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How does a diagnosis of metastatic cancer affect senior living options?

My mother has early-stage dementia, but also has a diagnosis of metastatic thyroid cancer. She's 80 years old, and is likely to live at least 4 or 5 more years before the cancer kills her, but needs some form of assisted living now. Will continuing care communities or assisted living facilities accept someone with a diagnosis of metastatic cancer? Is our only option a nursing home or hospice?
Status: Open    Oct 14, 2015 - 10:49 AM

Senior Health & Nutrition, Senior Living Communities

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2 answers

APFM Staff Answers

Oct 14, 2015 - 04:13 PM

Every state has different guidelines as to the care they are allowed to provide, but this is based on the actual medical and daily assistance they are allowed to provide to a person; not the diagnosis. Some states allow heavier care in assisted living and/or memory care than other states. At this time, if her needs are appropriate for assisted living care, then you should probably focus on this area. You would not want to place her in an inappropriate setting that would diminish her quality of life.

This being said, you will also want to have a frank conversation with her oncologist as well as her GP regarding your intent to move her to assisted living after you have visited a few communities to learn what they can do. Predicting her life span is not something that even a physician will be comfortable with, but you will want to gain an understanding of how long her needs could be met in assisted living or memory care. (Do be aware that some medical professionals may not always be aware of the care that can be provided in assisted living in their state, too.)

Many communities are also hesitant to accept someone if they know they cannot live there for at least a few months, because they want a new resident to be able to settle in and feel some stability in the community. This is important, because a good community will make a responsible decision based on the physician's notes and a personal assessment. Some assisted living communities also allow hospice to come in and provide services to their residents.

Every state is different, and every assisted living within the state is also different, so you will want to do your homework. Some assisted living communities are fully prepared for heavy care without having to move into another section of a community, and some prefer light care. You may want to find a local A Place For Mom Advisor at 866-568-2989 to get you started.

Good luck and I wish you the best.



Nov 30, 2015 - 03:33 AM

Well it depends on the condition of your mother. Nowadays it’s possible for men and women both with metastatic thyroid cancer to live longer, meaningful and productive life. Since different cure options are available and more are on the research. Thyroid cancer might spread (metastasize) to the lymph nodes, lungs, bone and rarely brain. Proper diagnostics and treatments provide a new hope to the patient for living happy and comfortable life.


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