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Topic: Does anyone have a loved one in a nursing home?

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Subject: Does anyone have a loved one in a nursing home?
Date Posted: 5/19/2008 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 706
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On May 8 my motherinlaw, me and my husband made the difficult decision of placing my fatherinlaw (96) in a nursing home.   We were very lucky to get him into the one of our choice - a very good one - and he got in initially because he needed skilled nursing -- and Medicare will pay for the first 20 days.   After that he will have to have Medicaid -- he will be a program transfer as he already qualifies for Medicaid and had it for the provider service.  We dearly hope he can stay at the same facility and he might be able to they tell us.

Anyway, he is adjusting so well we think his staying permanently will be the best thing for him and for the family.  We were really struggling with his care at home as he needed total care and constant diaper and wound dressing changes.

Sometimes it's still hard emotionally even on me, but little by little everyone seems to be adjusting.  Almost everyday we get over to visit him and often my motherinlaw stays with him for a few hours (shes 88).  

Now we are still looking out for his care but it is  a huge relief not to be doing the hands on bathing, lifting, turning, diapering and dressing etc.    He really needs so much help.  

Just wondering if there are any others with loved ones in a nursing home?

Date Posted: 5/20/2008 2:24 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
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Chris,

My mother has been in the hospital or a skilled mursing care center since right before Thanksgiving (Diabetes, with kidney complications & asthma with bouts of Pneumonia). We live in Oklahoma and my parents (divorced since 1977) both live in Northern California.

One brother lives in NH, and the other lived in Hawaii until March, when they moved back to N. California to be near HER mother, who needs a lot of care. So the events of the past 2 weeks have fallen mainly on them, and I'm making arrangements to head out there asap.

My mother was hospitalized again about 12days ago because she had fallen and reinjured her shoulder. She has since started having short term memory loss, and now her speech is slurred and she can only move her legs with great effort. They have released her back to the care center and we don't know if they even did a CAT scan or other tests to find out if she hit her head when she fell, or if she's had some kind of a stroke.

I spoke with a friend here that is a nurse and she suggested speaking to the Social Worker there, that they may be more able to work with the family.

Meanwhile, my dad was riding his bike and made a turn right into the path of a motorcycle. He had a broken shoulder and a head injury that caused bleeding in the brain and swelling. So his speech is slurred also. He has just been moved to an acute rehab facility.

I'm not sure how long I will need to be out there, and am trying to decide whether to take my 2 teens with me or leave them here with their dad. My 15 yo has just started caring for a 4 yo full time in our home.

I've appreciated the comments in the different threads in this forum. Just to know that you are not the only family in the "Sandwich Generation" helps.

Chandra

Date Posted: 5/23/2008 2:53 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
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My mom has stopped eating, and is refusing dialisys. We will be heading to California as soon as we can.

My mom has always been a fighter, but she seems to have given up..

I probably won't have web access while I'm there, but will post an update when I return.

Thanks for your prayers and warm thoughts!

Chandra

Date Posted: 5/23/2008 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 326
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This is going to be a long post, I am under so much stress right now and I need to talk to someone, I apologize.

I also recently had to put my 88 yr old Mother in a nursing home, and I wish I could say she was doing good.  She had a stroke on 4/17 and was hospitalized.  For the first week, even though she had physical problems, she still acted normally.  She watched tv, drank her coffee, talked on the phone with my brother and sister, etc.  She would recognize her drs as they came and would be so happy to see them.  And then one day, it all changed.

I came to see her the next morning, and it was as if a totally different person was in the bed.  She was lying in bed with a towel over her head, all the lights were off and the curtains were drawn around her bed.  My mother is a very claustrophobic person, even when taking a shower she would leave the curtain open.  So when I saw the curtains shut, I knew that something was definitely wrong.  Whereas she would normally have the tv on all day and would drink 3-4 cups of coffee, she now refused to watch tv or drink coffee.  The first week of the stroke, she would talk to my sister 2-3 times a day and my brother at least once a day.  She now refused to talk to anyone, and insisted that I take her cell phone home with me.  I kept trying to get someone to look at her meds and see if any of the new ones were causing this sudden turn.  However it was the weekend, none of her regular drs were on call and the drs covering with them did not want to make any medication changes.  She was moved out of ICU on Sunday and up to a medical floor.  On Monday, I talked to her primary care physician and he said he would order her an anti-depressant and that she would be able to go to the nursing home on Tuesday.

Somehow, the order for the anti-depressant never went thru, and when she arrived at the nursing home they didn't have the Lexapro for her.  I told them to call the dr and get the order for the meds, but of course that took another day.

I didn't expect immediate progress, but it just doesn't seem like she is getting any better.  Half the time she refuses to go to the dining room, I finally told them that unless she was seriously ill, I wanted her in that dining room for every meal.  Her food is not all that great, after all it is pureed and all of the beverages have to have a thickening agent.  She had physical therapy every day, but never really completed a full session.  She would tell them she was too tired.  She still had the towel on her head and one day it had fallen from her hand when they put her in the wheelchair.  I met them as they were taking her to the dining room and she was in a full panic because she didn't have her rag.  I told her she didn't need it since she was going to eat, and she started trying to pull her shirt up over her head.  She wouldn't talk to her roommate at all and wanted the curtains pulled so she could just be in her own little cocoon.  The worst thing is, she still refused to take any phone calls from my brother or sister.  We are in far west Texas, my sister is in Little Rock and my brother is in Dallas and they are getting very upset because Mother would not talk to them.

She doesn't want anything personal in her room.  I brought up a chair from her bedroom, her tv and a corner stand with pictures of all the grandkids.  The tv has never been touched and she keeps telling me to take the pictures home.  I wanted to put her get well cards, Mother's Day cards and pictures my grandchildren drew for her on the wall and she won't let me. 

I had a birthday on the first of the month, and I asked her to give me a present and talk to my brother and sister and she refused.  So they would send me emails for her and I would read them to her, and whenever I would suggest that we call them, she always said no.  I finally got her to agree to talk to them on Mother's Day.  Well, she talked to my sister for about 2 minutes, and my brother less than a minute.  It was terrible.

Last week I had a meeting with the different departments and they gave me a 5 day notice that they were going to drop her from physical therapy because she will not do the exercises.  The nurses have to totally assist her for everything, she doesn't even try to hold a cup or feed herself, even though they tell me there is no reason why she can't do it.  She only eats about 70% of her food and none of that is any of the meats.  The only thing she will eat are the puddings and desserts.  I have offered many times to cook her something and bring it up to her, but she tells me she doesn't want anything.

She won't participate in any of the activities, she thinks they are stupid.  I even brought my dog up to see her, she loves that dog more than anything, and she only told me I needed to get her out of there.  And now she is refusing to talk to me.  Whenever I go to see her, I will ask her how she is feeling "fine" or how was lunch "so-so".  I will tell her the headlines from the newspaper and read her any emails, the whole entire time she has her face to the wall.  I'll finish the emails and will sit there for a little bit and she will say "I want to rest now, you need to go home".  I have asked her why she won't talk to me and she just says that she doesn't want to talk to anyone.  I made arrangements for her to get a haircut at the beauty salon there, and when they came to take her she refused to go and told them "I don't care what she wants, I am not going to get a haircut".

I am at my wit's end.  Last nite, I just sat here and cried all nite long.  I was on the verge of calling a crisis line just to have someone to talk to because I was getting so upset, but all I could find was a suicide line, a teenage hotline or the rape crisis line.  I don't know why my mother will not talk to any of us or why she is so mad at all of us.  Whenever I go to see her I leave the nursing home in tears because it is just so discouraging.

I don't want my final memories of my mother to be that she was furious with me and wouldn't talk to me.  I am so depressed by all of this that I am not eating regularly and not taking my medications like I should.  And to top it off, I am on the verge of losing my job because I don't have the energy or motivation to do any of the work. 

I'm sorry that this is so long, but I just feel so alone here trying to deal with all of this.

Date Posted: 5/28/2008 1:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2007
Posts: 237
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Peggy,

You are not alone. I am finding this a great place to vent too.

I talked to a friend of mine, who is a nurse and has worked in care centers. I was telling her about my mother, who was getting worse, more confused and speech more slurred. With all that going on, they released her from the hospital back to the care home where she passed out on them 2 weeks ago. She suggested talking to the Social Worker there rather than the nurses.

My brother happened to visit Mom last week just as they were taking her to dialisys. While she was being hooked up, he was able to share with the nurse the concerns that we have been having. After listening to him (Finally!!) they sent her over to the ER. She had a massive infection, a CT scan showed that she did have a stroke, and they even tested for meningitis and other brain infections by doing a spinal tap. She has been in ICU ever since my last posting.

We had car trouble, but it is fixed now, and we are headed out there this morning.

I first posted here because my mom had given up, and I felt SO helpless to know what to do. But she is doing a little better now that they have her on an antibiotic.

I also plan to find a book that was recommended in another thread in this forum - When Roles Reverse: Parenting Your Parents by Jim Comer  isbn # 1571745009. I think it will help both my brother and me deal with this.

Date Posted: 6/7/2008 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2006
Posts: 5,295
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A recommended book for people dealing with this issue is "When Love Gets Tough" by Doug Manning. I found many people who really see themselves through this book. There is a nursing home agency  chain(even though this book has nothing to do with this particular chain and only the subject of putting a loved one in a NH) that gives out free copies of this book. It is normally 8.50 I believe. Contact me if you need info on maybe where you could get a free book.



Last Edited on: 6/7/08 5:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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I was just reading Peggy's post and I feel so bad for her.  It's so difficult seeing your mom deteriorate, and hard to watch personality changes, as well as the physical alterations.  My mom had a stroke in May, 2007, and it has been a very rough year.  She is 88, and had been pretty independent. before her stroke  She's had to go from a retirement community to a nursing home since I just can't physically do the custodial care, plus I work two jobs with two kids in college. She has had to go on MediCal, since my brother and I can't swing the cost of $70,000+ per year for the nursing home.  I've managed to deal with most of the changes, as painful as they've been.  I've moved her possessions from her former residence to storage (and my garage), taken over her finances, and become her advocate at the nursing home.  In the beginning, as much as I love my mom, I was resistant to doing all these things since I already have a full plate.  My brother, who is retired, is unwilling to do much at all, other than to stay in touch with her with a weekly phone call, and will come twice a year for a couple of days so I can get out of town.  The decision-making mostly is mine, other than him voicing complaints from time to time.  Funny how that works!! 

My latest challenge has been dealing with a collections agency with the one bill that can't be paid on my mom's behalf.  It is for a mastercard, and as many times as I've contacted Bank of America, they still don't get that my mom only retains $35/ month after she has to pay share-of-cost.  The collections worker is convinced that she needs to pay it, or if not she, then the family EVEN THOUGH OUR NAMES ARE NOT ON THE CARD.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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I was just reading Peggy's post and I feel so bad for her.  It's so difficult seeing your mom deteriorate, and hard to watch personality changes, as well as the physical alterations.  My mom had a stroke in May, 2007, and it has been a very rough year.  She is 88, and had been pretty independent. before her stroke  She's had to go from a retirement community to a nursing home since I just can't physically do the custodial care, plus I work two jobs with two kids in college. She has had to go on MediCal, since my brother and I can't swing the cost of $70,000+ per year for the nursing home.  I've managed to deal with most of the changes, as painful as they've been.  I've moved her possessions from her former residence to storage (and my garage), taken over her finances, and become her advocate at the nursing home.  In the beginning, as much as I love my mom, I was resistant to doing all these things since I already have a full plate.  My brother, who is retired, is unwilling to do much at all, other than to stay in touch with her with a weekly phone call, and will come twice a year for a couple of days so I can get out of town.  The decision-making mostly is mine, other than him voicing complaints from time to time.  Funny how that works!! 

My latest challenge has been dealing with a collections agency with the one bill that can't be paid on my mom's behalf.  It is for a mastercard, and as many times as I've contacted Bank of America, they still don't get that my mom only retains $35/ month after she has to pay share-of-cost.  The collections worker is convinced that she needs to pay it, or if not she, then the family EVEN THOUGH OUR NAMES ARE NOT ON THE CARD.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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I was just reading Peggy's post and I feel so bad for her.  It's so difficult seeing your mom deteriorate, and hard to watch personality changes, as well as the physical alterations.  My mom had a stroke in May, 2007, and it has been a very rough year.  She is 88, and had been pretty independent. before her stroke  She's had to go from a retirement community to a nursing home since I just can't physically do the custodial care, plus I work two jobs with two kids in college. She has had to go on MediCal, since my brother and I can't swing the cost of $70,000+ per year for the nursing home.  I've managed to deal with most of the changes, as painful as they've been.  I've moved her possessions from her former residence to storage (and my garage), taken over her finances, and become her advocate at the nursing home.  In the beginning, as much as I love my mom, I was resistant to doing all these things since I already have a full plate.  My brother, who is retired, is unwilling to do much at all, other than to stay in touch with her with a weekly phone call, and will come twice a year for a couple of days so I can get out of town.  The decision-making mostly is mine, other than him voicing complaints from time to time.  Funny how that works!! 

My latest challenge has been dealing with a collections agency with the one bill that can't be paid on my mom's behalf.  It is for a mastercard, and as many times as I've contacted Bank of America, they still don't get that my mom only retains $35/ month after she has to pay share-of-cost.  The collections worker is convinced that she needs to pay it, or if not she, then the family EVEN THOUGH OUR NAMES ARE NOT ON THE CARD.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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I was just reading Peggy's post and I feel so bad for her.  It's so difficult seeing your mom deteriorate, and hard to watch personality changes, as well as the physical alterations.  My mom had a stroke in May, 2007, and it has been a very rough year.  She is 88, and had been pretty independent. before her stroke  She's had to go from a retirement community to a nursing home since I just can't physically do the custodial care, plus I work two jobs with two kids in college. She has had to go on MediCal, since my brother and I can't swing the cost of $70,000+ per year for the nursing home.  I've managed to deal with most of the changes, as painful as they've been.  I've moved her possessions from her former residence to storage (and my garage), taken over her finances, and become her advocate at the nursing home.  In the beginning, as much as I love my mom, I was resistant to doing all these things since I already have a full plate.  My brother, who is retired, is unwilling to do much at all, other than to stay in touch with her with a weekly phone call, and will come twice a year for a couple of days so I can get out of town.  The decision-making mostly is mine, other than him voicing complaints from time to time.  Funny how that works!! 

My latest challenge has been dealing with a collections agency with the one bill that can't be paid on my mom's behalf.  It is for a mastercard, and as many times as I've contacted Bank of America, they still don't get that my mom only retains $35/ month after she has to pay share-of-cost.  The collections worker is convinced that she needs to pay it, or if not she, then the family EVEN THOUGH OUR NAMES ARE NOT ON THE CARD.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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I was just reading Peggy's post and I feel so bad for her.  It's so difficult seeing your mom deteriorate, and hard to watch personality changes, as well as the physical alterations.  My mom had a stroke in May, 2007, and it has been a very rough year.  She is 88, and had been pretty independent. before her stroke  She's had to go from a retirement community to a nursing home since I just can't physically do the custodial care, plus I work two jobs with two kids in college. She has had to go on MediCal, since my brother and I can't swing the cost of $70,000+ per year for the nursing home.  I've managed to deal with most of the changes, as painful as they've been.  I've moved her possessions from her former residence to storage (and my garage), taken over her finances, and become her advocate at the nursing home.  In the beginning, as much as I love my mom, I was resistant to doing all these things since I already have a full plate.  My brother, who is retired, is unwilling to do much at all, other than to stay in touch with her with a weekly phone call, and will come twice a year for a couple of days so I can get out of town.  The decision-making mostly is mine, other than him voicing complaints from time to time.  Funny how that works!! 

My latest challenge has been dealing with a collections agency with the one bill that can't be paid on my mom's behalf.  It is for a mastercard, and as many times as I've contacted Bank of America, they still don't get that my mom only retains $35/ month after she has to pay share-of-cost.  The collections worker is convinced that she needs to pay it, or if not she, then the family EVEN THOUGH OUR NAMES ARE NOT ON THE CARD.w

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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I was just reading Peggy's post and I feel so bad for her.  It's so difficult seeing your mom deteriorate, and hard to watch personality changes, as well as the physical alterations.  My mom had a stroke in May, 2007, and it has been a very rough year.  She is 88, and had been pretty independent. before her stroke  She's had to go from a retirement community to a nursing home since I just can't physically do the custodial care, plus I work two jobs with two kids in college. She has had to go on MediCal, since my brother and I can't swing the cost of $70,000+ per year for the nursing home.  I've managed to deal with most of the changes, as painful as they've been.  I've moved her possessions from her former residence to storage (and my garage), taken over her finances, and become her advocate at the nursing home.  In the beginning, as much as I love my mom, I was resistant to doing all these things since I already have a full plate.  My brother, who is retired, is unwilling to do much at all, other than to stay in touch with her with a weekly phone call, and will come twice a year for a couple of days so I can get out of town.  The decision-making mostly is mine, other than him voicing complaints from time to time.  Funny how that works!! 

My latest challenge has been dealing with a collections agency with the one bill that can't be paid on my mom's behalf.  It is for a mastercard, and as many times as I've contacted Bank of America, they still don't get that my mom only retains $35/ month after she has to pay share-of-cost.  The collections worker is convinced that she needs to pay it, or if not she, then the family EVEN THOUGH OUR NAMES ARE NOT ON THE CARD.

Date Posted: 6/27/2008 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 21
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Sorry, I didn't quite finish the above post.  A few last sentences:  this collections deal has been a nightmare!!!  The collections worker even told my  mom that I'm just waiting for her to die, which couldn't be further from the truth.  I mailed off a cease and desist letter today, and will be filing a complaint with the FTC.  How sad that these people would keep calling an 88 year old lady in a nursing home, making threats.  It's a painful time all around.  I am trying to spend as much time with Mom as I can, visiting her daily, if possible.  I know the time I spend with her will never be regretted...

I always expected to raise my children, but never dreamed I'd be parenting  my parent...

 

Karen

Subject: Peggy's post
Date Posted: 6/28/2008 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2007
Posts: 4
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Peggy,

My mom was in a nursing home from March 2005 to October 2006.    It was an emotional rollercoaster for all of us.  She didn't want to be there and unfortunately, that was the best and only  choice.   My sister and I saw her daily.  Fortunately, at the beginning, I had a very flexible schedule and could visit her quite often.    She definitely had her moments of  Isolating, not wanting to participate in any activities, etc etc.    In addition to her heart problems, she had dementia.   A wonderful book I recommend (and is recommended by many physicians and caregiving organizations)  This is a wonderful book that addresses many of the situations and emotions you are experiencing.

36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace, Peter V. Rabins   

The last three months of my mom's life were very emotional.  Due to her stroke, she cried all the time.  I mean all the time.  Something happened in her brain.  It was difficult to leave her that way each day.   Her condition began to deteriorate rapidly.   We made the decision to put her into a hospice house after she had been admitted to the hospital.  Finally, I felt my mom had peace in her final days.   My only regret is that I did not have her evaluated sooner to go to hospice. 

The nursing home she was in was great for the most part.  There are always bad apples in any job.  My goal was to make sure my mom was as comfortable and happy as she could be.  Some days that was hard.  I wanted her to be "herself".  I would be angry sometimes, sad some days.    I'm grateful, my sister and I had each other and got along during this whole process.   That is another issue that can compound - siblings fighting during this time.       

It's clear there are many that have experienced what you are going through.  Just keep venting, talking.  You are not alone.  There are many caregiver support groups available out there through churches and nursing facilities. 

Maria

Subject: nursing home care
Date Posted: 12/23/2008 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2008
Posts: 11
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Hi,

I have worked in nursing homes for many years. If I can be of assistance please contact me.

 

Date Posted: 7/15/2009 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2007
Posts: 10
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I have cared for both my grandparents.  A few years ago, I had to place my grandmother in a nursing home since she was totally immobile and it was just me and my grandfather at home (she was 88 and he was 93 at the time).  It was a hard decision and she wanted to be home.  We visited her everyday for a few hours, sat with her (she did not speak English), talked to the nurses, etc...and it became our life.  I agree with another reply that it is an emotional rollercoaster - you can't care for them at home, but you feel like you always have to be there.   It was hard to juggle things then, and I know that I forgot to take care of myself, so by the time she passed away, I was a wreck - emotionally, mentally, physically - I was just plain exhausted (of course I was working full time and going to get my master's degree part time).  My suggestion for anyone who is dealing with this or with caring for another person - realize your limits - it is okay to pamper yourself and de-stress and do it often.