• My brother’s ALS is somewhat advanced, as he is wheelchair bound, but still has some hand control and no swallowing difficulties.

    We think we have found a better alternative to Assisted Living (AL), at least for now.
    Assisted Living can be expensive, in north Florida $3,000+ for the room, meals and very basic services. Then, there are additional care packages, an extra $100 per month for help to enter and return to bed, several hundred for dining assistance, commode assistance etc. Very soon the amount reaches $4,000 per month for a very cramped room.

    Even with the high price, we found the quality of services to be irregular and so often lacking that we had to hire an outside personal assistant.

    To get better care and surroundings we purchased a 3-bedroom condo – mortgage, association fee and utilities total about $1,000 per month.

    To accommodate an expense-sharing disabled partner, two of the rooms form a 600 square foot housemate suite (large bedroom, private bath, visitor/media room, computer station and walk-in closet). We will lease the suite for $3,600 per month, covering all utilities, WiFi, laundry, meals, 8-hours of helper services and full use of kitchen and dining area.

    I installed a motorized remote-controlled front entry door and roll-in shower. Outdoors, the surrounding are beautiful with great security.

    We have regular physician visits, paid by Medicare, and nurse visits as part of hospice.
    The price may seem expensive; however, we have 8 hours per day of helper services. At AL you won’t find someone in your room for 8 hours per day, not at that cost, to help with grooming, bathing, commode, feeding, laundry, mobility, etc.

    So, the helpmates will share expenses and avoid AL with more room and more services. For 6 months now, things have worked very well. We hope to avoid a nursing home by increasing the helper hours to 12 or more. But, that will be decided later.
    The difficulty right now is obtaining a housemate. There are great pools of candidates served by the nearby ALS and neurology clinics which also have Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy and stroke clients. However, the clinics and government agencies won’t help, due to HIPPA liability fears, although they all agree that such shared-cost arrangements are an important unmet need.

    So, we are now just beginning to advertise through Zillow and other rental services, and will let you know as things develop.

    • What a brilliant idea! I wonder if the ALS Association, Hospice or another organization could be helpful. Please let us know how things are going from time to time. It is a great idea and thank you for sharing.

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