When Lorene Sandlin fell and couldn’t get up in October of last year, her only option was to lie on the floor of her Smyrna home and wait for help to come.
TMP Photo by Kelly Hite. Carol Parsley and cousin Jimmy Miller take enjoy walking through the garden at Community Care of rutherford County.
“Joan (her daughter) kept calling and calling,” Sandlin, 82, said. “And I thought, if I didn’t answer she’d come and check on me.”
Luckily Joan, 60, and her husband Jimmie Braddy did come and check on Sandlin.
Sandlin has balance problems and falls regularly. She also has short-term memory loss, which makes it hard to remember what medications she has taken.
It was at this point Joan couldn’t deny the fact her mother had gotten older and couldn’t live alone any more.
“It comes faster than you realize,” Sandlin said.
Braddy next did what Medicare and AARP suggest, she talked the situation over with her mom.
Children should be able to discuss finances and level of care needs with parents, to make sure everyone is on the same page, AARP recommends.
After preliminary decisions have been made, it’s time to find a facility that’s the right fit for the aging parent.
Tennessee’s Department of Health has a facility locator tool available on its Web site that allows users to find facilities in specific areas. Find it at
“We also have a section of our Web site dedicated to nursing homes. This page includes a link to the Medicare Web site where users can compare nursing homes and see information about their (state inspections),” TDOH spokeswoman Shelley Walker explained, adding the state’s nursing home site can be found at health.state.tn.us/NursingHomes/index.htm.
Families can also find information on Medicare’s Web site about the federal government’s new Nursing Home Five-Star Quality Rating system. The Medicare site is at www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/.
In Murfreesboro, families and individuals can contact St. Clair Street Senior Center for help picking the right facility and different ways to pay for it.
“I can help them through that …” Senior Center Care Director Dee Brown said.
“We help seniors with any problem they may have and help people find the resources they need,” she explained.
Brown can be contacted at 848-2550.
Brown can help by explaining the differences in level of care between a nursing home, assisted living or retirement home.
“We can help them with this process,” she said.
Braddy looked into the options and visited retirement homes and assisted living facilities in Smyrna and Murfreesboro with her mother. They also looked into home health to try to keep Sandlin independent as long as possible.
But eventually, they decided Sandlin would be better off living with Braddy and her husband in Murfreesboro.
“I just never realized it would be like this,” Sandlin said. “If I hadn’t started preparing when I was young, I don’t know where I’d be.”
Braddy said cost was a major factor in the decision. With assisted living homes running around $3,000 per month and home health care averaging $20 per hour, it is just more affordable to live with her mother.
“Out of a fixed income, that’s a lot of money,” Braddy said.
She added there are also other considerations when moving a parent into your home.
“Stairs are obstacles. Bathrooms are a nightmare. And doorways aren’t wide enough for wheelchairs,” she said.
Several local companies, like Tennessee Comfort Living (TNComfortLiving.com), will remodel bathrooms and make other upgrades to make homes more livable for retirees and the elderly.
Braddy added caring for an aging parent can be a challenge in that caregiving is a full-time job with doctor’s appointments and her mother’s memory issues.
St. Clair Street Senior Center can also help with the challenges of caregiving with the Caregiver Resource and Education Center.
The Senior Center offers a monthly support group lead by Elberta Dyer and annual conference “The Dynamics of Elderly Caregiving.”
Michelle Willard can be contacted at 615-869-0816 or email@example.com.
More information …
St. Clair Street Senior Center - 848-2550
Tennessee Department of Health’s facility locator tool - health.state.tn.us/hcf/Facilities_Listings/facilities.htm
Tennessee Department of Health Guide to Nursing Homes - health.state.tn.us/NursingHomes/index.htm
Medicare’s Nursing Home Five-Star Rating System - www.medicare.gov/NHCompare/