In August 2005, Mom moved into ‘The Retreat, Senior Assisted Living’ in Hartford, CT. Prior to this move, Mom and Dad lived in independent senior housing in South Windsor, CT for most of ten years. They lived there with basic facility monitoring, in-home care and significant family involvement. Earlier that year though, Dad began to decline physically in considerable ways and after three hospital stays we made the difficult decision of long-term nursing home care.
In the same year, Mom was hospitalized for surgery due to a stomach aneurysm and a subsequent fall, cracking her hip. She wound up needing a walker and oxygen, as well as developing a ‘safety disability’. It was clear she could not go back to independent living.
She was not ready to give up her independence and we thought her options were limited since finances certainly were. Dad was already on Medicaid and Mom was eligible, though I’d never applied for her.
Assisted living facilities offer an alternative to those who no longer want to live alone (or are unable to do so), but do not need 24-hour skilled nursing care. They fall somewhere between an independent living community and a skilled nursing facility in terms of the level of care provided and allow a person to ‘age in place’.
Assisted living is regulated by each state and typically provides-
Limited medical care
Assistance with activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, medicine reminders)
Individual apartments and efficiencies
Communal living and meals
Housekeeping and laundry services
Activities and trips
Two affordable assisted living communities in CT were identified. Both were clean and friendly and both accepted Medicaid (actually, required it). The first was ‘Herbert T. Clark Assisted Living’ in Glastonbury, CT. The second place was ‘The Retreat’. Mom lived and did well there for about four years, until she was asked to leave for reasons I won’t get into just now 😉
Her first night there was harder for me than it was for her. I did not want to leave her alone in the apartment, yet understood it was probably best to do so. We’d hung pictures, arranged cabinets, eaten lunch at her new dining room table and had dinner in the communal dining room, meeting some of the other residents. We were having “coffee-and…” back upstairs when she began to slowly shake her head. Worried, I told her I would sleep on the couch.
“What for?” she said. “Go home. You look like shit.”
“Well, I thought maybe you’d feel more comfortable with someone here.” Now I was holding back tears. I looked at the unfamiliar curtains and quilt, a photo I’d brought of her and my dad, the narrow, single bed meant only for one. The clock on the wall ticked loudly.
“Don’t worry about me,” she said. “Just trying to remember how to use the damn remote for the TV. Which button turns it on?”
Next blog – Other senior living options
 Medicaid is health insurance that helps many people who can’t afford medical care.
 A Place for Mom is the nation’s largest elder care referral network. Consultation is provided at no cost to families, as many communities reimburse us for their services. The website is a bit busy, but contains a lot of good information.