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Old 12-21-2008, 08:05 AM   #1
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Just needing to vent

Hello! This is my first time posting on this board. The story is long so I won't go into too much detail. My mom is currently in the hospital with pneumonia. This is her second hospital stay in a month. She has a history of COPD, emphysema, mini strokes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes. She had been doing pretty well considering~living in a retirement home, off oxygen, playing euchre, bingo, socializing, quit smoking 10 years ago, etc. I would say within the last few months my sister and I noticed her repeating the same sentences in the same conversation or calling us back and repeating the last conversation. Well, her health went downhill pretty fast. I went to check on her and her apartment reeked of smoke. Yes, she had taken up smoking again! She became a chain-smoking shut-in that was too weak to go downstairs to check her mail. We're not sure now if her memory and confusion is a form of dementia or lack of oxygen from smoking. We are very doubtful that she will be safe living by herself anymore. Now the decisions of assisted living vs. nursing home vs. living with me. I guess I am writing this because I am so confused, sad, etc. Last night when I saw my mom roll over for the young male nurse to empty her bed pan and wipe her, it was about all I could take. I wanted to scream at him to stop and at her to be embarrassed, to show some idignation that this was happening, to not just give her humilty up like that! We have a small house, both work full time, have a teenager in the home, but I feel I owe it to her to try to take care of her, if I can. Then again, I don't know if I have it in me. I don't kow if she would be happy with me, or if she would be happier with people her own age. Maybe I'm trying to convince myself that she would like living in a nursing home. Pretty creative of me, huh? Well, thanks for listening. I better go to the hospital and see how she is doing.

 
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Old 12-21-2008, 09:06 AM   #2
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Re: Just needing to vent

Newbie...please consider this a gentle nudge to get your Mom into assisted living or a nursing home...just too much seems to be going on for you to be able to take care of her on your own.

Most here remember too well the guilt of final decisions to do this...but, I'm sure all would agree placement is absolutely the safest environment for our loved ones. Those who have/are taking care of their loved ones at home...bless, bless, bless you...I cannot imagine how your lives have changed and revolved completely around this unasked for challenge!

I hope you are able to go over past posts here that pertain to the changes that are unavoidable in dealing with any kind of dementia...

Learn all you can! It's a bumpy road....but lots of soft shoulders are here..........Pam

 
Old 12-21-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
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Re: Just needing to vent

Taking good care of Mom doesn't necessarily mean taking mom home with you and don't it by yourself. It means doing what is best for Mom and from you have explained here a nice nursing home is what is necessary for your Mom to have the quality care that she needs. Remember that caring for her is a 24/7 undertaking with no breaks. You Mom needs so much care that it would be unfair to her for you to learn on the job. Consider what is best for you both!

I know the frustration. We placed Mom and Dad in AL 15 months ago. It was not easy but they are better for it

Love, deb

 
Old 12-21-2008, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: Just needing to vent

Newbie,
My Mom just came home from the hospital after being gone from the home for 2 months for what started out to be an infection in the bone of her toe. That cleared up very well. However she ended up with all kinds of other issues she has a hx of Congestive heart failure. She has Diabetes, High blood pressure as well. Last year she had 7 admissions into the hospital. With each admission she came home more and more confused. On this admsission in, she was nearly intubated from the CHF. Spent a week in ICU. WHen the time finally came for her to be discharged. Dad wanted her to come home. She also wanted to come home. She was back and forth from hospital to rehab so many times. I had to gently remind him of how difficult it will be having her home. I live in the home as well. With all her medical issues and her demential so bad I felt she really needed to go back to the Rehab. He stood his ground and had her discharged home. Well, she has only been home 4 days and I can see the decline in her cognitive abilities. She paces around the house with her walker. Moving things from one place to another all day. Just wanders aimlessly around the house. Spends hours rumaging through her drawers just pulling things out. Like a little kid just pulling things all apart. Oh and the worst is she fell on Friday night and smashed her forhead aganist the base board of the wall. I was standing right near her and could not control her fall. She broke her glasses. Knocked out her dentures and suffered the biggest gash in her forehead. She is so lucky she didn't have any reprecusions from it. She would not allow us to call 911. Quite frankly I could see how traumatized she would of been if we had called 911. So dad and I played doctor and nurse and got her fixed up. She has a very bad black and blue eye and a big gash on her head. I can only imagine what the VNA is going to say when she comes on Monday??? I have also cleaned up many messes in the bathroom that she is not aware she has down.
it is a very big undertaking. You need to re evaluate the situation and really give this a great deal of thought.
Just wanted to give you an idea of what lies ahead for you if you decide to take her home. Good luck and I wish you all the best. It is not easy!!

LOve Pauline

Last edited by polina; 12-21-2008 at 05:27 PM.

 
Old 12-21-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: Just needing to vent

Thank you all for the responses! I went to see mom a couple of times today. She seemed better the first visit, maybe it just appeared that way because they had washed her hair and had her sitting up in a chair. I mentioned to her that there is a good chance she won't be able to live alone when she leaves the hospital. I asked her how she felt about it. She just shrugged her shoulders. I asked her what she thought about living with me. I'm not going to lie, I was holding my breath. She said, "God, no!" I started laughing. She was pretty confused tonight when I went. The nurse said that sometimes patients do show more confusion when the sun goes down. I asked her if she had dinner and she said yes. The patient on the other side of the curtain tells me that she hadn't had dinner. They checked her blood sugar and it was 70 so they brought her some sherbert since the kitchen was closed. Maybe it's just me, but it seems the hospital should be making sure she is fed! I guess she kept getting out of bed (told on again by her neighbor) so they set the alarm on the bed to go off if she tries again. I was carrying on a conversation with her neighbor on the other side of the curtain and mom kept looking at me and saying, "Who are you talking to?" It sounds like everyone here has so much going on, too. I think I'm probably starting a long journey. I just feel so sad for mom seeing her laying there so confused. I really appreciate your replies and your expertise and advice!

 
Old 12-22-2008, 02:55 AM   #6
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Re: Just needing to vent

People with Dementia often have something called 'sundowning' .. in the late afternoon to evening they become agitated, superactive, restless, irrational and sometimes angry. It is always a good idea to visit them in the daytime.

I am not sure what the patient in the next bed is in there for. Maybe she is right about food, etc, or maybe not. Perhaps she thinks you are talking about her, not your Mom.

Since your Mom doesn't really want to live with you, a good assisted living facility seems like the best answer. Usually hospitals have a social worker on staff who helps you to find such a place, deal with the move, figure out how to finance it, etc. Good luck! My mother was in a good nursing home for 2.5 years, which was a good place for her. She was treated well, with understanding and love. Mom passed away just after Christmas a year ago, at the age of 99.

Good luck,

Love,

Martha

 
Old 12-22-2008, 04:05 AM   #7
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Re: Just needing to vent

Martha is so very right about the sundowning. My Mom becomes like a whole different person at night. Now that she is home that is the worst part of the day for her, myself and Dad. Unfortunately, because I work all day I am just getting in at 6:30 7:00 right at the height of her sundowning. Her behavior becomes just like Martha said agitated,restless, irrational and very angry. Most days that is when I would love to walk back out the door. She eventually settles down and will go to bed.
I also noticed when she was in the hospital and rehab she wouldn't eat anything as well. So Dad and I would have a schedule whereas he would be there at lunch time everyday and I would try to be there at dinner time just to try to feed her. I used to say the same thin g to my dad They really should have someone come in and help her eat. The nurses are way to busy for that. Perhaps you can set up a metting with the Case management at the hospital to discuss a discharge plan.

Love Pauline

 
Old 12-22-2008, 07:01 AM   #8
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Re: Just needing to vent

Polina...you are learning first-hand only one part of this horrendous disease...and it's such a shame your only time with Mom is when sundowning occurs. My Mom used to get up and wander into other patients rooms...steal whatever she could and truly thought they had taken HER things! So many stories we all could tell you about just this part of Alzheimer's!

newbie...I think Martha could be on to something also...you cannot absolutely believe what the room mate says. She is there for the same reason.

Such tough decisions lay ahead...one of the most difficult helping your Father understand the importance of placement. Keep posting...lots of help reaching out to soften this burden..........Pam

 
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