I worked with the adult child of an elderly couple who lived out of state. Their ages were in the late 80’s and mid-90’s. nineties. One parent had recovered from lung cancer surgery and was operating at 85% of normal capacity. The other parent had a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and was expected to decline rapidly in the upcoming over the next 6 months. Upon meeting the parents, I was delighted to find two happy seniors who were functioning (at this point) at the independent living level. However, the parent with Lou Gehrig’s disease needed to use a feeding tube at mealtimes (and mealtimes only). The parent was taking care of the feeding tube with no assistance. Otherwise, the parent walked freely without it.
At the request of the couple’s child, I completed a comparison of every Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) near the northwest side of Chicago, and the western suburbs of Chicago, with my client’s the child’s wish being that mom and dad they would be admitted to independent living. The problem I ran into was since independent living is unlicensed, the only help the couple could obtain in an emergency would be to call to 911. They were not in need of any of the services provided in assisted living. Since maintenance of a feeding tube is a skilled service, it could not be taken care of in an area that was licensed for assisted living. Last, none of the skilled nursing homes within the CCRCs could provide a ventilator, which was a service the parent may need down the road.
So, what did I do? I knew the child of the seniors owned a condominium right in the midst of downtown Chicago where mom and dad they could attend the plays they so deeply loved, as well as enjoy a lovely view of the Chicago skyline. I suggested that the child hire me as the parents’ Geriatric Care Manager and move them to the condo downtown. I would arrange for a housekeeper, licensed non-medical home care agency and eventually a medical home care agency (nurse) to take care of their needs as their health declined. Since the funds were available, in this case, staying “home” made sense.
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