My mom is being discharged after 2 months in rehab center for a broken hip on Oct .9 . Alzheimers is in full swing. She will not walk with walker and has only been up with Physical therapist about 1/2 hr. each day. She is strong though and wants to be on the move. When I entered her room today she was sitting up in bed with her feet over the side of the bed and the alarm ringing and the girls rushing in. Yikes! I do not live at home and Dad will be caring for her. She will be going back to daycare 3 days a wk. She will also have nurses, PT and OT dropping in daily. One level house. Anyone have any suggestions re. taking her to bathroom when she is not 100% steady (and at times angry as hell) and it is just my dad there? Also, her eating is lacking. Anyone have suggestions on building up her appetite. She lost 10 lbs. over the rehab stretch. She is tiny to begin with. Any and all suggestions will be helpful. Not sure how long she will be home, but my dad wants her home as long as possible. She was pretty mobile before the hip, but dad was dressing her before then. Thanks and all have a safe night.
If your Mom is not steady on her feet and your Dad is unable to watch over her continually, I wonder if it's a good idea to let her go back home. If she is having angry outburst, is this something your Dad can handle alone at 2 am? Even with Daycare 3 days a week and various professionals dropping by, your Dad is going to end up caring for your Mom most of the time. Have you considered someone with your parents round the clock for at least a while until you find out how difficult your Mom will be to care for? Perhaps someone at night at least? My Mom wanted to keep Dad at home as long as possible. She wanted to stay at home herself. Mom still wants to be at home. But I would will never take them back home..... it is not safe for them there. Keep a close watch on what goes on when she gets home..... they will tend to cover for each other
As far as her appetite, give her what she likes the best. My grandmother wouldn't eat much but give her a barbecued rib and she would clean the bone!! You can also give her liquid supplements. My dad loves ice cream. It is a matter of finding what taste good to her.....
I wish you luck with this sutation.... I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers....
The good thing is that my mother sleeps thru the night. Always has. Know that might not always be the way. I am not sure that she should be coming home so soon, but the rehab set the discharge date and my Dad thinks he can handle it (and there is no changing my Dad's mind). He is 76 and in good health. He says he will just take things slow. She is on meds for her angry outbursts and that does calm her and if my dad brushes her forehead she calms down. My dad has the patience of a saint. I am more worried about the balance of her pulling them both down if she gets topsy-turvy in a small area like the bathroom- although my dad is a big guy and my mom is tiny. The rehab says her balance is "hand -held assist" if that helps. Re: eating....is it better just to feed her a bunch of junkfood (icecream, shakes,cookies, etc)which she would eat to get in the calories or little health food which she will fight us?
Thank you again. I feel totally lost and each day is a new situation to fill my mind with.
If your Dad wants to be with her rather than having her at some kind of facility, there are assisted living apartments where couples can stay together almost until the end. Usually they come along with a guarantee of a place in the nursing home under the same company's auspices. The elderly people stay together, but get help with such things as laundry, they eat at a cafeteria once a day or more, depending on what plan they sign up for, they get help with cleaning, someone supervises the dosaging of medicines, etc.
This is a good solution for couples. Often the sale price for their family home, (usually way too big and complicated to maintain) more than pays for the initial fee and maintenance fees, and there is no more yard work, snow shoveling, etc.
But the best part is that these places offer a huge quantity of activities, anything from card playing to art and writing workshops. Some have a gym or a pool. This might be the answer for your parents.
We all feel invincible until we get into a situation and then we don't know how to get out of it. I remember thinking that I could do anything necessary to keep Mom and Dad at home. I tried. Now I know better! Martha is right. Mom and Dad are in an Assisted Living facility designed for dementia patients. They are in an apartment together, with their own furniture. Mom has her moments when she wants to be somewhere different but that's to escape the confusion in her head not where she lives. Dad loves it there, calls it home, and just wants everybody to be as happy as he is.
Get your Dad as much help as possible. He may be willing and in good health but constant caregiving will take it's toll. Have you thought about a medic alert necklace of bracelet for her. You can get a monitored one that if pressed outside help will arrive. Even if your Dad wears it, for those incidents like you mentioned, it might give you a little more peace of mind.
I have found that both of my parents now have an incredible sweet tooth. You can figure out how to use that sweet tooth to your advantage. Ice cream is a dairy product. Yogurt is good. Put brown sugar in your sweet potatoes and sugar in your carrots. A thin coating of chocolate over fruit works as well. Fruit smoothies and V8 Fruit Fusion are other options. Turn zucchini into zucchini bread. Muffins with fruit or pumpkin in them work. It's like hidding veggies from a kid. Take a nutritional supplement and make a milk shake out of it. Don't just turn her lose with a bag of chocolate candy but use her preferences to your advantage and be creative...
Hand held assist? YIKES!!!! (I wish this computer had bigger fonts and super-caps...if it did, I would use them right now...)brokenhearted, you are a saint, but FERGOODNESSSAKE DON'T TAKE HER HOME!!!!
My dad, whom I take sole care of 24/7/365, is also deteriorating into hand held assist. Look - it's TOUGH. My back hurts, I overstretched a muscle in my neck...just trying to help 140 lbs get out of a seated position. You say dad is in good shape? I am 53 and in excellent shape. And it's breaking ME down! Your dad is a saint. But I am here to tell you - it's going to wear him down, and fast. And if she's not eating well, this is a big bite to tear off, my dear.
Daddy also has a massive sweet tooth. Haagen Daz is his best friend. Cake and ice cream is keeping his weight up. Cereal with sugar 'bout every morning, except when he has hotcakes with about 1/2 cup of syrup. And I swear...he hasn't had broccoli in a month. I don't care anymore. If it takes a pint of Haagen Daz to sweeten up his disposition, so be it. Is it good for him? Absolutely not. Does it make him happy? Yeppers. Do we know how long daddy has? Nope. So I will continue to pour on the Haagen Daz at every opportunity. His doctor has no problem with this, as with the frequency of dad's TIAs....
I wish you every happiness, brokenhearted. Stay close by and write often. You will find that it helps.
Last edited by skimps46; 09-29-2008 at 11:50 AM.
Reason: skimps can't spell, apparently....
I'm with you on the food issue little deb. You give them what they will eat, fool them the best you can with good stuff between the layers of sugar, and know that it's the calorie intake rather than the substance of the food that matters most.
The doctor stayed upset with us because we fed grandmother barbeque sandwiches and barbeque ribs. "Didn't we know her cholesterol was high?" Well, yes we did.... but that was about all she would eat (other than sweets) for about a year. She was rail thin and watching her enjoy sucking on a rib bone was a delight to her and to us. There was no way the little bit of additional cholesterol she was getting from those ribs would make any difference. I only see a major problem when the loved one has diabetes as well. Then you DO have to watch their sugar/carb intake because it can cause immediate health problems. But basically..... let them eat what they will and fool them the best you can. I have never seen "refused to eat broccoli" as a cause of death! I am a firm believe in Nutritional Supplement shakes. Take the can, add ice cream, and blend. They think they have a treat when in fact they have a nutritional supplement. Mom and Dad have fallen in love with V8Fusion. It's a fruity tasting drink that is excellent over ice... and has a full serving of fruit and vegetable in it. Throw in a cookie made with pumpkin or a piece of zucchini bread and you have a meal Mom and Dad both ate boxes and boxes of sweet cereal before they left home. If you chose carefully (kept them supplied with the better choices) and served with fruit and milk, sweet cereal as much nutrients as they would from a regular breakfast.
Glad you knew the "hand held assit level" little deb. Mom and Dad are still ambulatory. My only dealing with that is when Dad was in his Xanax overdose and that only lasted a few days.
Broken..... make sure they send your Mom home with a gait-belt. It is a wide band that velcros around the waist. It makes it so much easier to lift a patient and especially easy to hold on to them. I use Dad's pants belt all the time when he gets a little wobbly. You can guide and hang on to them without interfering with their walking and keeps you out of the way in case they should fall. Also be sure that the Physical Therapist teach your Dad how to properly lift your Mom and use the gait belt. There are techniques that make it easier... especially putting your arms under their arm pits and around the body instead of pulling an arm. That way he lifts with his legs and body and not pulling neck, back, and shoulder muscles. It is as important for the caregiver to know how to care for the unstable patient as it is to try to teach the patient stability. It will prevent your Dad being injured.
I do hope all goes well for you. Get your Dad all the help you can.... and good luck. Keep typing...
PS.... little deb.... check with your dad's doctor about in home PT. Medicare should pay for it on a limited basis. Then use pick the PT person's brain for tips that will help you prevent the injuries you described!!!! You can order a gait belt through your local pharmacy and they are worth their weight in gold once you get used to using them.... or just use the back of your dad's belt as your "handle".
Deb, you are a Godsend. I had no idea that I could talk to dad's doc about getting a little PT in here. His shuffling is worrying me. See, we live in Denver, Colorado. It snows here. Not a little, either. It snows BUCKETS and TONS. Since dad ambulates by a 4" shuffle, and his feet never are really picked up, (he literally shuffles his feet) I am terrified that he will take 2 steps out the door this winter, and broken hip, here we come! Some PT will help that!
And a gait belt. Why didn't I think of that? I also use daddy's belt to stabilize him, and I have saved him from a couple of face plants that way. Thank God for strong leather belts. 'Bout pulled my arm out of the socket (who would think that 140 lbs of man would be so hard to levitate?), but it kept him from landing on his lips.
I must get some services in here. And dad's doc can order? Wow. I never knew. What ELSE can she order? It's one thing to have this job - it's worse to not know what the hell you're doing. I guess that's me.
He can order a nurse to check his vitals as well.... Check with your doctor for all the possibilities. Also if your Dad is end stage ALZ and has complicating problem (such as heart problems) you might qualify for hospice to come in a few hours a day. Again.... these things are ordered by the doctor. Ask him what services are availabe and what services your Dad qualifies for. You might also call the ALZ association. They can be most helpful in telling you what you qualify for. Dad had PT, Nurse to check his vitals, and an aid to help him shower when he came home from the hospital... Mom fired them and told them not to come back !!!ARG!!!!