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"Get me out of here!" - Wanting to Leave Assisted Living

Caregiver Question:

"I was placed in an assisted living facility a few months ago after being hospitalized with a hip fracture. My children made the decision to put me here, and I do not like it. I want to go home, and they are saying I cannot. They say I need more help than my husband can give me. I will admit that I have a few issues. I have occasional bladder problems and have fallen before. Even so, I just don’t think my children get to tell me what to do. What do you think, Mary?"


Mary's Answer:

That is quite the loaded question. Based on the information you provided and my experience, I will respond as best I can.


You Have Rights

I am fairly certain you know that if you are of sound mind, no one - not even your children - can force you to live in a facility. There are laws to protect you in this country, and only the courts can appoint someone as guardian to make decisions on your behalf. You do have rights.

It is clear you are angry and upset. You can simply walk out the door if you are physically able to do so, though I do think there is a more rational approach.


What You Can Do

Ask for a family meeting. Write down the reasons your family believes you should stay in the assisted living facility. Avoid fighting and listen. Study the list when you are calm and rational. Circle the reasons that are true and evaluate if you can do anything about them.

For instance, if the children say you cannot toilet yourself, that is a fairly strong argument. If you are soiling furniture, bedding or flooring, you need a living situation that is equipped to manage it. Can a therapist help you become independent again? Is it possible for you or your spouse to do something about it? Since many spouses are of similar age and condition, it is probable that your husband is not equipped to provide the care, which requires you to recruit outside help.

I think you can see where I am going here. Learn the specifics, evaluate what you can do to better your situation, and act on a plan. Fuming without action is useless. If you cannot live independently and your husband cannot manage your care, it is time to make peace with another living situation. If you can resolve what is preventing you from returning home, then do so.

Changing living arrangements with age or infirmity is tough for everyone, and many of us will face it at some point in our lives. Think it through, and do your best to draw a reasonable conclusion.

I wish you the best.

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