Louise and Harvey Savoie lived in the same house for 47 years. They moved in right after they got married in 1967, but they won’t be spending the holidays in their own home any longer.
During the holidays and the weeks that follow, many assisted living and nursing care facilities will see an increase in residents. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, families get together and many are seeing mom and dad for the first time in months, said Chelsey Haefner, marketing director for Stoney Brook Assisted Living in Copperas Cove.
“The distance between families in this day and age keep them separated so that they often don’t see each other except during the holidays,” Haefner said. “Some will discover that their parents’ health has declined and they should not be left to live on their own any longer. It’s a big wake-up call.”
Haefner said every family should talk about the issue now and explore options rather than waiting until after the holidays, which can cause parents to feel more isolated and withdrawn.
Chris and Matt Savoie know the situation first hand.
“Just talking to them on the phone, we knew that we were getting to that point ... they were getting older and we were too far away to take care of them,” Chris Savoie said about her in-laws.
The Savoies started looking at independent living facilities with Louise, 79, and Harvey, 84, in the spring. The couple was initially supportive of the idea of moving but later was against it. By the summer, Chris and Matt Savoie began pressing the issue of moving the elderly couple from Massachusetts closer to family in Texas.
Louise and Harvey Savoie were placed in an independent living facility in Temple on Sept. 15.
But then Harvey Savoie had two strokes — one in October that he recovered from very quickly and a second five days later that left him weak on his right side and having to use a walker or wheelchair.
Independent living was no longer an option for the elder Savoies, who suffer from maculardegeneration and initial signs of dementia, Chris Savoie said.
Louise moved into Stoney Brook on Dec. 5 and Harvey moved in Sunday after completing rehabilitation from his two strokes.
“They definitely needed more help (after the strokes), but we wanted them to have their own space,” Chris Savoie said. “An assisted living facility allowed us to accomplish that. It’s a huge relief to know they are taken care of.”
Louise and Harvey Savoie are adjusting to their new lives.
“We’re getting used to it. It’s a big change from our home with a pond,” Louise Savoie said. “No more cooking and doing dishes. But that gives us time to do other things.”
Warning signs that your parent may need to be evaluated for in-home nursing assistance or a move to a more supportive setting, include:
- Confusion or forgetfulness about taking medications.
- Unable to remember the locations of routine places.
- Unstable/unbalanced (at risk of falling).
- Change in hygiene habits or personality.