Social Question

Aster's avatar

Is it normal to move to assisted living the day after your spouse dies?

Asked by Aster (19301points) 2 weeks ago

My good friend was shopping and driving when her husband was dying at home with cancer for less than a year. The day after he died in bed her son arranged for her to move to a nice assisted living place forty five minutes from her house. Now she is paying for what amounts to an efficiency apartment. Her house was three thousand sq feet. She has not stepped foot in it since.
Is this normal to you?

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33 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I don’t know the situation. I don’t know her age. I don’t know how your friend is reacting to her husband’s death. Things like that can really knock old people off their rocker. Is she finding it hard to function? Maybe that was the agreement between your friend and her son. Maybe that’s what she wanted. 3,000 sq feet is a LOT of house for one old person.

kritiper's avatar

I would say no. My mother lived in her house for five years after my dad passed away.

janbb's avatar

There is no normal. Is it working for her or is it a problem that she is not in her house?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

How does she feel about it?

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe it was already planned out. Then it would be normal for them. Each situation is different.

Where I live part of estate planning is also investigating where you want to live if you need to go to an assisted living of some sort. If you investigate ahead of time you get to pick the place you like best, and your children don’t have the burden of deciding for you.

If she is in assisted living, and not independent living, then I am thinking she needed help in her daily life, so it was either she go to a facility or have help come to her house.

jca2's avatar

What is “normal?”

Maybe when her husband was dying at home for a year, they had an aide come in who took care of both of them. Who knows? Maybe she’s depressed now and needs to be around people and activities, instead of sitting in the house by herself. Many elderly people couldn’t handle a 3,000 square foot house without some help. It needs to be cleaned, she needs to do laundry which might mean lugging baskets up and down stairs. It sounds like a lot for an elderly woman who is now living alone.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@Aster…could you answer our questions please?

canidmajor's avatar

Like @janbb says, there is no normal. Maybe this had been planned for a long time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It seems rather abrupt, check on her to get peace if you’re concerned. No harm in that.

Inspired_2write's avatar

It could be that she had already processed the Grief with a Cancer counselor ( grief).

Some go through the grieving process while the other is still alive .

Maybe its too painful for her to live without him in their house that they shared together for many years.

Maybe she had excellent Professional counselling to help her to move on and take care of herself?

She is doing the best that she can for her life.

Give her credit for taking responsibility for her own welfare.

She probably doesn’t want to be a burden to her adult children, since she knows how that felt for years?

This women is showing a brave face, help her when you can?

mazingerz88's avatar

Sometimes widows in their senior years would rather stay in the same home they shared with their dearly departed for decades. If that’s what she wants and she has money to hire caregivers and can advocate for herself then there should be no reason why she would end up in an assisted living facility.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I wish @Aster would come back and clear up some of this for us.

LostInParadise's avatar

The timing was abrupt, but I do not see anything unusual about wanting to live in a group setting after her husband died.

kritiper's avatar

We moved Mom to an assisted care center after we were told by medical pros that she could no longer take care of herself properly. The cost was $2800 per month. Mom lost so much of her independence, and the place was really nice, but like a resort prison with a locked main door that one needed to know the code for to get in. And her room was small compared to the house she lived in with Dad.
I would not like to have my life turned upside down so quickly, after losing a spouse, and thrown in with strangers, no matter how nice the new place is. The act of doing so to a loved one seems so cold…

Dutchess_III's avatar

Again @kritiper, we have absolutely NO details about how this came to be. We know nothing about the older lady, nothing about her family. For all we know, it was planned months in advance.

kritiper's avatar

@Dutchess_III This info was meant for the OP and anyone who wasn’t familiar with what can happen, what the lady in question may or may not have wanted. You mustn’t assume she/the family knows all there is, or that what I say has no meaning or usefulness whatsoever.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But you made a judgement call when you said, …The act of doing so to a loved one seems so cold…” You can’t make that kind of judgement without all the facts.

I’ll tell you who is cold, and that was my sister. My mom got a wild hare to move back to Washington again. She had moved there when I was just 19, and didn’t come back until I was 35, in 1995.
A few years later she had Alzheimers and she wanted to go “home.” She dreamed of a little house with a little garden. I tried to tell her that she would be going to a place like where she lived now and she became extremely upset. She accused me of just trying to make her feel bad because I was mean, so I shut up.
So, my sister and I fly her up. My sister walked several feet in front of us, not wanting the have anything to do with either of us, while I struggled with Mom and a carry on bag full of her framed paintings.
So we get to Washington. We’re with a whole bunch of family at my my aunt and uncle’s house. Mom had already gone to bed.
So my sister, who is always in charge, always on top of things, brightly says, “So! The plan tomorrow is to drop Mom off at the home, then we go to the space needle and the Pike’s Place market!”
The room went dead silent.
My sister can be such an asshole in her desperate attempt to prove that she is the most controlled, intelligent person in the room. I screamed into a pillow, and beat on the bed.

As for me, I spent hours with Mom that next day. When we finally got back to the house I locked myself in a room and cried as hard as I have ever cried.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

* I screamed into a pillow, and beat on the bed. * was misplaced. It should be at.the end of that achingly, heart shattering long I locked myself away and screamed.
My sister got back from sight seeing soon after that.

kritiper's avatar

I can make that judgment call based on my own experience with my mother.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I went through the same thing with my mother, but it would be foolish to assume that all cases are just like my mom’s.
We had no choice tho. She wasn’t able to drive or shop or cook.for herself.
From the OPs description that is not the case with her friend.

kritiper's avatar

It would be foolish to assume that all cases are NOT like your mom’s. Or mine.
But I think the OP can decide for herself if anything said here is of value or not. That’s why I posted my views. No need for you, @Dutchess_lll , to moderate, edit, or censor.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

That made no sense @kritiper. Every case is unique.

I am begging Aster to come answer questions. I’m sending her a message.

Aster's avatar

@Dutchess_III I’m here. She had no counseling. Her son and wife flew down to move some nice pieces to the assisted living place to make it seem more like home. She hated the thought of ever stepping foot in her house since her husband died in there but she hates the assisted living place. She says it’s too small after such a large house. And most of all a family member or more came in and made off with most of her shoes , clothes and many other things. She has broken off all contact with them.
Her friends found the place and asked her son to go look at it; it is one of the nicest in town. I think she is in denial about driving. Her husband’s car is baking out in the parking lot, she’ll mention driving somewhere but never has. Before he died she did have a couple fender benders. I don’t know how else she would have had a place to stay. Her son only had a few days down here then had to fly back up north to work. She doesn’t know who has her money ; she has no checking account and, if I try and explain how to get one she becomes upset. Her son is mailing checks down here for her “rent.” She got a new kitten she loves. It is very similar to @kritiper ‘s story. Her friends found the place, her son mails the check and she doesn’t even know where her husband’s grave is. Why? Because he daughter, wanting her to stop crying for the elaborate funeral , gave her two Lorazepams beforehand . It wiped out her memory. She doesn’t even recall the cemetery or if he has a headstone. I told her when her son comes down on Friday to ask him to drive her to the gravesite .

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Aster That is sad to hear.

If he is her POA or trustee, etc…then it makes sense, although your paragraphs almost sound abusive…yikes.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Why is he mailing checks for her rent? Why doesn’t he just pay the rent over the phone? Sounds like she is in no condition to be living on her own. Since she refused to go.back to the house what else was there to do besides move her.out?
It must be so hard for everyone.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_lll What does it matter how he’s paying her fees? He’s not mailing them to her by the sound of it.

It does sound like a hard situation for all.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

He’s mailing her a check. From that I assume it’s up to her to get it to whomever she pays rent to…..wait. Aster said hes mailing checks “down there.” She Didn’t say who he’s mailing them to.
Sounds likeba hassle to me.

janbb's avatar

It sounded to me from @Aster‘s description that her son pays her fee to the managers; it doesn’t say he is sending it to her. It sounds like she is incapacitated by life and wouldn’t be happy anywhere right now.

Maybe the best thing a friend can do is help her to get acclimated to her new place. Some times there is a settling in period.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

When I reread it I realize that was probably what she meant.

To address the original question, if she refused to go back to the house the day after her husband died, what other choice did her son have but to move her to a new place?

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_lll I agree with you on that. What other choice did he have?

Aster's avatar

The day after her husband’s funeral , which was put on by his daughter , she flew back up north to stay with her son, wife and their daughter for three months. During this stressful, tear filled time, her friends were looking for an assisted living/memory care place down here. They found a really nice one and somehow related this back to her son who procured her an apartment and moved some furniture in there for her. To be honest, I’m not positive just how her son is paying them the $2800 a month. They’re coming back on Friday to close on the house sale and she wont even show up. It’s too stressful for her to be around her husband’s relatives who will attend. I am doing my best to get her to have a bank statement mailed to her place each month so she can see her balance. I wonder if that will cause problems? She could not do it on her own. She can, however, live in the apartment by herself since she has one of those bracelets that summon help if she falls .She spends a few hours several days a week shopping at the mall with a friend. In her apt, she takes a tray of food to her apt each day from the dining room because she refuses to associate with all those “old ladies” as she calls them. I admit most of her friends are in their thirties or forties.
I look up phone numbers for her and I told her today that all adults with bank accounts have a statement mailed to them but she couldn’t handle it so far.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Now I’m confused as hell. How did she go to stay with her son for 3 months the day after the funeral AND wind.up in assisted living.the day after the funeral?

Dutchess_lll's avatar

My Mom was very angry when she wound up in a retirement home with all those OLD people. She had dementia. She thought she was only 40. She was actually all those old people around her.

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