We Hear The Ambulances at Night

For those of us who care for the residents who live in assisted living, we are aware of the many adjustments that are a necessary part of the transition from their own residence to a group setting. There are many losses that occur:

· Loss of personal space

· Loss of personal items as they downsize

· Loss of network of friends and neighbors

· Altered patterns in shopping

· Loss of independence

· Loss of privacy

Those are just some of the obvious changes. Some of them can be planned for and others may be welcome (time to get “rid of this crap”). These adverse factors are balanced against all of the great reasons to move to assisted living.


I once asked a patient of mine if she was enjoying her transition to her assisted living facility.

She paused: “Well, yes, but we hear for the ambulances at night; and we wonder who won’t be at breakfast in the morning. And we pray at night that the ambulance is not coming for any of us.”

(c) 2016 Scott Matthew Bolhack, MD, MBA, CMD, CWS, FACP, FAAP

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