The phone rings. The caller is concerned about their loved one – a parent, an aunt, a friend. They’re falling or not eating right, they’re isolated and showing signs of depression or memory loss. But they don’t want to leave their home. The caller is very worried, but feels helpless; they want to respect their loved one’s wishes, but watching the decline is so hard.
It can feel like a failure when an elder leaves their home because they need some help, like a step closer to the end. Giving up their independence, saying good-bye to a beloved pet, losing familiar surroundings. You might think that such losses would further contribute to their decline.
“It’s not true!” says Andy Reichsman. And he would know. For many years, his mother lived next door to his home in Marlboro. She loved her home, the views, even the caregivers who came in to ensure she took her medication, ate well and got in and out of the shower safely. Andy was determined to keep his Mom home. “I vowed I would never move her into assisted living or a nursing home.