larry and Jane.

Liz Fischer is a Certified Senior Advisor® and a Certified Placement Referral Specialist. She has owned Right Fit Senior Living Solutions for 6 years and loves what she’s doing.

Affiliations & Certifications
Right Fit Senior Living Solutions is a member in good standing with the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, the Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce, the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce, Westside Referral Network, Senior Provider Information Network, Metropolitan Senior Network, and Oregon Senior Referral Agency Association where Liz is the President. We are proud that Right Fit Senior Living Solutions has become a Platinum Certified SAGE Care Provider specializing in helping LGBT seniors.