December 29, 2017 at 7:54 pm · nate · Comments Off on Moving my Grandparents into Assisted Living
My grandparents at the time were married for 72 years. We just celebrated their anniversary at Golden Corral, their favorite place. Each of the 5 grandchildren stood up and told a favorite memory of them. I have numerous memories of them. They were always at my sporting events and big moments of my life. My grandpa was my first call when my cars broke down, when my washing machine wouldn’t work, garage door wouldn’t open and many more broken things that my grandpa could always fix. Their small condo in Riverdale was a safe house for me. I would go there after tough days and knew that I would hear the words I needed to hear and their would always be food for me.
My grandparents got married when they were 17. They built their first house, they knew how to make and fix things. My grandpa joined the Army in 1942 and was sent to the Pacific were he worked with communications and telephone lines. He served 2 and 1/2 years and when he came home he saw his son for the first time at 2 years old. My grandparents were frugal. They saved their tinfoil and bread bags for future use. They knew the meaning of hard work and sacrifice.
Over the years my grandparents started to grow old. My grandma started forgetting things and would repeat the same questions over and over. She knew we were special people, but we had to remind her that she was our grandma. My grandpa starting moving a lot slower. He still had a great mind and could remember everything but he started getting weak and walking slow. It was harder for him to get out of the chair. He was the caregiver for my grandma. He would make sure she was showered and dressed properly, he would do the laundry, the cooking, and the cleaning.
One day my grandparents only surviving son which is my Dad called me and said that he found grandpa on the floor of his bedroom unable to move or talk. My dad had called 911 and my grandpa was rushed to the hospital. He had a sever urinary tract infection and almost died. Of course, my grandpa being stubborn didn’t want to tell anyone that he was sick and thought of it as no big deal. When we asked my grandma what happened she didn’t have any idea that grandpa was on the floor. We think he could of been there for 24 hours. My grandpa was recovering well at the hospital but needed some short term rehabilitation. After talking with several people we chose to move him to Stonehenge Rehabilitation in South Ogden. Our family took shifts taking care of grandma so she wouldn’t be alone and we discussed what are we going to do with both of them when grandpa would only be at the rehab center for a couple weeks. My family looked to me.
I have been working in the Assisted Living business since 1999. When I first learned about Assisted Living I was working as a home health aide for a home care business and one of my patients lived at an Assisted Living Community. At the time there weren’t many assisted living communities in Utah and if you asked someone if they knew what it was then chances were they didn’t know. In 2017, there are more than 240 assisted living communities in Utah and the last couple of years thousand of new beds have been coming to Utah. Before Assisted Living, the options were to stay at home and have people come and help as best they could, move into one of your kids house, or move to a nursing home. These 3 options had some major problems. A lady by the name of Karen Wilson had a vision of a new place for her mother who had suffered from a stroke and was living in a nursing home. Her vision was a small place with a little kitchenette and a bathroom. It would have her favorite things in it, including her cat, her unfinished projects, her Vicks VapoRub, and coffepot. There would be people to help her with the things she couldn’t do without help. In the imaginary place, she would be able to lock her door, control her heat, and have her own furniture. No one would make her get up, turn off her favorite soap operas, or ruin her clothes. Nor could anyone throw out her “collection: of back issues of magazines and Goodwill treasures because they were a safety hazard. She could have privacy whenever she wanted, and no one could make her get dressed, take her medicine, or go to activities she did not like. She would be Jessie again, a person living in an apartment instead of a patient in a bed. So in 1983 she opened the first Assisted Living community in Portland Oregon and called it Park Place Assisted Living.
My partners and I built Our House Assisted Living of Ogden and we opened the community in June of 2015. It is located at 446 N Jefferson Avenue in Ogden Utah just North of The Weber Applied Technology College on North Street. At Our House of Ogden we have 43 private studio and one bedrooms apartments and provide assistance with showering, medication administration, housekeeping, laundry, 3 meals a day, personal grooming, multiple activities throughout the day, transportation to doctors, Wal-Mart, banks, etc., if needed we provide assistance with incontinence care, and transferring residents from their wheelchairs to their bed, chair, or bathroom. The great thing about Assisted Living is every resident is different with what they need. Each resident receives a personalized service plan that they choose what they want help with or not. There are Certified Nursing Assistants 24 hours a day and all the residents need to do is push a pendent that is worn around their neck and someone will be there in just a couple of minutes. Its a great environment and something that would be perfect for my grandparents. However, we would need to see what my grandpa thought about it.
As you can imagine, when we brought up the possibility of moving to Our House Assisted Living of Ogden he said that he would be perfectly fine going back home and taking care of grandma just like he has been doing. Besides he said, “I don’t want to go live with a bunch of old people.” He was a young 92 years old at the time. The average age of an assisted living resident is about 83. My grandpa was stubborn and independent. We can’t force him to move to Assisted Living. Or can we? Because of my involvement in Assisted Living my grandpa had been over to Our House Assisted Living many times. He know what it looked like but he never thought that he would be a resident of the place. After a lot of discussion, we told him just to try it out for a month. Think of it as going on a cruise where you can have all the food you like, fun activities throughout the day, your own room and bathroom, etc. He finally said, “OK I will try it for you but I won’t like it and keep my home because I am going back.”
Our House Assisted Living sent their nurse out to Stonehenge for a nurse assessment that took about 30 minutes. She wanted to identify what cares and services my grandpa wanted and needed. She then assessed my grandma. We gave Our House a list of their medications and the administrator called to set up an appointment to discuss the move in process, paperwork, monthly fees, and services. The paperwork and meeting with the administrator took about an hour. It was very informative for my family and they said, why didn’t we move them in earlier?
Upon being discharged my grandpa had signed up for Legacy Home Health. This meant that Medicare would pay to have a Nurse, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, and others visit him at Our House Assisted Living for the next 4-6 weeks to make sure he was adjusting well and getting a little more rehab. Its a great service, and I would encourage anyone that is moving into Assisted Living to talk with a Home Health Company especially Legacy Healthcare. They did a great job.
Before my grandparents moved in we brought over their bed and favorite chairs from their home. We hung their pictures up on the walls and we made it look just like their place. We picked up my grandparents and we moved them in. They were very happy to see their apartment and how it was set up with their things. The staff at Our House Assisted Living had a welcome basket with some of their favorite treats, like peanuts and pepsi. My grandparents really liked that. After a few minutes, a couple of residents came by and introduced themselves along with the activity director, and food service manager. It was really nice and I could tell my grandpa was warming up to the place.
After a few weeks, my grandparents were fitting in really well. They didn’t go to many of the activities but they were out and about in the community quite a bit. They made a few new friends with some of the other residents. My grandpa really enjoyed that staff members and teased them a lot. Overall, my grandparents were adjusting and my grandpa hadn’t said a word about going back home.
My family and I would like to thank the wonderful staff members at Our House Assisted Living of Ogden. They made my grandparents feel so welcome and they truly took care of them as if they were their family members. The food has been great with the different options to choose from and the soup and salad bar have been so convenient. When we visit, my kids can go play miniature golf, or play on the swing set in the interior courtyard so my wife and I can visit without the kids jumping up and down on the bed and/or running down the hallways playing tag.
Thank you Our House Assisted Living of Ogden