Protect yourself and your loved ones

Assisted Living Planning

Assisted Living: A Mixture of Compassionate Care and Independence

Finding the perfect assisted living option can feel overwhelming, but consider it a step towards a blend of independence and supportive care that benefits you or your loved one.

Let’s unravel what assisted living really means, its purpose, and the types of services it offers to make daily life more joyful and less burdensome.

What is Assisted Living?

Imagine a place that feels like home but comes with a little extra help when you need it. Assisted living is exactly that—a living arrangement designed for those who value their independence but could use a hand with day-to-day activities. It’s a beautiful balance, offering personal space in a setting that’s as close to “home” as possible, with the added peace of mind that assistance is just a call away.

Your loved ones can move in their own furniture and have their momentos, photos, and other comfort items. Most AL homes allow small pets but they don’t take care of them for you.  Just sayin – you gotta walk the dog and clean the litter box.

Services that Warm the Heart 

(See my story below)

Assisted living comes with a spectrum of services designed to lighten your daily load while enriching your life with social opportunities. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect:

  • Meal Preparation: Nutritious, chef-prepared meals that cater to dietary needs and preferences, shared in the company of friends.  Most apartments have mini-kitchens if you prefer your own menu.  Usually a microwave and mini-fridge.
  • Housekeeping: Say goodbye to the worries of home maintenance and cleaning, giving you more time to enjoy your hobbies and interests.  There are rules about garbage and pet care.
  • Medication Management: Professional staff ensure your health remains top priority, managing your medications eliminating dosage errors.  This can require additional costs.
  • Personal Care: Assistance with daily activities like dressing, bathing, and grooming, provided with dignity and respect. Some of these services are offered ala-carte.  Be sure to ask when you first visit and take a tour.
  • Social Activities: A calendar brimming with events, classes, and outings to keep you engaged, active, and connected with a community of peers.
  • Freedom: Of course, you are free to continue your present favorite activities without leaving them behind. You can have your car (or Uber) and be free as a teenager.  LOL

A Warm Welcome Awaits

Assisted living isn’t just about the support services—it’s about a community where you can enjoy your independence, make new friends, and live your life knowing that help is available whenever you need it.

It’s a place to continue writing your story, surrounded by support every step of the way.

Many seniors find they become more healthy and most facilities are way more fun than being home alone.

Visit Resource page for more information about AL




My experience with Mom and Dad –

Assisted Living meets Aid & Attendance

2010-2011. Mom and Dad became Snowbirds

I moved my parents from northern Minnesota to San Antonio to an apartment shared by the three of us.  We were in a 2 bedroom/2bath unit.

We stayed from November to April (no snow or freezing temps in TX) which was necessary since my dad was using a walker and still recovering from knee replacement and some small strokes resulting from knee preplacement surgery the previous March. He had been hospitalized in the VA Minneapolis hospital until June. He was 83 years old.

My mom, age 81, was able to care for her personal needs but not do housework. Before this she had experienced a few TIAs (Transient Ischemic Attack) also called mini-strokes.  Not life-threatening and no need for medical care.  Mom had a few TIAs during this winter as well but I knew what to expect and how to decide if she needed medical attention. Thankfully she was fine throughout the winter.

During this stay we had loving support from my youngest brother and his wife who is a terrific RN.  She was our go-to med support.  And, she knew the best doctors for Mom.

I didn’t know it at the time but that winter was a dress-rehearsal for the years to come.  

2014. MN to TX again.

On the 9th of September my dad was hospitalized with a broken femur.  After surgery and 6 week of PT I moved them back to San Antonio from MN to an assisted living apartment.  It was beautiful and very accomodating.  They had a one bedroom unit with a very large bathroom designed for handicapped people.  Dad needed showering/shaving/toilet assistance.

They had three terrific meals a day in a very posh dining room that had a menu for two daily specials and several ala carte options (if they didn’t like the specials).

There was a chapel, library, activity/game room which offered several programs to keep fit including chair exercises.  The patio was wonderful and the AL home hosted holiday get-togethers for residents and their families.

The AL home brought in  musical entertainment of all kinds several times a month.

They also had outings to Target, Walmart, etc. as well as to concerts, live theater, museums, and a Christmas Lights Bus Tour.  You name it, they had it.

During this time Dad started to have symptoms of dementia and needed more nursing care. He was able to move to another building which was within walking distance for Mom (across the parking lot via sidewalk). Or, the staff would take her over in a golf cart.  She could stay as long as she wanted to and have meals with him too.

*Be aware that AL homes do not usually offer transitional care for dementia patients.

2015 – April thru July

Mom and Dad insisted on going back to Minnesota.  I had sold their house on the Canadian border and I was living in St. Paul temporarily.

I moved them to assisted living facilities near me.  The first was not a good experience for many reasons which I won’t expand on here.  The second AL was really nice but their apartment was very tiny and uncomfortable.

I am including this info to let you know that the tours and the amenities aren’t always what they appear.  Do your homework!

2015-Back to San Antonio

We were lucky enough to get them back to the AL home they were in earlier as I described above.  But Mom had to have a studio apartment which she hated.  She loved the ALF but really wanted a bedroom.

Dad needed more memory care by this time so he was back in the Memory Cottage. But having them both there in separate living quarters became too expensive.

2015-End of August

I moved Dad to a beautiful Veterans’ Home in Floresille TX.  It is owned by the Texas Land Board not the Veterans’ Admin.  This is where Aid & Assistance really came to the rescue.  He was awarded increased benefits for this care. It took a while to get the application completed correctly (visit VA Benefits page). I found great help at the Audie Murphy SA VA hospital in the community services office.

I won’t sugar-coat the A&A process.  It was frustrating but with their help Dad got financial assistance to pay for the Vet Home.  He was there until he peacefully passed in January 2017 at the age of 89 years, 10 months, and 10 days.

Mom and I got a gorgeous apartment next to the Vet Home so I cared for her and continued to handle their finances, transportation, doctor visits, shopping, etc.

And I got a pool!

In June of 2016 Mom had quad-bypass heart surgery. She was 87.  After her 30 days post-operative care in a nursing home for physical therapy had run out, she was able to move into the same Vet Home for care.  She was there for another 30 days.  This was also paid by A&A.

  During that time she could be with Dad during the day as he was in a locked section due to his dementia.  He was considered an “eloper” since he tried to take a trip to South Dakota in his wheel chair the second day he was there.  He had never been to SD.

Mom’s stay resulted in her becoming a volunteer after her recovery. She called Bingo and helped with the ice cream cart on Tuesdays.  It was a blessing for Mom to feel wanted and productive.  Mom was a very social person and loved all people.  She called the guys her “boyfriends”.

The residents loved her hugs and wanted to know “who’s going to hug us?” after she passed in June 2018.  There is a framed poem called “Hugs” hanging in the activity room in her memory. She was 89, 1 month, 2 days old.

This is how the website was born.  I am very passionate about senior care and end-of-life planning for everyone.

 

Sidebar:  I have four brothers and a sister.  All younger than I.  I can’t express enough how grateful I was during this time, and to this day, for the support and love they gave me and our parents.

I love you and your families more than all the words in all the books in all the world —    Paul, Mark, Melanie, Russ and Don.