Major Home Renovation and Excellent Home Care Enable and 82 Year-Old Woman to Return Home froma Nursing Facility

I received a call from Neil. He told me his 82 year old aunt was in a nursing home and since she had no other family he wanted to know if he could do anything to help her. He explained that she had always lived alone and still had her apartment. Because Neil lived in another state he had not seen her in many years and only kept in touch through yearly holiday cards. The nursing home had gotten his name from the client, Sandra because they needed financial documents to apply for Medicaid for payment.

I saw Sandra in the nursing home. She was alert but quite agitated that she was not allowed to get out of her wheelchair. When she did try to get out of the wheelchair a loud alarm went off and startled her. The nurses told me this precaution was necessary since she was at risk for falls.

Sandra was socially isolated; she did not have a peer she could speak with since the other residents were not capable of holding a conversation. Sandra was obviously quite intelligent. She told me she had earned a Masters Degree from the University of Chicago and had worked her entire adult life for a very large corporation. She was not happy in the nursing home but felt like her life had become unmanageable and this was the only place she could live. I spoke at length to her about the possibility of returning home with home care. She was skeptical and fearful. However we made a good connection and she was willing to allow me to go and see her apartment to investigate the feasibility of her going home.

When I went into her apartment I was shocked. The walls were black with dirt. The bed was covered with miscellaneous articles, meaning Sandra must have been sleeping on the broken sofa. Clothing and papers littered the floor. It was just about the worst apartment I had ever seen.

Through consultation with Neil and Sandra I had the apartment cleaned. It needed renovation since it had not been painted in at least 25 years and all the fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom were broken. Once everything was cleaned, fixed and painted I purchased furniture and other household items. Within two months Sandras apartment was ready to receive her. I found a private aide that I thought would be a good fit and I brought the aide to the nursing home to meet Sandra. Sandra was still afraid to go home but once she spent sometime with the aide she felt it was worth a try.

Sandra could hardly recognize her apartment but she was very pleased with the changes. After spending months in the nursing home in a wheelchair she was weak and needed physical therapy to regain her strength. With daily exercise and an increased amount of walking Sandra was able to walk in her apartment and for short walks in her neighborhood. This was over 5 years ago today, Sandra is still in her own apartment where she is happy.

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