Why an Independent Living Facility Might Not be the Answer

Why an Independent Living Facility Might Not be the Answer
I recently had a disturbing experience; it involved caring for an elderly couple whose family had recently moved them from their home into an Independent Living Facility (ILF). They were generally healthy, but needed some help with some of the activities of daily living, which we were hired to provide at the facility, but could just as easily provide in the couple’s home.
I know that their daughter had only great intentions when moving them, she chose one of the finer facilities in town, so she thought, but it hasn’t turned how she had planned. Since moving into the ILF, the couple feels more isolated, bored, inactive, confused and uncomfortable than they ever were in their own home. 
The elderly gentleman is basically relegated to his tiny apartment, complaining that he has no place to “tinker” or continue his hobbies.  They sit on the couch watching television (with a different, more confusing, cable system), waiting for our aide to arrive.  It was surprising to me that the current residents had firmly established cliques and were not receptive, nor openly friendly to my clients, further isolating them.  These facilities sell themselves on human interaction and socialization but the staff took no initiative to introduce the couple to other residents or help ease the transition to the facility. As a matter of fact, the pair was ostracized publicly for attempting to dine in the wrong cafeteria.
It appears to me that the facility mission is to simply collect the elderly and put them all in a place where we can find them.  In my opinion, the couple would be much better off at home. By simply adding a few more hours of personal care every week, they could stay in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by their personal belongings and following the same routines that they have known for years.  This very nice gentleman told me… “If I had my car here, I would drive home right now!”
It is understandable why an adult child would want to put their parents into an ILF/ALF…because we love them and want them to be safe, stress-free and comfortable. The old adage “There’s no place like home” is especially true to seniors.
Interim’s professional homecare services provide safety, communication, personal interaction, peace-of-mind, health monitoring, are 100% tailored to the needs of the individual client, and can be much more affordable than a nursing facility or ILF.  Most importantly, our services are performed in the client’s home…where they raised their children; where they are most comfortable; where they are most familiar; where they are happiest!  Recent studies show that 92% of seniors want to age in the comfort of their home. This couple, whose home is paid for, and in who are in relatively good health, should be allowed to age with dignity in their own home.
-Lieutenant Colonel Michael Eliason ( “Eli” ),
Co-owner of Interim HealthCare of Salt Lake City, Utah

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