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Help Me, Don’t Baby Me: Personal Freedoms in Assisted Living

Blog January 14th, 2015
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Not long ago, the Concierge Care Advisors were contacted by a senior in need. She noticed that she had been having difficulty with dexterous tasks. Once simple projects, like sewing, became overwhelming; just to thread the needle was taxing and time-consuming.

Of course, this crisis led to some more severe changes. She didn’t feel comfortable driving because she had difficulty gripping the wheel; when she did manage to get her hands around the wheel, steering became an issue. It was then that she decided to walk to her destinations: the grocery store, farmer’s market, local pharmacy, etc.

Since – as we all know – Seattle is very walkable, she saw this as no problem, only opportunity. Now, she could get her daily exercise without taking additional time out of her day to run errands – success!

However, on one of her food runs, she brought home a hefty bag of groceries. She had plans to make some pasta. She managed to grip the pot to fill it up with water without any problems, but when she needed to turn on the stove by turning the dial, she faltered. She couldn’t grip the dial. She was frustrated and angry. She had made the most out of her situation and now she couldn’t even boil water! In her panic, she ended up twisting the knob on, but no flame. She was fortunate in that she managed to turn the dial off… but this made her realize a terrifying reality.

Had she been unable to grip the stove dial, the house might’ve filled up with gas. Worse, she may not have been able to call for help, since pressing the right numbers requires a level of dexterity she no longer possessed. It was then that she decided to reach out for help from the Concierge Care Advisors.

Assisted Living is Helping, Not Babying

Our elder’s biggest concern was personal freedom. She didn’t want to be locked up; she didn’t want to be trapped in her senior living facility.

What she wanted was to be able to continue going into the city without needing permission or an escort. What she needed was assistance cooking or making meals.

We toured several assisted living facilities that had dining rooms, meals on wheels, or staff that would help cook in her unit. She chose one whose location enabled her to continue making her shopping trips downtown and a 12-hour open dining room. Plus, the assisted living community had an active living philosophy which meant that there were many more events and activities that required physical exercise – you know, and less “Bingo.”

She was extremely grateful that our agency was able to help her through this process and that we took the time to explain every step to her. The fact that our services were all offered at absolutely no cost made her even happier.

It’s important to respect our elders’ wishes and know that senior living does not need to mean “babying,” but “helping” to ensure our seniors live long, healthy and happy lives.

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