Saturday, April 30, 2011


I enjoyed visiting my hospice patient, but she has just 'graduated' from hospice care. There are two ways to leave hospice care, get better or reach the end. So far, more of my patients have gotten better than died, but you have to be prepared for anything. In my trips to see those various patients, I've been quite interested to note both the differences in the places where the elderly are being placed, and the people surrounding them.

I've found there are as many different family homes and assisted living facilities as leaves on a tree, even though they fall under a particular heading. Some are bustling and lively, some are luxurious, some are homely, some are dingy and worn-out, some just seem like a hospital. I think its the last that I dislike the most. When I was looking for a place for Dad, there were several facilities that just might as well have called themselves hospitals, that's what they looked like. Only the barest effort was made to make them seem at all homelike. I avoided those places like the plague, and fortunately I could, as Dad had enough money to be able to pick and choose his home. I feel for all those people who have no choice but to place their parents in a cheaper, hospital-like facility.

The last place I visited was quite luxurious-like many, it combined regular assisted and retirement living with a wing for those with memory issues. There was a deluxe dining room, a chapel, a spa and a library-it was obviously the kind of place that needed money, and probably a long waiting list to get into. The memory wing was only one floor, comfortable appointed like the rest of the floors, but obviously prepared for heavy-duty use. No matter how expensive, it's still a locked ward-luckily it just doesn't smell like a hospital.

I just find it interesting, the growing number of places we're opening as places to put those no longer functioning as members of society. There are probably more adult family homes in your own neighborhood than you're even aware of. And I find it interesting what money will buy. I'm lucky I could pick and choose for Dad and not everyone can do that. Is there a way to make it more fair, I wonder, to homogenize these homes so everyone experiences the same comforts and care? And would we want to if we could?

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