One older adult I've been acquainted with for 3 years (I'll call him Steve) says "I'm going to stay put in my house, until they carry me out". For most of us, this seems like the ideal plan. Astrally, most of us do want to stay in our homes for as long as possible.
Unfortunately, Steve stopped driving about one year ago, and was just diagnosed with early stage dementia. Even though he admits to bouts of loneliness he still wants to stay in his home for as long as possible. This is the stuff that keeps adult children awake at night.
I don't have all the answers, but I do think Steve should be empowered to make decisions for himself for as long as possible. As long as he isn't in any physical danger, and has a reasonable support system in place, he should be able to stay home. But, I tell him all the time, he has to have a plan.
Here is the reality of what is happening in the Twin Cities Senior Housing market. Vacancies in Independent Senior Housing Communities are up...way up. Vacancies in some assisted living communities are also on the rise. Vacancies in reputable memory care communities are non-existent. They are almost always full. The people who get preference for openings (pay attention here) are the current residents in the independent and assisted living communities.
Steve's doctor told him he would likely be able to stay at home for 2 more years. Steve's doctor did not tell him that waiting until he could no longer stay at home means he will likely end up in a nursing home instead of a facility that specializes in working with people with memory loss.
It's ironic. Steve is fighting to stay in his home so he continues to feel in control. Yet, his fight for control today means he will have very little control of his placement when the time comes. He'll simply get what's left over.
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