Testimonial: "It has been such a relief to me to know that my father is now in a great place, where he can be cared for and be safe."

2/18/2014
Location : Escondido

"I read that 1 in 4 of us will at some time need care for dementia or Alzheimer's type symptoms.  My father, following the death of my mother (after a two year bout with leukemia), and after 56 years of marriage, had been on a slow downhill slide for several years.  But like many seniors, his pride and paranoia about giving up control of his life made it impossible for us to convince him to allow in home care or assisted living, or even help of any kind.   Unless you have experienced it, it's hard to express the pain of having to deal with someone who would not do anything to assist with his care or finances, all the while dealing with the abuse that dementia patients can inflict on the only ones in their lives who can help them.  We never felt he should be driving, but just a month before he was picked up by the police, DMV issued him a 4 year renewal (at age 92!)

Things finally came to a crisis point when he was stopped by police in the early morning hours, on his way to our home, and because of his extremely confused state, taken to a local hospital for what is known as a 5150 hold (danger to self, others, or gravely disabled). If you have a family member who is placed in such a hold, suffice it to say that your options to help them are extremely limited. Nevertheless, we took action, and contacted Silverado in Escondido, California, so that he could have somewhere to go when he ultimately got released.

Our first contact person was Rick, their Family Ambassador.  And I can't say how comforting it was to have his advice, support and understanding. He helped explain how things would probably go, called us on his own to see how things were progressing (it took 5 days to get him released from the psychiatric hold), and introduced us to Jean, the Administrator, and Sharon, another Ambassador.   They invited us to visit the facility for a tour.

Upon arrival, we saw what can only be described as the "BMW" of dementia care facilities.  My husband was an estate planning attorney specializing in elder law, and as such, he had been involved with many health care facilities and "nursing homes" over the years.  Many are so depressing it was painful to even visit his clients.  He said this was hands down the best facility he had ever seen.  The facility is on a hill top over-looking the Escondido valley, with grass out front, trees, and beautiful landscaping.  The entrance is friendly and welcoming.  When you first enter, you are greeted by the soothing sound of harp music, and after days of running around dealing with all the problems my father left us with, it was such a nice change.  

This facility is arranged in an open configuration, with wide carpeted hallways, and the patients are allowed to walk wherever they want. There are large windows everywhere, giving the appearance of a home rather than a care facility. When we arrived, they were serving dinner, and it smelled pretty good. The air inside is filtered or cleaned in some manner that is better than the air in most hospitals. Patients are treated with compassion and respect, and you can feel that even though they may not know what is going on in their lives, they are content and comfortable here.  

There are animals too.  Patients can bring their dogs, for example, if the dog gets along with others.  Animal therapy is a very effective treatment for children and the elderly demented, two groups that are very similar.  When we were filling out the paperwork, one of the older dogs came up to my husband and was rewarded with about 15 minutes of petting.   

When we came up to fill out the paperwork, the day before his release from the hospital, Jean, the Administrator, and Monica, the Director of Resident Services, spent over an hour helping us complete forms, explaining the program, and making us feel totally at ease with the process. The facility offers an unbelievable 60 day full refund if for any reason the patient cannot remain or placement does not work out.  In short, you can try them for 60 days risk free.   They also gave us referrals for a local attorney who was needed to get certain legal papers prepared as my father had not done much to provide for how to take care of him in the event of such a crisis.  

On the day of my father's release, the hospital was sort of dragging their feet, with some confusion about timing.  Rick got on the phone to the social worker, and voila, suddenly a definite time was arranged. 

It has been such a relief to me to know that my father is now in a great place, where he can be cared for and be safe.  It's a hard thing to know he can no longer go home or drive a car, but sooner or later, without this intervention, it might have ended tragically.  If you have a loved one in this situation, do not be afraid to take action.  You are doing what's best for them, whether they appreciate it or not.  I cannot say enough how grateful we are that Silverado was there for us."

- A Silverado Family Member

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