I was in the grocery store checkout line when I heard a man
say, “Where’s the ice cream with all the fat?”
I recognized the voice immediately. It belonged to my father-in-law,
a retired physician and widower for many years. His question
made me smile and it also made me worry.
Dad had suffered a mini
stroke and family members knew he wasn’t taking good care
of himself. In fact, he seemed to be living on frozen pizza
and ice cream. Though Dad knew the benefits of a balanced diet,
he wasn’t cooking for himself or getting enough fruits,
vegetables, and whole grains.
It took months for family
members to persuade Dad to move to Assisted Living. For decades,
he had lived in a beautiful condominium and, as you might expect,
had accumulated too much. “What am I going to do with
all this stuff?” he kept asking. Family members promised
to help and we did.
the tips we followed:
the pluses. Talk about the benefits: food service,
house cleaning service, social activities, hobby groups, safety,
a floor plan. This makes it easier to sort items and
choose the ones that will work best in your loved one’s
with sorting. Moving is a stressful experience and
having to part with possessions make it more so. We sorted items
into two groups, KEEP and GIVE. Then we had an appraiser come
in to reject or confirm our sorting.
of items. Contact relatives and suggest items they
might like to have. Keep track of who is coming to pick up items
and when. Take unwanted things to Goodwill, Salvation Army,
or church rummage sales.
something new. Help your loved one buy something new
for the apartment, a comfy chair or picture frame. One purchase
can make his or her new place special. Respect your loved one’s
wishes if he or she doesn’t want anything new.
with set-up. Help arrange the furniture as planned,
but be flexible. What looked good on paper may not work in reality.
the kitchen. Much of the food will probably come from
your loved one’s former home. Buy additional groceries
kitchen cabinets. It’s hard to find things when
you move into a new place. My sister-in-law put sticky notes
– glasses, plates, cups, silverware, pots/pans, etc. –
on the cabinet doors. Dad never took the notes down.
it homey. Add some potted plants and, of course, lots
of family photos. Dad eventually transferred to Nursing Care.
Before he moved into his new “studio” apartment,
I put a bouquet of flowers on the table in front of the window.
connected. My father-in-law thought he would lose contact
with family members and, thankfully, this didn’t happen.
Family members visited often, ate dinner with him, included
him in all activities, and planned special activities for him.
Though he was reluctant to move at first, Dad loved Assisted
Living. “It’s wonderful,” he kept saying.
Copyright © 2012
by Harriet Hodgson
- Article by Harriet
Hodgson exclusively for Assisted Living Directory