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Topic: Is It Time To Think Of A Nursing Home?

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Subject: Is It Time To Think Of A Nursing Home?
Date Posted: 4/28/2010 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/28/2009
Posts: 28
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Hi All,

My mother has been just recently diagnosed with Alzheimer.

She is 83, an insulin dependent diabetic and until last year was living on her own without any outside help. In September she fell down three carpeted stairs in her apt. and had broken her leg in three places. This resulted in a week long hospital stay and then a two month stay in a rehab facility.Since the hospital stay ,she has steadily gone down hill. While she has always been acerbic and had bouts with depression through out her life, this has increased dramatically in just the last few months. In the rehab facility her insulin dosage was changed and as a result she went into a diabetic coma. Thankfully she recovered from that quickly. I have two older sisters  who live near her, who help with her care and between the three of us, we were with her almost every waking moment from the time she was in the rehab. We were scared and anxious that another situation would happen. My mother has stopped watching television (she did not turn it on once in the rehab), stopped creating any of the crafty things she used to do, has no interest in reading or current events. The only thing she does is the search-a-word puzzles now. When she came back home, we arranged for a visiting nurse and home health aide. My mother refused to let them come back. We waited a little while and then arranged for new people to come in to help (with one of us always there) and again she refuses to let them come stating ' she can take care of herself'. One sister handles the medication, another the finances and we rotate transportation for Dr. visits etc. I  am the only one with a full time-outside job and I live almost an hour away. I write it that way because my sisters have homes, families and certainly have full-time inside jobs! I also have three other sisters who live in other states and advise us that whatever we decide to do they will agree to it.

However, now my mother has started leaving things on the stove and remembering them only when the pot boils dry. The neighbors tell us that she is either  withdrawn or seems loudly agitated. She is even more outspoken and rude. She says extremely hurtful things that leaves my sisters and I either in tears or angry. Last weekend I went  to her apt to fix meals for her. I wanted to make it easy for her to just use the microwave. She protested loudly ,saying she had plenty of food in the freezer already for the microwave.I checked and it was filled with TV dinners! She is not to have all of this processed food because of the sodium. I had shopped for her and as I was starting to prepare the food I commented on how hot it was in the apt. She blew up! I kept quiet but she went on and on and would not let it drop. She said 'that if people didn't like how  warm she kept her place they could just leave'. This last sentence was the kindest thing she said. Finally I couldn't take it anymore and I tried to keep my voice level and said that 'I hadn't meant that she keeps the apt. too warm but that it was warm out anyway." With that she told me to leave. I quietly put everything back in the fridge and left. I try very hard not to react to her but it is taking it's toll.

One of the biggest problems is knowing which is just 'her' and what is the disease. She was never a kind woman or a loving mother no matter what we did for her or what was happening in her life. She had a very hard time growing up and I believe that made her bitter and angry to the world. She certainly was not a woman who should have had children of her own! She does not join in activities or eating with others and does not like to be 'visited' by others.

My sisters are now ready to begin looking into nursing homes for her but  I am not so sure. The experience in the rehab facility has left me scared to death that she may be mis-treated because of her behavior and rudeness. And what if  she is not able to tell us? In the rehab no one was even aware she was slipping into a coma until my sister came to visit her that morning and arrived in the 'nick' of time' as they say. 

I know how hard it is for us to deal with her and she is our mother!  I just wonder how to trust anyone else to take care of her. But even though we all have offered her homes with each of us, she will not. It's as if she has given up on happiness and I find that terribly sad. She said she doesn't care if she goes into a 'home or not' but I know that is bravado and her way of dealing with what she must feel deep-down is inevitable.

She is on medications including Aricept but there has been no progress. The Dr also tried daily B-12 shots and said that we should see an improvement with that.............but we have not.

Well I did not mean for this to be so long, but did want to give a background. I hope I can come to terms with placing her in a nursing home but the hardest part is that she will be aware of her surroundings and will know that she is not coming home again. I feel it will truly be her descent.  It's a hard, hard situation for all involved..............................Christine

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2010
Posts: 2
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Hi Christine,

I am so sorry that you are in this situation! I might not be able to make decisions for you, but I can let you know that you are not alone. I know kinda how it feels, although my mom is the one that dealt with my grandmother most of the time. My mom was the only one of her kids that lived close enough (an hour, if thats close) and was the only one left in NY. My grandpa lived with grandma, but his health was terrible as well, so she actually spent days living with us out of the week. She was just too much to handle.

Certainly is a tough decision to make and I can see where you're coming from.

Like your mom, my grandma started doing crossword puzzles and the word searches CONSTANTLY...nothing else mattered to her after a while (I think we should have kept these books to be deciphered by a doctor....some random words were written by her, especially in the later stages).

Good luck and keep me posted on you're situation!

Hang in there! :-)

Date Posted: 7/8/2012 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2011
Posts: 271
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I know this is an old post, Christine, but I would like an update if you can. My situation is almost identical to yours - what is it with the word search puzzles, anyway?

Sheyen - ,
Date Posted: 7/9/2012 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2006
Posts: 2,885
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I wonder if it is their (deep seeded) way of keeping close to words and possibly education, or old habits.

I once had a resident, he picked up a bed pad (just a plastic one) opened it up like a newspaper and said "ah, the St Louis Post Dispatch" and proceeded to read it, as if it was actually the paper.  I was literally cracking up.  More than likely, in his mind, it was a paper.  So perhaps in their mind, the crossword puzzles and the word search is their connection.

Date Posted: 7/19/2012 6:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2006
Posts: 523
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Last Edited on: 7/20/12 2:56 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/4/2012 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2009
Posts: 61
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My dad had lung cancer and passed away in april, but me and my sister decided to put him in a nursing home. He never made it out of the hospital and died before we had to make  decision. Best advice I can give you is go to these nursing homes take a tour and ask questions. You can not do this by yourself that was the hard part for me. I worked a full time job and took care of my dad. The bills keep coming so we must all work. Many of the nursing homes I went thru had activites and were nice they are not all bad. I will remember you in my prayers.

Date Posted: 3/4/2013 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2010
Posts: 163
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you could also look into assisted living.  I know it is hard when your mother does the things your mother is doing.  I ended up having to leave the situation, because my mother became so abusive towards me.  I felt tremendous guilt and thought I must be the worst daughter ever.  Then one day my sister in law told me that she and my brother had NO IDEA how I had put up with it as long as I had.  My sister and her husband took over the duties, because they think they will get the property.   Isn't that just how it goes?


ANYWAY, do not feel guilty because your mother has decided to be this way, and seriously look into assisted living.

Date Posted: 10/8/2013 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2007
Posts: 16
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I'm sorry that you are having to live in such a situation. My mother was the same way: Mentally abusive, bitter and resentful and cruel. My opinion is that you should seriously look into the nursing home situation...not for her sake, for yours. Another poster suggested touring different homes. That's an excellent idea, but be sure to go with another person so you can have a better perspective. Choose one with activities like she suggested. I don't know how old you are, but the rest of your life needs to be calmer and more peaceful than it has been up to now. You (and your sisters) can always visit her and keep a check on her health situation. Have you considered visiting together (your sisters and you, to support each other)? My mother was less abusive if my brother and I visited her together. My mother passed 5 years ago and only now have I been able to realize what I was putting up with.  Best Wishes and I hope you make the right decision. It's a hard call, but necessary.