Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Search for Rob's Home

Robert has lived in The Home for almost two years now. After realizing Robert needed to be placed in an Assisted Living facility, I searched for the perfect place for him. A place where he would be close to me, the staff would look out for him and he could participate in many activities, including church services which are so very important to him.

I researched what to look for in a facility when visiting, what questions to ask of the staff and was thrilled to even find a ready-made checklist! (I do love my checklists). I looked up code violations for the homes before visiting and crossed them off my list if the violations were excessive or severe.

I toured a few homes and decided against the home that had wheeled an incapacitated patient on a gurney into a lunch room corner, placed a tray of food on her stomach and walked away. The woman was clearly not aware of her surroundings nor was she even remotely capable of lifting a fork to her mouth. The facility director I was talking with walked right by her but made a point of calling other residents by name as they walked past us. If the residents hadn’t about fallen over from shock when she said hi to them, I would have believed she was being sincere. A tour of the room Robert would be in made me quickly exit with a, “thanks, I’ll call you” as the stench of stale urine was too overpowering to ignore.

This will not do.

Another home recommended to me by the placement counselor at the Skilled Nursing Facility where Robert was temporarily staying turned out to be a residential facility housing schizophrenic and bipolar patients. Apparently, some people still think of Epilepsy as a mental illness.

Nope, this won’t work.

I visited one home which seemed great on paper (no violations, great staff/patient ratios) but was another story when I showed up to walk around. I didn’t see any residents. Zero. Seriously, it was a ghost town. The explanation was that people mainly stayed in their rooms except during meal times and I was welcome to come back then. I nodded my head and followed the director through the halls which seemed more like a dark maze by the minute and was shown a desolate game room and an equally bare “salon.” I did spot a couple of workers deep in conversation in the laundry room.

I’m in need of therapy after just being here for thirty minutes. I can’t move Robert to this place.

The next home struck me as adorable and considerably lifted my spirits. The quaint rooms for the residents are housed in one of four charming cottages. It actually had a serious violation against it but The Home had hired a new director and so I gave them the benefit of the doubt since it seemed as if they were addressing any problems they had. The director was a sweet little lady with lots of experience as a care home director who seemed to genuinely care for her patients and seemed to take a liking to Robert when they met. The Home didn’t even have a smell which was a definite plus. The residents walking around were friendly and social. They were all much older than Robert but he had always liked older people so I thought this would be a great choice for him.

I took Robert for a visit and he liked the facility as well. The residents greeted him with smiles and hellos and he warmly said “hi” and “God Bless You” to everyone he met. The facility had activities all day long which many residents participated in. They also had a church service every Sunday. Fantastic!

This place seemed perfect so I moved Robert in as soon as I could.

As much as I had hoped he would live happily in this home for many years, two years later I am actually on the hunt again for a better fit for Robert.

Let the tours begin! (Maybe I’ll bring nose plugs this time).

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