I get a call at 6:40 this morning from my sister. I'm half awake and not fully registering that the phone is ringing even though it's loud. Anyway...she doesn't leave a message. I call her back and she doesn't answer. I then get a lovely text message from her. "On my way over to mom to pick her up off the floor. She fell last night and it took her all night to crawl across the floor to reach the phone. No there's nothing wrong!" The last sentence is what pissed me off. She couldn't just say mom fell last night can you come and help me.
She apparently thinks I'm in denial about the proper care for her and that she knows best. She is still talking about putting her in a home. I'm pissed because I don't think she needs one. She's still very with it and the only trouble that she's having is her knee. It gives out and that's why she fell.
I show up at mom's and she's already sitting in a chair in her living room. She was alert, but mostly embarrassed which I don't blame her. I feel awful that my mother had to spend her night like that.
Now, back up approximately last week or so. We both went to her doctor's appointment. I'm on her chart as a HIPAA contact and unfortunately so is my sister now. My sister is telling the doctor what she sees, I'm telling the doctor what I see. They both don't mesh. My mom is telling the doctor what she sees. Basically three different stories.
The doctor performs a brief memory test. She asked her 30 different questions - What year is it, what's today's date, Who are your daughters, what is your address, etc... She passed each question 30 out of 30.
The doctor then ordered a series of blood tests and they took 6 vials. The test come back and she has no UTI, Blood sugar is normal, b-12 is good, kidneys are fine, LDL cholesterol is high, Thyroid is high. She has to have more lab work in one month. She's back on thyroid meds and cholesterol meds. Apparently this is not good enough for my sister. She doesn't believe that mom is continuing to do her physical therapy exercises at home. I believe she is. She can stand up from a seated position much better than before. So I'm seeing an improvement, why would she need to go into a nursing home. My understanding of a nursing home is for people who can't care for themselves at all and is no longer functioning at in an independent way.
Then my sister is telling me when I come over to clean (not that she's volunteering to help) to make sure I do this and that. She can certainly tell me what to do but she won't help.
I had to wait to post this to calm down, but now that I'm writing this out I'm getting angry all over again.
What is wrong with people. Why do some people just want to tuck people away when that person just needs some extra help. My mom took care of us for all those years, why can't we take care of her now?
What does your mom want? I ask because it seems that you and your sister want two very different things.
My tolerance for stupid shit is getting less and less.
It's so hard to watch our parents age, isn't it? The ones who once looked after us now need help from us.
I know absolutely nothing about the healthcare system in the States, and am only going by what's available here in Canada, so YMMV, of course. Here, there are varying degrees of assisted living available. They range from places where a senior looks after everything on their own (ie. meals, laundry, etc.) and only has someone check up on them every so often, all the way to hospital-like settings where a senior relies on others 100% and is essentially bedridden. Many seniors hear the words "nursing home" and simply assume that it's the latter, where they wait until The End comes. It simply isn't the case. In many assisted living complexes, which essentially look like high-end condos, these seniors have a much more active and enjoyable social life than if they had remained alone in their own houses, as so many of them want to do. Perhaps there is something along these lines where you are that your mom might want to look into.
I am in no way suggesting that your dear mother needs a home, SD, this is nothing more than information for information's sake. I'm hoping that it may be helpful to your family somehow.
There used to be medical panic button necklaces available for seniors, where, in the event of an emergency fall, they could press a button and EMS would be dispatched to them. Would this be an option, perhaps? Mom could continue living in her home and you and your sister would have peace of mind knowing that help was available if needed.
Good luck SD. I'll be thinking about you.
Enjoying this chapter in my life.
Learning that being alone does not mean being lonely.
Discovering that where I've been is not as important as where I'm going.
If I'm right, that's sad
Thanks so much, EN. We have places like that here, too. There are a couple right in my town. One of them specializes in alzheimers patients. I was thinking this morning, on my way home, to go and talk to them, find out the "ins and outs" about how things are run and get their professional opinion so when (hopefully never) the time comes I'll have the knowledge to make the best decision for my mother.
I remember those buttons. I'll have to look into those. She's not house bound so I'm not sure if it would work outside the home or if it's something she can use just when she's home. She still goes down to my sister's store to help her out so she is more than capable.
I talked to her again this afternoon and she sounded fine. She does have a bump on her head from the fall. She said she fell like a ton of bricks, nothing graceful about this fall. But she doesn't seem to have any issues from the bump which is good.
You should also be aware the she wouldn't have to go from her own home to a nursing home; there are interim steps--senior living, assisted living, then nursing home.
Senior living--they do everything for themselves except (in some cases) cook. Some places actually are just self-contained apartments or condos for seniors only. Others have dining facilities and can be quite nice.
Assisted living--they can have help getting dressed, bathing, cleaning, etc. but are still ambulatory. The complexes offer buses that take residents shopping, to religious services, to shows, etc. They can be quite nice and inexpensive up to ridiculously expensive. You have to do your homework.
In many cases, assisted living places have the next step-nursing home-on premises as the last step in life's journey.
I used to administer a program for the 'I've fallen and I can't get up' units, and no, they often don't work outside. Their range is limited by distance from the unit and the construction of the dwelling.
If your mom is not ready to move into senior living, she should carry her cell phone with her RELIGIOUSLY. Just like with teenagers, seniors have to be responsible if they are going to live alone.
As the health deteriorates, there are also apartments and dorm style rooms on the same property, with increased nursing care and assistance with things like falls or memory lapses or meds, etc. It's cool, because they can buy into the condo part, and then when they need to move a few years (or many years) later, that original purchase price applies toward their new digs, like they trade the condo for the apartment and then trade the apartment for the dorm rooms that are more like what you think of as a "nursing home" and don't have to keep paying every time. I think there is also a monthly fee, like your HOA dues or condo fees but to cover the medical care as well as amenities.
Have you, your sister or your mom actually checked out any of the facilities in your area?
As others have already mentioned, there are options besides a nursing home for your mom. Check out your options that are right in town. See if it's something that your family can afford and talk with your mom about what she wants.
Why do some people just want to tuck people away when that person just needs some extra help.
You said it yourself... your mom needs some extra help. See what you can find to help her out.
2 boys: 8 and 9.5
baby: on the way
JUST seeing this now. Ugh, I'm so sad and frustrated for you.
I wish you could just text her back and say, "I want to have a functional dialogue with you. Can you please put your "bitch" switch in "off" mode for just a little while?"
You just do what you can for your mom and try to imagine a foghorn sound over where you sister is talking.
I am familiar with all the different levels of senior living/care. It's definitely something I'm going to research, that way I can make a proper and informed decision.
Thank you MF777 and WW for mentioning the POA. That is something I will approach with my mother soon. I know that she does have a will but I do need to talk to her about it. After watching what my cousin went through with my Aunt and not knowing her wishes, I want to have a discussion with my mother about hers. I just want to what she wants in the future.