Having walked through this experience with former in-laws with dementia/alzheimers, my dad with ALS, independent, assisted and skilled nursing care, end of life decisions including DNR, funerals with military honors, national cemeteries we know and understand what you and your family could be facing.
Our journey began when Gloria's best friend in Hawaii called us and said, "I think there's a problem with Gloria. She's starting to drive down one-way streets the wrong way and she missed my birthday." Not missing a birthday card for 25 years, she knew that something was amiss.
We had received the phone call in the process of just having accepted an offer on our home at Gilroy and having written one at San Martin. We had considered remaining where we were at because our current home had a separate bedroom with a step in shower for the in-laws.
Shortly after placing her in an independent care facility at Hawaii Kai, Gloria needed back surgery. After her surgery, we decided to move her and Gene to California to be closer to us and serve as their medical advocates.
We sold their townhouse at Aiea, chose Belmont Village as their assisted living home, next to Santana Row, but ultimately moved them to a home in Gilroy where they both passed away several years later.
During this journey, I had enrolled at USC for their first year of a Master's in Senior Care Management and had already obtained my SRES - Senior Real Estate Specialist designation. I also had considered being a consultant in this area of specialization. I began visiting numerous senior centers, both at Hawaii and California - from adult day care to skilled nursing facilities and had a 4" binder full before I gave it to an RT (respiratory therapist).
I knew that real estate was my passion and wasn't quite ready to commit the time necessary for graduate school in a field that ultimately would serve baby boomers.
Recently I began working with an old AA colleague that is facing similar hard decisions. Thankfully my real estate partner and son, Trevor, has walked through this experience before, albeit at a much younger age.
From the Hawaii Kai nursing home to Belmont Village, to skilled nursing at Saratoga that included respiratory ventilation care, Winchester Care at Salinas and private care at Care Meridian at Gilroy, we've witnessed assisted to skilled care that included respiratory ventilation and food peg to finally facing no neurological signs and having to say a temporary goodbye.
From seeing family members going from normal daily activity to assistance devices - walkers, respirators, wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, diapers, medications, neurologists, "Ethics Committee", Stanford ICU, Good Samaritan Hospital, casket/urn selections, plot selections, burial services; we will walk through this life cycle as well with our clients if desired.
Perhaps volunteering at Lucile Packard Childrens' Hospital for over a decade has brought a deep sense of satisfaction, to not only show gratitude for having healthy children, but to also be invested in the circle of life.