Protect yourself and your loved ones

Assisted Living/My Story

Assisted Living: A Mixture of Compassionate Care, Safety, 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 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 furniture and have their mementos, photos, and other comfort items. Most AL homes allow small pets but they don’t take care of them for you.  Just saying – you gotta walk the dog and clean the litter box.

Assisted Living Services 

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 ensures your health remains a top priority, managing your medications and 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 provided 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 safe place for your loved ones.

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

Not surprisingly, many seniors find they become more healthy and most facilities are way more fun than being home alone.

Visit the Resource page for more information about Assisted Living

My experience with Mom and Dad –

I am sharing my story with the hope, dear readers, you will understand that Aging Takes Planning.

2010-2011. Mom and Dad became Snowbirds

After Dad, age 83, had a series of strokes stemming from knee replacement surgery in March, the siblings and I moved our parents from northern Minnesota to San Antonio.  The apartment was a 2 bedroom/2bath unit on ground level. I moved in with them.

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 Attacks) also called mini-strokes.  Basically, not life-threatening and do not need 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.  The VA hospital in San Antonio was excellent for Dad’s continued recovery.

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.

Back in MN-On the 9th of September my dad was hospitalized with a broken femur.  After surgery and 6 weeks of PT, I moved them back to San Antonio from MN to a beautiful and very accommodating assisted living apartment. They had a very large handicap-accessible bathroom, Dad needed showering/shaving/toilet assistance. Also a large bedroom and a lovely living/kitchen area.

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, beauty/barber shop, library, and activity/game room which offered several programs to keep fit including chair exercises.  Additionally, the patio was wonderful and the AL home hosted holiday or special occasion get-togethers for residents and their families.

The AL home brought in musical entertainment of all kinds several times a month. For example: country music bands, school choirs, karaoke with a DJ, single performers, etc. Especially, a home favorite was Reuben who changed costumes as he performed single artists’ songs.  Imagine Elvis, Cher, and Elton. He did costume/music shows for every holiday too.

They also had weekly 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.

2015 – April thru July

Mom and Dad insisted on going back to Minnesota.  Their house had been sold, therefore, I moved them to a home near me in St. Paul.

Unfortunately, the first ALF was not a good experience for many reasons which I won’t expand on here.  Subsequently, the second AL was nice but their apartment was very tiny and uncomfortable.

Thereupon, the lesson learned was 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 their previous San Antonio AL home.

During this time Dad started to have symptoms of dementia and needed more nursing care. Therefore, he was moved to another building called The Memory Cottage.  Thankfully, it was within walking distance for Mom (across the parking lot via the 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.

All these changes required that Mom have a studio apartment which she hated. Overall she loved the ALF but missed having a bedroom.  She kept busy during the day but evenings were lonely.

Consequently having them both there in separate living quarters became too expensive and very hard on Mom.

2015-End of August to June 2018

We 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 came to the rescue. Whereas it took a while to get the application completed correctly (visit the VA Benefits page), he was awarded increased benefits for this care.

I won’t sugar-coat the A&A process.  I found great help at the Audie Murphy San Antonio VA hospital in the Community Services office.  Yes, it was frustrating but with their help, Dad got financial assistance to pay for the Vet Home.

During his stay Mom could be with Dad during the day although 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 wheelchair the second day he was there.  He had never been to SD.

 Mom and I found a gorgeous apartment next to the Vet Home. I was very blessed to care for her and continue to handle  finances, transportation, doctor visits, shopping, etc.  It was a great solution for both of us…

Celebration – I got a pool!! Which was enjoyed by my grandson as well.

In June of 2016, Mom had quad-bypass heart surgery. She was 87.  After her 30 days of Medicare-paid post-operative care in a nursing home for physical therapy had run out, she was able to move into Dad’s Vet Home for additional care.    Thankfully, an additional 30 days of therapy with a room was also paid for by A&A.

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”.

Dad peacefully passed in January 2017 at the age of 89 years, 10 months, and 10 days.  He left the Home with his body draped with our American Flag. The staff and fellow brave veterans lined the halls honoring his service and his passing.  Taps was played.

We stayed in the apartment until Mom was diagnosed with cancer in May 2018. Thankfully, she had fabulous Hospice Care to help me through her last two months. We were grateful that her passing was peaceful and comfortable thanks to their gentle care.  She was 89 years, 1 month, 2 days old.

Back at the Veterans’ home the residents who loved her hugs wanted to know “Who’s going to hug us?” There is a framed poem called “Hugs” hanging in the activity room in her memory.

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

THE FAMILY:  I have four brothers and a sister.  All younger than I.  To conclude, 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.

Paul, Mark, Melanie, Russ and Don

I love you and your families more than all the words in all the books in all the world —