Does this sound familiar? Your dad passed away two years ago. Now your 88 year-old mom is living at her home by herself. You have her wearing a medic alert button in case she falls. You call several times a day and try to visit her every few days but you are consumed with guilt because you’re not visiting enough. Because of her age, most, if not all, of her friends have died. She is alone and getting more frail by the day. Circumstances make it that she can’t live with you but she clearly shouldn’t be living alone. So what are your options? If your mom is close to being bedridden, you’ll probably be looking at a nursing home. If she is able to get around, you are visiting assisted living places. Many have lot of activities—card games, bingo, trivia, book clubs, etc. But if your mom is like my mom, she’s not really a joiner. In her youth she wasn’t playing bingo and trivia and she’s not about to start doing it now. My mom has hearing aids but is really deaf. Any group activities are difficult for her. Maybe if she and my dad had gone to an assisted living years ago she would have joined in those activities, but now, she’s a one-on-one type person. Are there any other alternatives? Yes.
Adult Foster Care is a great answer to senior care. Katie, who is a nurse and licensed social worker, has said she prefers it over any other option. Essentially, a small group of people—about 3 to 5 residents—live together in a home-like setting. They are taken care of by a licensed caregiver. They usually have their own rooms and bathrooms. They share a living room and kitchen, though their meals are provided by the foster home. Often they participate in helping to prepare meals. Depending on their rating, foster homes can care for seniors who just need a little assistance to bedridden patients on hospice.
The AFC movement was pioneered in Oregon in the 1980’s as an alternative to nursing homes. Most states have them and some have a deal so they can accept Medicaid for people with low income. If you are interested, contact your local Senior or Dept. of Aging/Disability Services. Katie said, “One of my favorite homes is up on a hill that has gorgeous views of the valley. Whenever I go there to visit someone, there always seems to be cake or cookies fresh out of the oven and the house smells great. I joke with the caregivers that this is the home I want to go to someday. I have even picked out the room I want!”