Oh oh, I feel a rant coming on. I was hoping I was going to be calm, but I think I may lose control about halfway through this.
Good article in this month's Consumer Reports about assisted living. Geared a lot to the American market, but has good tips for Canadians too. It outlines some of the things to be aware of, and ask about. The main problem, common to both countries is really what kind of help is provided and what happens if someone needs more.
It is especially relevant as British Columbia is building assisted living, thinking it is God's answer to ice cream. Or a solution to care problems. The problem is, that people go in needing only some help, and then as they age, many need more. What happens then? Things get confusing also, because a lot of what is available is what is called Independent Living, or Congregate Car, and not assisted living, that is, care with personal needs is not available.
So far so good. I think I am still in control here.
Well, maybe you can pay extra to add care. In the private sector, that is essentially what will happen. Some places have the care too, and that is when they are assited living. But there is only so much care, and then, you pay, or out you go.
Sometimes, it is a matter of safety--if a place cannot keep someone, or his or neighbours safe, they have to act.
But sometimes they just do not make the effort. I recently ran into this problem with a client who is being turfed from Independent Living, when it would have been very easy to work together to solve the problem. 'This place could not get past her behaviour (which was erratic and somewhat aggressive) to look at what the cause was. Had they done so, and understood it, which I don't think is asking too much of a company that makes it's money on the elderly. They just freaked out. It was easier.
Sometimes, it is too easy for for systems such as nursing homes, assisted living, schools, libraries, whomever, to become so wrapped up in their institutional beliefs and systems that they can't bend.
They think they do. But then they tell you something like "Well, what if we did this for everyone?" (It might be a better place.) Or, "What if everyone were to ask for that? (Let's deal with that when we get there.) Or, "If we start with this, where would it ënd?" (I dunno, revolution? A new world religion? Parliament being overthrown?"
On the other hand, to be fair, sometimes places do go out of their way to be accomodating, and do go out of their way to meet the needs of families and residents.Sometimes, they put up with things long after they should have put their foot down from abusive family members who treat them like crap.And they didn't, because they care, and because they have the compaasion to understand what it is like for the elderly and their caregivers. So don't give up hope that you will find one of these.
Okay. There. I'm finished now. I feel better. That wasn't so bad, was it?