Peter, Ellie and Sebastian meeting some new friends

Peter, Ellie and Sebastian meeting some new friends

Relocating elderly parents can be a big challenge. It is often difficult to say goodbye to a cherished home and community. For family caregivers, the logistics of moving parents into a better situation for their health and wellness are daunting.

Sebastian’s folks had reached the point where they were no longer able to live safely in their home (Names have been changed for privacy). Peter, his father, had recently turned 89 and required a wheelchair for mobility and supplemental oxygen for COPD, along with numerous medications. His mother, Ellie, was becoming less steady on her feet at 84 and was in the early to mid-stages of dementia. Sebastian lives in northern California and Peter and Ellie’s home is 2,880 miles away on the coast of North Carolina.

Sebastian contacted us at AssistedVacation.com after the family had decided to sell their home in North Carolina. Peter and Ellie would move into an Assisted Living community in California so that they could be close to Sebastian who had spent years as a long-distance caregiver. While the details of packing their belongings and shipping them cross-country were fairly straight forward, Sebastian wondered how he would physically get his parents out to their new home. He was not up to the task of flying with his parents alone.

After learning about our Assisted Vacation services from a Geriatric Care Manager, Sebastian felt that having a nurse on the trip would ensure his parents safety. I worked with the family to secure the proper documentation to bring Peter’s oxygen aboard the plane. We decided a direct flight would be the most practical so an accessible van was necessary to transport them to a major airport. On moving day, I arrived at their home in North Carolina early in the morning. We tied up the loose ends, packed the necessary medications, walkers and clothing and drove to Charlotte, NC for our direct flight to Sacramento.

Whenever I travel with elderly clients, I am almost always impressed with how accommodating airport staff is to individuals with unique needs. We were spirited through the line at security by TSA and the only thing that slowed us down was Ellie’s mild flirtations with a handsome security guard. Peter is a husky man and once on the plane, he needed to use the restroom. It was quite the spectacle as I helped him onto the commode in the tiny bathroom at 30,000 feet in mild turbulence. I monitored his oxygen levels throughout the flight and convinced Peter to take his medications before ordering bourbon from the flight attendant. (I had check beforehand with his Physician who assured me that Peter could imbibe in moderation)

Our arrival into Sacramento was very late in the evening and we had arraigned to stay in a hotel near the airport before moving Ellie and Peter into their new home the next morning. I stayed in an adjoining room at the hotel and checked on the couple throughout the night through the connecting door. I assisted with bathing and dressing in the morning so that they would look sharp for their first day in their new community.

Assisted Living Communities can vary a great deal in cleanliness, the quality of their staff, and in the quality and presentation of meals in the dining rooms. Sebastian chose a wonderful community for his parents and I toured Peter and Ellie around the grounds as Sebastian filled out the reams of paperwork that was required. Peter was thrilled that there was a daily Veterans group meeting as he had served in World War II. Ellie, being a social butterfly, met numerous ladies with whom she became instant friends. We joined a group singing activity while Sebastian’s wife put the final touches on the décor in their new apartment and we enjoyed a delicious lunch in the dining room which was nicely decorated and had waiters in crisp uniforms.

When it was time for me to say goodbye, Sebastian extended his gratitude to me for helping make the move smooth. As with all of our clients, I found that I had grown very fond of Peter and Ellie in our short time together and I was sad to say farewell. I was glad to see that they were adjusting well to their new surroundings and I was happy that they would be near their son who cares for them greatly as they travel along the continuum of their aging.

While our primary service at AssistedVacation.com is to support family caregivers and their loved-ones on holiday, we are excited to assist elders relocate as their healthcare needs change. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of our clients with skilled, caring staff and planning services. As I walked out of the Assisted Living Community into the beautiful California sun, I looked back and saw Peter and Ellie chatting with a group of new friends, encircling them warmly atop wheelchairs and walkers. I felt that our mission had been fulfilled.

My best,

Thomas

Ellie, Thomas and Peter

Ellie, Thomas and Peter


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