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A Simple Assessment May Solve Your Senior Living Problem

I was contacted by a therapist to provide an assessment of one of his senior clients. When I spoke with the senior’s son, he told me that his mother was receiving terrible care at an assisted living community. He claimed that the care that had been promised had not been delivered and his mother’s apartment was not being kept clean. I set up an appointment to meet the son and his mother in person to evaluate the situation.

The woman met us at the door of her apartment thoroughly unkempt – clad only in a shirt and a diaper that was falling off. I observed a terrible rash down the back of her legs. She told us to sit down while she finished dressing. The apartment was a mess with boxes of sugary snacks and drinks crowding the small counter of the kitchenette. An odor of urine and feces permeated the air. A chair appeared to be nearly obliterated. While we waited, the son informed me that his mother was diabetic and was not attending any communal meals in the facility. Instead, she was ordering unhealthy grocery deliveries to the apartment and eating in the room. She also had serious issues with incontinence.

The senior emerged 25 minutes later. During my conversation with her, I found out that she was a college educated professional and had been involved in the teaching profession. I asked her if she was getting the care she expected in the community, and she admitted to me that she wasn’t going along with the program. She was honest in admitting she had too much pride with having the caregivers help her and was turning them away when they came to shower her and help her toilet. She admitted to me that she could not feel a bowel movement coming, thus the bad condition of the chair. In addition, she said she wasn’t attending communal meals because, in her words, the other residents were “snotty.”

As always, there are at least two sides to every story. The senior told me she was suffering from a feeling of loss of independence. Yet, her son had told me that she was receiving terrible care. I wanted to hear from a member of the nursing staff what their side of the story was.

Upon meeting with the director of nursing, it was confirmed that the senior was refusing all care. The nursing director assured me that she and staff members had spoken with the senior about the bad diet that was causing her glucose to spike. They were also providing additional cleaning of the apartment and were trying to get rid of the soiled chair. Although the caregivers had tried to help the senior to bathe and toilet, she refused to let them help. The nursing director also told me that other residents at the community were very friendly but were repulsed by the woman’s lack of cleanliness. The bottom line was that if the senior continued to refuse help, they would have to dismiss her and recommend placement in a nursing home.

During my conversation with the nursing director, I found out that the problematic resident had a nurse practitioner, a wound care nurse, a primary care physician, and the staff members of the community involved with her care. That is a lot of information to keep organized. Since the son was working full time, I recommended to him that I step in as the liaison between all of the professionals providing his mother’s care. I also recommended that she see a geriatrician, which is a doctor who specializes in care for the elderly. I felt that the causes with incontinence needed to be addressed by a specialist. I also recommended a geriatric psychiatrist to address proactively the senior’s feelings of loss and her non-compliance with the recommended care plan. Hopefully, I have deterred her compulsory move to a nursing home if my suggestions are followed. Stay tuned!

Do you need a second opinion? Let Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors help. Call us at (708) 415-2934 or email us. Please visit our website. Please watch my video to learn how the process works and learn what some clients have to say.

Andrea Donovan Senior Living Advisors
1497 Shire Circle
Inverness, IL 60067
Cell: 708.415.2934