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Send me your stories, questions, insights about caring for aging parents. I will post some contributions here. (I may need to edit them for length. Specify whether I may use your name and city.)
From Caroline Hightower, New York, New York:
My mother was in assisted living in La Jolla; I was in NYC. She had a stroke and was required to either move into their tiny, dreary nursing care facility or move out because she was unable to "transfer" herself from a wheelchair. She was willing to pay for an aide but that brought an absolute "no!"
I searched the area to find a nursing home where she might be comfortable and still feel human. There were waiting lists etc. She finally moved into a shared room in a "home" with no real outdoor space; it was a bummer. She regained her speech, could read, keep current and write, but she still couldn't transfer.
She was a very savvy, can-do person. Once she was functioning better, she rented a little apartment in a pleasant place with a pool, hired two cheerful (Mexican, warm and outgoing) aides she'd gotten to know at the "home" (she could pay them more than they were earning) and saved money and her sense of self.
I was against it because I had been dealing from so far away and found the nursing home situation reassuring, but she was right. She lived independently for several years before she died of recurrent breast cancer . Clearly she was a remarkable person, and, in her late 70's still young enough to "deal." What a difference it made to her, and to me.