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Rearranging living arrangements
So, when we brought my FIL back home after his fall and surgery DH and I decided we would just do what comes next and figure out the next steps from there. So we set up an area in our bedroom with a curtain between us, and it has been okay but not ideal. At the time we set all this up, we thought he might be able to be mobile again but that’s not happening. He is either in bed or a gerichair.
Now, after 7 months, we are realizing this could be longer term and the bedroom setup is not ideal. We have little privacy and it’s awkward having caregivers and hospice nurses/CNA coming in and out of our bedroom. There is so much equipment in this room it is like an obstacle course. The dogs bother my FIL and my 20 yo son wakes him up at night playing with friends online.
So we are thinking a better solution for longer term. We have a nice finished walk out basement, with a kitchenette/fridge/microwave and bathroom. The bathroom is large enough that we could roll his chair in there so DH would only have to stand and pivot with him. It has a large living area, furniture, big screen TV, and a patio outside and no threshold to maneuver.
The pros are - the lighting is much better down there, and there is much more room to roll his chair around as it is a much more open floor plan . It would also be much easier to maneuver the lift and such around. It is comfortable enough for the caregiver and us as someone would still be with him during the day. It will also be quieter down there at night. There is a sofa bed down there if someone needs to sleep there if he is having a rough night. We have housed company down there many times and they felt it was very comfortable. It is just below our bedroom, so we are not far, and we have a bed alarm and cameras. If we need to take him somewhere, it would be much easier to roll him to the car and no stairs to maneuver. Plus, we can take him out to the driveway where he would really be outside which he wants to do all the time. He can roll his chair all over the place out there as there is a curb on 3 sides and a hill on the fourth.
The idea of having at least some of my home that I can retreat to that doesn’t look like a nursing facility is appealing, lol
The only con that I can see is that the patio is not as “bright” as the upstairs porch. Of course, the change might affect him negatively.
Are DH and I missing anything in our thought process that this would be a good move?
It sounds like a great idea. The only thing I can think of is if he will miss being around all the activity that may occur where he is now.
I think the move makes a lot of sense and you should go for it. I know it will be a lot of work but, if for some reason it doesn't work, it doesn't have to be permanent.
It seems like a great idea. Do you think there will be any benefit to moving in stages? Maybe start by having meals together there and bringing him there during the day for a few days before a complete move? Or maybe just making the switch so he (and everyone) can adjust more quickly will be best.
If/when you go ahead with it, let us know how everything goes.
Fesk, I wish we could do that but it is really hard to transfer him to and from the main level, stairs and a gravel sidewalk… in a wheelchair. Then he has to be moved to his gerichair, which does not navigate stairs or the sidewalk. Plus his diaper changes happen in bed with a hoyer lift mostly, so that means making that trek every few hours and one level or the other would not have his gerichair (he hates the wheelchair).
Anyway, we did it, and it went well. DH and I are exhausted from moving all that heavy medical furniture/bed. We had dinner down there and watched some TV. He seems to like the open spacd, he was rolling everywhere and in a good mood. He commented that it was brighter (true because our main level is wood/rustic and dark). I just checked the camera and he’s asleep.
I’m already feeling it, it’s like a moment of normalcy in a crazy situation.
Today was a very special one with my FIL, we had almost 2 hours of lucidity. I prompted him with stories he had told me of his childhood and he added on in his limited way. He knew his kids. He had several real smiles, teeth and all. He kept asking me to tell him my name, and he would repeat it to himself. He also asked DH what he did for a living the same way. It was a very special time. It made me cry.
I cancelled the CNA bath today because I didn’t want to ruin the moment.
Thank you for sharing your day with us. I’m so glad things went well!