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Lori Schuler: Seniors needs support when transitioning to assisted-living home

11:31 AM, Jun. 14, 2013  |  Comments
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One of the highlights in my day is when I deliver Meals on Wheels to my special friends I have acquired through the years. The smile that comes to their face, the wonderful conversations we have, and even doing chores to help them out leaves my heart fulfilled.

The other day when delivering meals, one of my good friends was crying when I got there and we had "the discussion." She said, "I have to leave my home. I don't want to leave my home. I've lived here a long time and have great memories, and I love my home."

My friend explained to me that her loved ones have made arrangements for her to go to an assisted-living home. After 11 years of past experience of working in an assisted-living home I explained to her that it is sad, nobody wants to leave their home, but it is not a bad thing. You will find it to become your "home away from home," as I have explained to many seniors for years, and in time you will find peace.

There are many reasons why people are faced with the major decision of moving to a senior-living community. Very few people want to leave their home. One of the major reasons someone leaves their home is their health, or families may live far away and not be available to help with their loved one's needs. For some seniors, caring for the home may be more than they can handle.

For many seniors, loneliness is a problem. They are unable to drive a car and are home alone too often. Sometimes the senior has to make the decision alone, and other times they will have help in making the decision. The parent or loved one may no longer be able to decide because of dementia/Alzheimer's disease, a stroke or various health issues.

Each person will experience different kinds of losses - independence, something that everyone has worked hard to accomplish in a lifetime, is the greatest loss; freedom to do whatever you wish, whenever; and possessions, especially their home, where many memories were made. It seems everything they have worked for in life and their accomplishments were for nothing. The realization that you are no longer able to care for yourself can be painful.

This can be a very difficult time in one's life, with all the changes and losses. Sometimes it is not a choice, but we can help their lives by being there for them, really listening to them, and showing that you love them and really care.

I will be there. I will visit my friend in her new home and let her know I care.

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