You're A Senior Living Alone and You Start Having Trouble Due to Failing Health....

SeaBreeze

Endlessly Groovin'
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Location
USA
If you didn't have any friends or family nearby to help you, and you started having trouble taking care of yourself, doing shopping, doing housework, paying the bills, etc...would you voluntarily move into a nursing home or assisted living facility...or would you try to hire somebody to come in and help you out part time?

I think I would do whatever I could to stay in my own home, even if I couldn't afford any outside help. What would you do?
 

Jillaroo

Demented
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Mid North Coast NSW Australia
I would muddle through on my own like i have been, i dread the thought of a nursing home, to me it signals the end of your life once put in there
 

Anne

New member
Joined
Apr 7, 2013
I've been alone too much, with hubby travelling - don't like it at all, but not sure what I'd do...I agree with Jillaroo; a nursing home is like 'the last stop', not much freedom, either, and not for night owls. :eek:
IF I could afford it, I'd have someone come in, or consider an assisted living place. Guess we never know for sure until we're 'there', but it's worth thinking about.
 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
That's me SB. I've just had to make that very decision.
Like you, I would prefer to stay put, but:-

Hiring someone trustworthy for home help isn't as easy as it seems. Especially in a smallish town where most fit women work in other towns, or aren't much better off physically than I am, or are transient trailer park types whom I have no means of vetting. A help wanted ad in the PO would be an invitation to 'case the joint' to some.

It's a region with a high density of aging retirees and Government run Community Assistance programs are so overloaded that there's a waiting list to get onto the waiting list.
Geographical location plays a big part in what makes our independence possible.

The kindness of relatives alone has kept me from starving when I was unable to drive to a shop, or even cook a meal for weeks.
The only other option was to call an ambulance and throw myself on the mercy of the already overloaded health system. I preferred starvation to hospital, but that's a reeeally long story.

Had I lived in a town with a taxi to call, or a take-away shop to phone for a delivery, or even with a doctor, or a pharmacy the decision would have been harder to make, but I don't. I'm far too isolated here to justify my 'independence' as being more than a pipe-dream.

The reasons I chose to live here are the nostalgic location and the beach. I'm essentially housebound now and can only look at the beach from the carpark. I may as well look at a photo of it.

My principal reasons for being here aren't accessible to me any longer, so sanity must prevail, and self preservation has kicked in.
Leaving this house, that I partly designed, and have worked towards achieving my entire life, is one of the hardest things I have faced. It is the goal that kept me going when nothing else was worth it, and the sole tangible evidence that I've stamped on the planet to signify that I was ever here at all. It's 'me'. It's the bottom line representation of my life.

But I can't care for it alone any longer. The dream is achieved. It won't matter if I die in it or not, it will still be 'my' house. This particular house will only here because I 'built' it here. That has to be enough.

Just recalled that meme "there are many like it, but this one is mine".

With luck I could last another few years here. Throwing myself on the kindness of relatives for help, and living day to day in the hope that I will still be able to drive the 10 mins to a shop tomorrow, but it would be a very big risk to take. Nor would it be fair on the relatives. They don't owe me anything and it would be more than selfish to expect their support long term.

I've only rattled on because many make snap decisions and stick to them about this question.
Those options of home help etc have to be investigated, they're not always easy to achieve.
It's easy to get to a doctor when you can still drive. Shopping can be done online and delivered. If you live in the right delivery zone. But don't make the decision based on that premise.

Try this practice run for a month or two.

Not walk more than a 10 to 15 yards at a time without a frame and being doped to ears on painkillers.
No driving at all.
Take half the day just to get the washing done in 5 minute bursts of energy, loading said washing one item at a time into the dryer because you can't lift more than that, remember, it's heavier when it's wet.
Spend the other half of the day just getting showered, dressed, and the basics of housework and feeding yourself done.
Approach changing bed linen as you would a trek up Mt Everest.
Have no one available to help lift or shift anything heavier than a coffee pot.
No giving the dog a bath, you can't lift into the tub, or wrestle with it getting it washed.
(That is only done by wheedling someone else to do it for you, and they are not always around and can't be summoned for something like that. Pewww. Only 'sponge' bathing it is an option. Good luck with that!)
No buying anything at all from a shop you can't stagger to. Nothing, not even a loaf of bread.
Live entirely from what's in the pantry and freezer for as long as it lasts, and then sit down and figure out your next move.
Never get a window washed, or lawns cut or carpets vacuumed. Those things are 'specials' done by people with the kindness and time and availability to accomplish, don't rely on that happening.
Don't even think about putting a full garbage bin out, rely on someone taking it with them to dispose of, in small bundles that's if anyone calls at all.
All 'bio' potentially smelly garbage must be stored in the freezer until disposal, never forget that one!
Talk to no one except by phone. (or internet)

Sounds a pretty awful way to live doesn't it? That's what it can come down to. It has for me. Not permanently, I've recovered enough to drive again but Osteoporosis means I can be laid that low again at any time. We don't all go that way, but that can happen and does to many.
Don't make set decisions about stayin' put too soon, things can change really fast.

We have to look a little into the realities of the possible future before we decide these things. We need to remain flexible about it. Things don't remain static, situations and surrounding people and support networks change. We can't rely on what is possible today being achievable in our futures. We need to examine our reasons for staying against our possible limitations in the future and at least make detailed enquiries with those possible future physical limitations well in mind. It's not a good idea to leave the decision until we are actually at the crossroads.

So.... YES, I prefer to stay, but YES I choose to move to a more suitable accommodation for my circumstances while I'm still able to make it for myself, and have some control over where I go. I can have a degree of independence but still have help nearby and more importantly, it's easily accessible. Those places don't come up for sale often, opportunity has knocked in the next best place to here and I'm grabbing it.
There is a beach where I'm going, I can look at that one from the car park, no big deal I guess. It just won't be 'my' beach. siiiiiigh.

We can't have it all.

I'll put some pics of where I'm going in the album, it's not what I want but there are plenty of worse places to end up in.

Oh dear, there's the rest of my daily rambling ration gone.


Errrr, a PS?

Just read the posts from Jilly and Anne. I've had a bit to do with aged care facilities and there's a very big difference between a Nursing home and an assisted living accommodation. Nursing homes are for the largely bedridden total write-offs.

Aged care is a step back from that, own room with TV and whatever sentimental junk you can jam into it until the staff get tired of shifting things to clean it and wash and dress you and get you down to the dining room. Only then will there be tears and a clear out.

Assisted living is a further step back, doing your own thing but with cleaning etc done for you. It also includes meals and a degree of personal care help available if needed.

Independent living in those developments is just that. You own the unit and within neighbourly guidelines can do whatever you want in it. There are no 'lights out' rules, just noise ones. It does though allow access to the same community facilities as the other levels of care. Their own bus, craft groups etc. It is a community of peer retirees and up to the individual how much social interaction they want to take within it.
It also offers the options of meals, cleaners, personal or basic casual nursing care etc on a user pays basis.
It has much lower weekly fees than the other forms of residence because those services are not included in the fees and only come into play in time of need.

As I said many have a jaundiced view of aged care due to what it was like in the past, or from the worst examples of it. They aren't all anything like that bad and there are many different levels of 'care'.
Nursing Home is a bogeyman that most never get to need. It's not a matter of being a home-owning independent individual one day and in a Nursing home the next barring a catastrophic stroke or similar. There are quite a few levels of residential options between the two for most of us.

Honest, they just aren't something to be scared of. By the time you get down to Nursing Home level I can guarantee you won't give a damn where you are.
 

rkunsaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
If I couldn't take care of myself, I sure wouldn't be able to take care of this place. I would sell the house and move to a condo or assisted living place.
 

Jackie22

New member
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Location
Northeast Texas
Wow..Diwundrin....you've put a lot of very good reasoning and thought into this. Since my husband died, I too have been thinking of the future, I decided to move into town...found a house that I liked, nice established yard, price was right, I was ready to sell out and move, until I talked to my tax man about capital gains tax....end of moving, so I'll keep trying to keep this place up as long as I can, after that I just hope my kids and grandkids will be available, but I feel the same as you about 'my house', I've put my heart and soul (never mind the money) into this place.

My mother is 93 years old and has said she wants to stay in her house as long as she can and my brother and I are doing all we can to see that she does, I just hope my children do the same.
 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
I hope they do too Jackie, not all do unfortunately. I have no kids only cousins, ("Never a mother, sister or wife, ... "), so that makes the choice a little less complicated for me I guess.

The money angle has to play a big part too. I'll have a bit of juggling to do, but the priority must remain just staying alive as long as we still want to, wherever we can do that best.
When it comes down to it the tax man won't give a toss whether you starve or not. The money you save on Capital Gains will go on paying someone else to do 'at home' what gets done for you all inclusive in a retirement set-up.
We don't pay that tax on our primary dwelling here after occupation for a set number of years, I fall a tad short so that's going to be a headache but then the gain won't be all that great as the market's down. I'll get a number cruncher to figure it all out.
It's a matter of swings and roundabouts, that's life.
 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
Looks good on paper Gdad, but try and access it in a busy area. As I mentioned, there is a waiting list to get onto the waiting list. ... and they never, ever, call you back! When you enquire how you're progressing you find that your name wasn't even entered into the data base and have to go through the whole story again, twice so far. I haven't bothered with a 3rd, I'll be moving out instead.

Just because it's there doesn't mean it works. Not for everyone that's for sure and certain.
 

Old Hipster

New member
Joined
Aug 20, 2013
Location
Undisclosed
I like most older folks would do anything to stay in our house. I'm only 61 right now and the mister will be 65 in December, so we are still youngsters. LOL

And we or I or my husband will have to face this one day, we have no children and almost no living family members. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. We will have to be able to help ourselves.

My 85 years old mom lives by herself and we help her out, but don't know how much longer she will be able to live alone.

Again we are just taking things one day at a time. My mom has 2 years of nursing home insurance, if she ever has to go to one. I hope it never happens, because they are like the Elephant Graveyards for old people.
 

GDAD

New member
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Location
Sydney....Australia
Looks good on paper Gdad, but try and access it in a busy area. As I mentioned, there is a waiting list to get onto the waiting list. ... and they never, ever, call you back! When you enquire how you're progressing you find that your name wasn't even entered into the data base and have to go through the whole story again, twice so far. I haven't bothered with a 3rd, I'll be moving out instead.

Just because it's there doesn't mean it works. Not for everyone that's for sure and certain.
TRY THIS GOTO YOUR DOCTOR HE/SHE WILL ASSESS YOU THEN ASK TO NOTIFY REGIS. , OR YOUR LOCAL CARE MANAGER.
I DON'T KNOW WHETHER REGIS IS IN COFFS, BUT YOUR DOCTOR SHOULD KNOW THE APPROPRIATE PEOPLE.

http://www.regis.com.au/about-us/additional-services/home-and-community-care/
 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
You live in the city don'tchya Gdad?

I have been that track. For results, see my post.

You can't get blood out of a stone. Despite whatever you believe Governments are doing for you the fact is that accessing the goodies they brag about is easier for city people because that's where the services are focused. The rural set ups are funded about equally, not taking into account the demographics covered in the different areas.
e.g. Singleton in the Hunter Valley has a fantastic support operation going. 'Easy as' to get all the perks and assistance there. It's a working town, in a region full of working aged people with young families who don't need aged support services, yet is funded and staffed to the same degree as the one in this region, which has a similar population number of an almost majority aged and retired demographic. There simply isn't enough to go around here. But that won't change because their voters are in the city and they don't give a tuppeny toss about those in the 'bush.'

I got that assessment thing done, just for the sake of having the paperwork. But I didn't get any paperwork. They spent 10 minutes here, scribbled some numbers and took off. 3 weeks later I had to phone them only to be told I didn't qualify for full aged care, which wasn't what I wanted anyway but... not only that, but that even had I qualified there were no vacancies for 100s of km around anyway. Oh yes, and they would post the assessment paperwork, it was an 'oversight'. 2 months later I'm still waiting for even that!

So... no community or home support within years of waiting lists, and no aged facility to go into. The lucky option of buying into an independent living unit is my only way out. How about those who can't afford to do that? Those who have no house to sell or family support either? I guess they just die quietly waiting for their paperwork in the comforting knowledge that 'help' is out there.
 

Tom Young

Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2013
Location
Illinois/Florida
Haven't to the forum for a while, but it's good to see this thread, and the open contribution from Diwundrin. So clear and honest that it begs some soul searching from our government(s).
Seems like no matter how we look at seniors (me included @78) that it mostly comes down to money. We need more solutions.

From a practical standpoint, and IMHO on a larger scale we need to address this honestly. First... I don't see any practical way to set up a program under a legal construct, so it's probably not doable under government.

As I look at the wants and needs of my own community of semi rural America, I see older people living in their homes, with just enough money to pay the bills but with no relatives or assistance. At the same time, we have a relatively high unemployment rate, and a growing number of homeless or destitute persons who are barely surviving... many honest, decent folk who have been devastated by divorce, health issues, or deeply in debt with no possibility of regaining a place in society.

Naive I'm sure, but after visiting our local shelter, know that there are many who would be devoted companions and helpers to the aged or infirm, in return for room and board... some short term, others long term. My across the streeet neighbor (who died last year at age 93, in her home), had just such a companion. A Ukrainian widow with some language barrier who traded 24/7 companionship in return for use of the home, the car, and a small allowance. When my neighbor did die, her live in helper had a choice of many other similar positions. A far cry from the hourly rate of $18/hour from the local (for profit) healthcare helper system.

No, it's not legal. Yes, there are risks. How to make it work? I don't know, but if it came to a choice, I'd try it in a minute.

How many older widows who are living on a marginal income would trade some of their time for a safe home with meals and transportation... how rarely do we hear about live in companions?

How to make something like this happen?
 
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Anne

New member
Joined
Apr 7, 2013
Good thinking, Tom; whether it's doable is what we'd have to decide for ourselves. I've read of older women who are alone, getting old friends to move in for companionship and help. Sometimes they'd pool their resources and buy a place together - but how many of us are even in touch with old friends anymore?? I know I"m not, though it does sound like it could be an ideal situation.

Some would advertise for housemates, but that's as risky as finding someone in a homeless shelter....though again, one would have to do some screening before considering that.
 

grannyjo

Active member
Joined
Nov 7, 2013
I've been fairly fortunate in having a Home Help lady come in once a fortnight Of course, I've also had a fair few problems with my health along the way, and that's why I got the Home Help, and yes I did have to wait quite a while - well over three years. I live fairly much in the same area as Diwondrin, though maybe a little closer to the town where the services emanate. Just keep trying - keep up the phone calls. I hate the idea that maybe I won't be able to increase my service - they've got so many people trying to access it.
 

Jillaroo

Demented
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Mid North Coast NSW Australia
I live in the same area as Di and i am struggling with all my injuries, my daughter has taken on her husbands 15 yr old daughter recently so doesn't have time to come and give me a hand, i need to do things in instalments due to my back giving me a lot of grief, have put on a lot of weight due to both my knees needing reconstruction or new ones, and my right ankle has no cartilage between the 3 bones so needs fusing, but as i have a shower in my bath i won't be able to have the operation as i will be off my feet for 3 months and won't be able to get into the bath to shower, so very frustrated and in the meantime things don't get done around here, i need to declutter but i am finding it very hard to do. I need a fairy to come in and wave her wand for me sigh.
 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
Didn't know you were from round here GrannyJo, you might join Jilly and I for some of those loooong lunches in Coffs.

I can't risk waiting 3 years, easier to move to where help is available at shorter notice. It's not too far, just about the same driving time from Coffs as here but a much bigger town with a better set-up for community care.
 

Katybug

New member
Joined
Aug 24, 2013
Location
Charlotte, NC
I've been alone too much, with hubby travelling - don't like it at all, but not sure what I'd do...I agree with Jillaroo; a nursing home is like 'the last stop', not much freedom, either, and not for night owls. :eek:
IF I could afford it, I'd have someone come in, or consider an assisted living place. Guess we never know for sure until we're 'there', but it's worth thinking about.
I feel the same, Anne, we don't know 'til we're there and w/Mom having Alzheimers it's something I think about all too often.
 

drifter

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 30, 2013
Location
Oklahoma
Well, damn. I'm going to have to quit feeling sorry for myself and start realizing how good I have it.
 

Bonnie

.. and Lil'Bear
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Location
Texas
I live in the same area as Di and i am struggling with all my injuries, my daughter has taken on her husbands 15 yr old daughter recently so doesn't have time to come and give me a hand, i need to do things in instalments due to my back giving me a lot of grief, have put on a lot of weight due to both my knees needing reconstruction or new ones, and my right ankle has no cartilage between the 3 bones so needs fusing, but as i have a shower in my bath i won't be able to have the operation as i will be off my feet for 3 months and won't be able to get into the bath to shower, so very frustrated and in the meantime things don't get done around here, i need to declutter but i am finding it very hard to do. I need a fairy to come in and wave her wand for me sigh.

So, so sorry to hear what you are going through Jill. Hope your Fairy Godmother shows up soon. :girl_hug:


Didn't know you were from round here GrannyJo, you might join Jilly and I for some of those loooong lunches in Coffs.
Those must be some fun lunches Di! ... wish I lived near you.. I would invite myself .:yeah:
 

SifuPhil

Resident Nutcase
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Location
Pennsylvania, USA
I'm still at the age and in the physical condition that I find it hard to envision myself being helpless, but I know that day will come.

Thing is, I don't have the funding for either a nursing home or a home-visit so I'll be making an intimate relationship with a refrigerator box. That's one of the reasons I want to get to Florida - at least a box on the beach will be warmer than one in Pennsylvania. :playful:
 

grannyjo

Active member
Joined
Nov 7, 2013
Hi Diwundrin, You can usually find me at the op shop in Murdoch Street in Coffs on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I'm the library person there. Keep it up so I have some interaction with people. Sometimes I find it exhausting, but I'm there with a smile and ready for a chat.
 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
OMG, a friend in an op shop, it's every hoarder's dream come true.

Jilly and I should open one of our own, we're already well stocked up.
I've probably been in yours Jo, trawled the op shops along there and bought more 'junk' than I should have.

While I think of it.....

A point for those who want to stay put, de clutter while you're still feeling up to it. Many make a decision to hang on too long in a place because they have reached the stage where their possessions possess them.

Parting with what are sentimental treasures can be just too hard to do when we are feeling at the end of our tether. The energy of caring for them is a drain on us but it can still seem easier to stay with them than to live without them.

You can live without them. If they are more important than your own well being then you don't own them, they own you. You have become the curator of a private museum full of exhibits of your own history that no one else is interested in seeing at all and is to their perspective, just old junk.
If something is a family heirloom, pass it on early to someone who wants it, is better able to care for it, and sees it as you do.
If no one wants it then it's 'junk' and they will treat it as such.

Better you say goodbye to the sentimental treasures at leisure and by choice than see someone come in and throw them all into garbage bags or rubbish skips, to 'help' out with making housework easier for you when you crash.
It's a really bad thing to happen and I've seen it devastate people. It did me too, and it was only a fraction of the junk I've accumulated.

Wanting to stay put and being able to do that depends a lot on how much work we have made for ourselves in maintaining our independent lifestyles.

Sort out what's sentimental, that's the hardest to be rid of. A memento of a person, if it's small, keep it, if it's big, take a photo of it to look at, and send the item on to an op shop or ebay, or an auction room if it's valuable.
Granpa's grand piano won't fit in an aged care unit if it ever comes to that so it has to go someday. It's also not something that a community care worker will be willing to keep looking spiffy if we're lucky enough to stay in our homes until we snuff it.
Grandpa's pipe or specs though is an easily kept memento and all the reminder of him we need. Easier to keep dusted too.

They won't mind that we chuck it out, they don't know anything about it and no matter how important it was to them, or how much 'a part' of them, they sure don't need it now and they won't be back to claim it. Nor would they expect you to burden yourself with it. You don't owe them that just remembering them is sufficient.

Stuff we've 'collected' just because it seemed a good idea at the time is easier to part with. Once we've sorted the different types it's easier to choose what takes up our space, effort and time.

...well that's how the theory goes.


Just a tip from someone who has done it all wrong, kept everything, and is now drowning in other people's memorabilia and 'must have' bits of junk. Sentiment is all in the head and we need to get our heads around it's priority .... siiiiigh. I'll let you know how I go with that.
 

Jillaroo

Demented
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Mid North Coast NSW Australia
OMG i am in the same boat Di, i have been trying to declutter for ages but my ailments won't let me, i have sold a few items on Gumtree but i still have heaps to plough through, my backroom is chockers full and i have enough Tupperware to open a shop plus i can hardly get in that room, again where's the good fairy when you need her.

 

Diwundrin

New member
Joined
Jul 9, 2013
Location
Nth Coast NSW Australia
Careful what you wish for Jilly, some of my more treasured items were chucked out by the 'help fairies' who valued only useful things. Believe me they won't spare your feelings or share your value of anything.

If you judge it all junk then phone the Salvos who often have a truck to send out to pick up good enough recyclable treasures for their op shops. Others probably have the same arrangement. I sent two full van loads of furniture, and assorted ornaments, tools and stuff to the Singleton one and you've seen how many boxes of similar junk I still have.

I was kidding myself that I could sell it on eBay, or do a garage sale or something, but without a lot of organization and physical help the garage sale is out of the question, and unless we want to be slaves to the P.O. and go to the effort of shipping items that we're only making a dollar out of it's worth taking 'a loss' just to be free of it.
 


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