This month, our featured bathroom story began one way and ended completely differently. At One Week Bath, we believe that everything happens for a reason and that there are blessings-in-disguise within every challenge, no matter how difficult something might seem.
Bringing My Parents Home: A Client’s Story
When Andrea Cochrane realized her parents’ health was beginning to fail, the decision to move them out of assisted living and home with her became crystal clear.
Andy and Betty Brown had worked hard all their lives and devoted themselves to providing the best possible life for their three children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild. At 79 years old, Betty was also wheelchair bound and Andy, 82, had been through two hip replacements. Both of them were feeling isolated and lonely living in a strange, unfamiliar place without many of their personal and precious belongings.
The prohibitive cost, nearly $11,000 a month, of assisted living was also compounding the situation – between the basic monthly fees, incidentals and the additional care her parents required, Andrea was faced with this huge monthly bill each and every month.
For Andrea, there was no better solution than to bring her parents home. “I was so blessed, with two amazing parents. I can’t think of a better way to give back!”, Andrea shared with us.
The bathrooms were a huge consideration. The challenge was creating a space that was accessible and safe for Betty and Andy, yet didn’t look institutional. The tub needed to be converted to a shower and the sink and cabinetry at the vanity area need to be reconfigured for wheelchair access. Grab bars and safety bars needed to be installed to insure that Betty and Andy could manage without the danger of falling. Everything down to the toilet had to be considered and hand selected.
Andrea found One Week Bath during an internet search and it seemed like the perfect solution – the all-in-one custom design/build process was high quality, efficient and cost effective, especially in comparison to the assisted living fees she was already paying. Best of all was the timing. Andrea could get the bathroom completed in just one week, making the move possible with minimal disruption to her already busy household.
One Week Bath CEO and Founder Matt Plaskoff designed a comfortable, safe space that would look beautiful and work for Andrea’s parents AND the rest of her family. In a short 3 hour meeting the entire bathroom was designed. New, smaller cabinets would flank an ADA wall hung sink, creating some additional space in the room and allowing Betty to pull right up to the sink. The tub was converted to a shower and grab bars were installed in strategic spots making it safe for Betty and Andy to maneuver around the bathroom. The faucets and valves were chosen to avoid scalding and a designer ADA comfort height toilet topped off the design.
The big day arrived and Andrea’s parent’s moved in. After only three days it became apparent that Andrea’s mom needed 24 hour care. She was waking up nightly needing attention and because she was disoriented and frightened, the situation became physically unsafe for her
Understanding that a return to Assisted Living might be the only solution, Andrea went back to the drawing board digging for more resources. Through the Assisted Living staff, Andrea learned that there were unpublicized benefits available to her father since he was a veteran. Aid and Assistance for Vets (http://www.veteranaid.org) provides $900 per month per veteran needing specialized care, and another $900 per month for their surviving spouses. Betty and Andy began receiving $1,800 per month, which was even retroactive from the time they applied!
Andrea also found that the Assisted Living folks were willing to considerably discount the rent due to the economy. She moved her folks into a smaller Assisted Living apartment and between the new benefits and the savings in rent; Betty can live safely with access to constant care.
While the journey was emotionally difficult on the entire family, Andrea is counting her blessings. To quote Andrea “I never have to wonder if I did everything I could for my parents AND my home is much safer for them now when they visit!”
It’s important to Andrea that people with elderly parents know that there are many services, benefits and resources available to seniors. The trick is being sure to ask everyone involved; from doctors to caregivers to social workers.
Financing options, such as reverse mortgages, can also open up many possibilities for financing safe, age-in-place remodeling projects for those with independent elderly parents, or for those who want to stay in their homes well into their golden years.