Life Lessons and Roadmaps

My mother came from a well-to-do family…she rarely had to make a decision for herself, and when she did, she didn’t have the confidence or wherewithal to make a sound informed decision. After a series of poor marriages, spending her inheritance and saving nothing, she found herself alone and without a plan. A good friend of mine (Gary!) often says “the time for a roadmap is before you need it”…so true.

When this day came, my brother and I scrambled to find Mom another place to live, as she could not afford her current apartment. Luckily, we found her a roommate in the complex in which she was living - a very nice woman named Donna. Fast forward 3 months and Mom is losing her memory, diagnosed with dementia. Donna did not sign up to be a caretaker so she needed Mom to move out when we could find her another place (understandably). This all came about over the Christmas holiday when I was home in Florida. Once again, my brother and I were scrambling to find a solution. We moved Mom into my brother’s home as a short-term solution, and had many heart wrenching talks over what our future plan would be for Mom.

I don’t want to be dramatic, but the next part of this story is nothing short of a miracle for my brother and me. A friend of mine told me about a service she had heard of from an ad on TV, called “A Place for Mom”. This company deems itself “Senior Living Experts”. My first Monday back in Scottsdale I went to their website and entered my information, and I received a call within 5 minutes of pressing enter. The woman I spoke with gathered details of the situation and put me in touch immediately (I really mean that – she conferenced the next person into the call) with a caseworker in Pinellas county, FL who is an expert in assisted living facilities in that area. We spoke for about 30 minutes – she needed to know price-point, whether Mom could share a room if needed, etc. After we finished speaking, she sent me an email (maybe 30 minutes later) of three appropriate facilities within our price-point, including contact information. Each facility reached out to me – I did not even have to call them – and my brother went that Monday with Mom to look at all three. We settled on one of them and signed paperwork the NEXT DAY! The service was unbelievable. Each person I spoke with was knowledgeable, very sympathetic, and most important, appreciated the urgency of the situation.

I tell you this story because placing a loved one in a home can be devastating and unimaginably overwhelming. I have spoken with some of you about my experience and many of you have gone through something similar; I imagine the majority of us would have to face this situation eventually. “A Place for Mom” was a true blessing for us in a very dark moment. Our mom is now in a home where she receives three hot meals a day and her medications are doled out so there is no chance of forgetting. There are games and outdoor activities and she has transportation to doctor appointments as well. Best of all, she is happy and feels safe.

I hope this information can be of help, but most of all I hope you never need it! I want to circle around to the first paragraph again…we all need a plan…the time for a roadmap is before it is needed. My brother and I both purchased long-term care policies last year - there is nothing like a true-life lesson to clarify that need.

A Place for Mom

-Kelly Hughes, February 2020