The end of one lifestyle leads to the beginning of a new lifestyle. I was with an 87 year old woman last week who was in the rehabilitation unit in a nursing home. Before the summer, she was in her own home, driving and doing quite well. She fell at the beginning of the summer and broke her hip. She has been in the nursing home for rehab care for the entire summer. Next week she is scheduled to return home. Her family was shocked when she told them she prefers to stay in the nursing home. The woman told her family that she has made friends in the nursing home and she questioned the lifestyle she would have when she went back to her apartment. I informed both the elder and her family that there were day-care centers throughout the community for elders who enjoy socializing. Rather than remain in the nursing home with institutional food, scheduled toileting and baths, this elder can return to her home and attend a day care center during the week and meet other elders in her situation.
The family as well as the elder are looking forward to the return to the home next week and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives together. The plan is to hire a home-health aide for the elder, and also to enroll her in a day program for activities, meals and socializing. Both the family and the elder are satisfied with the new beginning.