One of us is going to have The Conversation tonight to ask Her Elder to seriously consider moving into assisted living, at least for the winter.
It was a weekend of panic attacks and crying and wanting to hide under the covers, after going to his house to find zero groceries, untouched food she had cooked from well over a week ago, and then, cooking the one salmon filet he’d bought only to find it had really gone off. It was a final straw. He was existing on mini-Hershey bars from Halloween. And bourbon. And naps.
When your writer pulled up Her Elder was stuck in the driveway with the car door open unable to get out of the driver’s seat . He’d just gone to physical therapy, but somehow couldn’t extricate himself from the car. He’d also been cat-sitting, but had forgotten to give the cat any water.
So after a sibling powwow and a visit to the nursing home he’d spent time at … we found a great room, open, furnished, lovely. He’d just visited friends for dinner there last week and told staff he was “lonely.” But the idea of moving is somehow akin to giving up – even tho your writer would happily move in herself and work on a book in the sunny, terraced suite while the staff does all the very good cooking. What’s not to like? “It doesn’t take Medicare,” he’d grumbled before. Well, we knew that. No assisted living places do – unless you’re discharged there after a hospitalization, and then only for 90 days. Aren’t you glad you’re reading this cheery post?
This writer has been googling “How Do I Tell My Parent They Need To Go To a Nursing Home?” and finding some poor results. Because you can’t force him … and there isn’t a good conversation template for what happens when he resists.
So our argument (or, persuasive language …) will be that 1) It’s winter and not safe to drive, and in Washington even a whisper of snow shuts down everything, and a half-inch becomes a sheet-rock of ice pretty quickly here. 2) It’s better to choose where you want to be, than to end up wherever you can find with a room open if you have an accident or injury and can’t live at home. 3) Not eating and not seeing anyone is making him much weaker, and he can’t get a new pacemaker procedure if he isn’t healthy enough. 4) The unannounced road trip through Iowa and MN was a real indication of problems with judgment, and deeply unsafe. To say nothing of losing the car the week before, or losing now two I-phones. And 5) he can still keep his house and return to do his paperwork and errands there – it’s a five minute taxi ride.
Would any of those reasons convince you? Probably not. But they’re the best we have.
Wish us luck. The daughters are doing this together over dinner. This is not a happy conversation. But he’d be happier around people and we’d be happier knowing someone – including lots of nurses – is always looking out for him.