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Anyone move to the middle of nowhere with the LO - How's it going now
Hello ALZ Connected,
Blessing to all. Thanks for reading my post.
Due to high cost of living and poor healthcare options where I live, etc., I'm thinking about relocating with my loved one of state, to Nowhere-ville, USA. I have some places in mind but I've often though about what it would be like to live in the middle of nowhere, a small town, with a hospital nearby but out in the middle of nowhere. It doesn't make much sense to keep paying for the cost of a big city if the big city where we live doesn't offer much in the terms of quality of life for us.
So I'm thinking about just packing up and moving. My mom doesn't suffer from any maladies outside of ALZ thank God. So it's not like we would need to be in/out hospital frequently or need to go to the doctor frequently. Working remotely is an option for me, to an extent. So I'm mulling my options.
Anyone who has successfully, or unsuccessfully done this, please let me know. I'd really like to hear your thoughts.
Define big city, small town, high cost of living
If you live in a huge city of several hundred thousand or more, then maybe move to a city of 100-200 thousand. There you can find decent hospitals, specialists, and care options for a lower price than say Chicago.
Think about external factors such as weather, airports, lack of a support system( friends and family). You aren’t going to know anyone to come shovel your drive, charge your car battery, go to the grocery store. You will need a car because busses (if any) will probably only run Monday/Friday 7-6pm. Uber may not exist and taxis will be few. There won’t be a metra train.
There may be more delivery options but not near as much as a big city.
Thank you so much for this reply. I had no idea small town hospitals were in that type of crisis. I would imagine if anything more would be needed because of Covid. I guess insurance is making them go broke?
Thanks for everyone else who responded. Your advice was most helpful.
I live in a major metro area -- even a 20 minute drive between cities in the sprawl makes a giant difference in services available. The more rural, even though those houses are 3 times + the market price-- so much harder to get help. Even with adequate private pay funds.
And you will need more help.
I lived the dream of living in the Colorado mountains eleven miles out of a town that had no stop lights, a small clinic and was 55 miles to the nearest hospital. It was great until it wasn’t. We were no longer able to manage cutting firewood, monthly shopping in the city, etc. Hated to move, loved it there, loved the people and our church.
We moved to that small city 55 miles away. Used the nearby hospital and doctors but still had to go to the big city for specialists. Bought a nice ranch style house that would work for most but DH wanted to climb ladders to clean gutters and use his chain saws to cut the trees down. We walked with canes dragging garden hoses to water the lawn. DH hated the cars driving on our street. I hired a good handy man but it was a daily battle with DH who wanted to do things he shouldn’t. We lasted there three years.
We now live in a modest independent living condo we bought in Connecticut that is 20 minutes away from our son. We order groceries on line and when delivered, the staff brings them to our kitchen counter. All of Our medical needs are being handled at the geriatric unit of the local medical university hospital. We have Dial-a-ride that costs $35 a year and will take us anywhere in our town as well as to the medical center. We have a great senior center that today is reopening from COVID. DH is on a waiting list for day care which hopefully opens soon. I’m investigating memory care options for DH so I will be ready when it is needed.
Our condo fee includes weekly light housekeeping and many activities. If something needs repair or tending to a call to the office takes care of it. We have virtually no responsibilities. It is nice to have people around to talk with.
I encourage you to live your dream to live in the middle of nowhere but do it when you don’t have the responsibility of someone who has dementia that is only going to become worse. Your dream will turn into a nightmare. I will be interested in seeing what you decide. Best wishes.
I would never in a million years choose to move to a place with my PWD with fewer services, supports, people, help. Your mother WILL decline. This is a terminal illness. Alz will eventually cause her body to forget how to walk, swallow, remain continent, get up out of a chair. Caring for them becomes a full time job and then some. Her personality may change and become ornery or even combative making for a constant unpleasant job for you. Very, very few people do this all alone - eventually you will need help, and usually have to hire it if they don't have family members to pitch in. And it's pretty hard to bring help to the home when you live in the middle of nowhere. Once she isn't sleeping at night and is up finding trouble at all hours of the day, how long do you think you can go on your own? Seriously, how many nights can you go with broken or no sleep? Respite is usually the biggest factor that makes in home care possible. You will need a break. You will need time to work for your income. You will need to sleep. What is your plan to make that happen as her disease progresses? Agencies probably aren't sending home health aides to where you have in mind. There likely is not an adult daycare. Or volunteers or groups with programs for PWD to socialize, or literally ANYTHING. Or specialists she may need in the future. She may not need the hospital much now, but take my word for it. Eventually she will. My mother was the most fit person in the world, but Alz has caught up with her body and she is in the ER frequently. I would seriously consider how this decision will impact the quality of life for both of you long term. And I would research Medicaid laws in whatever states you are considering. If you get to a point where you can't care for her anymore and need to move her to a memory care facility, hopefully you land in a place that has a reasonable situation to pay for it. Just my two cents. I would look at this description of the stages of the disease and average lengths of each stage. At what point would the living arrangement become impossible, and is it worth relocating and investing in a house for this amount of time? Assume stage 5 and after means you are spending a majority of your day caring for her, supervising, entertaining etc.
Thank you to Everyone who replied.
I actually came on the site today to help out someone who was helping take care of his dad, was going to offer some words of encouragement if possible. In doing this I went through my old posts and saw more replies.
Whyzit - you wanted to know what I ended up doing and we ended up staying right where we were.
Basically, I get so fed up with the whole home health aide service sometimes that it makes me want to get up and move as I don't have much in the way of family for direct help. Family comes over yes but they aren't willing to give me respite so it's just me and the home health aide (she's very good but can only do a couple of days a week). I have tried other aides/ agencies with 'ok' to downright terrible results.
Nonetheless you all made some very salient points. I appreciate your collective honesty and willingness to share. I guess sometimes I get caught up in the romanticism of moving my mom somewhere with cows and chickens and me cutting wood and making her happy, as she had that type of existence growing up. She is after all almost 90 and I want to see as happy as possible.
But you all raised a very valid point about the progression of this illness. I gotta say though, I didn't listen to anyone (after doctors, nurses, pills, repeated angry bouts, etc., failed us), and took my mom off all meds (under a new doc's care). My mom after this has actually gotten better. She still has memory problems but her gait is much, much better. She smiles and is happy and her cognitive abilities have gone up. There are days or even weeks when I think she doesn't have ALZ anymore but then something changes (a relative comes over and then leaves or I move a piece of furniture or even acidic foods) and then it's the sundowning again/ endless pacing and endless going to the bathroom all night. By the Almighty those behaviors have come down - a lot. But they do still happen enough that they count as still happening.
So you all gave me some really good perspective. This disease sucks. Sucks isn't even the right word for it but it's the most I can manage tonight.
Thanks harshedbuzz, Whyzit, and MN Chickadee. Yours were the responses I didn't see originally and I am so glad I saw tonight. The responses really resonated with me.
Best of luck to you all and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday.
There are days or even weeks when I think she doesn't have ALZ anymore but then something changes (a relative comes over and then leaves or I move a piece of furniture or even acidic foods) and then it's the sundowning again/ endless pacing and endless going to the bathroom all night. By the Almighty those behaviors have come down - a lot.
I'm so glad your mom is responding positively to your good and wholesome care. This is something promoted by our member, Alz+. I believe PWDs need to live in a nurturing bubble. PWDs cannot tolerate change too much. Best wishes for the future.