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Old 02-06-2009, 04:19 PM   #1
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Grandmother broke hip

Hi everyone,

My name is Joel. I seldom post, but have been visiting the board for several years now. I am the sole caretaker for my grandmother, age 91 with approx. stage 5 Alz. I've been caring for her in my home for 6 yrs. as her dementia has progressed. The past two years have been extremely difficult, and the past 6 months have been very intense as her dementia worsened. I have had a sitter for 3 years while was working, but at night it was just she and I. She has really bad sundowning, and for the past few months, I have been getting only 3-4 hrs. of sleep. She had also gotten to the point where she would not bathe or change clothes, wearing the same clothes for weeks until they were dirty and smelled, refusing to even take them off at bedtime, sometimes even sleeping in her shoes.

She fell on Jan. 19 and broke her hip, and was placed in a nursing home 3 days later. Fortunately, the home is a mile from my workplace, so I can see her everyday. Her doctor has recommended a permanent placement, with which I agree. A relative told me that God had taken the decision out of my hands, and I guess that's true. I am pleased with the home so far, and the staff is really nice. At least she gets bathed and clean clothes put on. It has been an adjustment for my grandmother. At first, she refused to eat and would spit out her food, but that is much better now. She also didn't sleep at all the first few nights, but they have started her on seroquil and that has helped. They are doing rehab on her hip, but the dementia makes it more difficult, and I don't know if she'll walk again. She was fully mobile before, and being confined to a chair is difficult for her. She does not understand that her hip is broken, only that it hurts.
The biggest issue she's having now is constipation, due to the pain med. and lack of mobility. They've had to give her a mild laxative the past two days, and it takes an lot out of her, having to be helped to the toilet so many times. When she gets exhausted like that, the dementia is worse.

She's always so glad to see me, and gives me a big hug and smile, which warms my heart. It is very hard for me to detach from the situation. When I'm not there, I am constantly thinking of her, wondering how she is and if she's ok. I always thought when the day came for her to go to a NH, it would make things easier, but it's just a whole different kind of worry. I am grateful though that I was able to get her into a good faciltiy and that things have worked out okay so far.

Joel

 
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:53 PM   #2
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

Hi Joel,
I remember you very well. I'm sorry your Grandma broke her hip. It must be so painful. I think your relative is right. For your sake maybe God did take the decision out of your hands. You cannot go on getting so little sleep and working all day. Plus the stress of caring for your Grandma. Who told you that you were "superman"?? A question a wise woman once ask me.

I'm sure that Grandma is feeling better now that she is clean and eating and sleeping without her shoes on. Bless your heart. Your right it is a different kind of worry but in your heart you must know its the best thing for Grandma and you. Your not going to be exhausted now and you can see her when you want and be well rested and enjoy what time you have with her.

So sorry she was hurt but glad for you both that things have changed for the better. They really are better even if your still not sure. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that things continue to go well. You did the right thing.

Love Chris

 
Old 02-06-2009, 05:05 PM   #3
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

Dear Joel,

Your story parallels mine in almost every way.

My Mom fell and broke her hip at age 97. After a few days in the hospital, where they repaired the broken bone, she was sent to a rehab center. There they tried to do various exercises with her to get her back up on her feet. At most she took a few steps. After 2 months the rehab said she was not meeting their expectations and she was taken off rehab. Medicare stopped paying for her residence there, although they would have paid 3 months if she had been improving.

To make a long story shorter, she remained in a wheelchair and in that same place, in the unit for long term care patients, for the rest of her life. She was very happy there and made a good adjustment, although her mind was still deteriorating.

She lived 2.5 years there, and died in Dec 07 at the age of 99!

I hope your Grandma can stay where she is. We got Mom on Medicaid with the help of an Elderlawyer. Her own money was spent down first, including prepaying her funeral. Needless to say she knew nothing of all this, she thought her insurance paid for everything.

I was very satisfied with the care she got. Always clean, washed, hair combed, teeth brushed, dressed and sitting up. They never left anyone in bed all day unless physically ill. The nurses, many of them from Barbados, hugged Mom and told her they loved her. She was a sweet old lady and her dementia did not make her angry.

I wish you all the best and hope your grandma adjusts well and is happy there. I agree that she ought to stay there.

Love,

Martha

 
Old 02-06-2009, 06:27 PM   #4
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

Joel, I understand the worry with her away from you..when my mom first went to live where she is now I was a nervous wreck thinking about her, but now, a year later, I can see it really is the best for her.

But you want to know what lights her face up more than anything...my son, her grandson. They really do have such a special place in their hearts for you "boys".

My son called her this morning and spoke to her for only a moment but for her it was like Christmas and the 4th of July all tied up together in that one phone call.
He has played a major role in her care and I told him last week that he may have a lot of the burden of this disease but because of it he will have the glory..the glory of spending this time with his grandmother...a time he can look back on years from now and remember with a smile on his lips and in his heart.

Bless you for all you have done...you are so lucky to have one another.

Love, Meg

 
Old 02-06-2009, 09:23 PM   #5
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

I also remember you Joel. Glad you let us know what was happening with you and your grandmother. I am so very sorry that she broke her hip but it may well be a blessing in disguise. I am sure you were becoming frayed from working all day and staying up at night. I will ditto Chris's question. Who told you that you were superman! I threw my cape away LONG ago.

Take the doctors advice and leave your grandmother right where she is. She is getting the additional care she is going to need. No, she can not remember that she broke her hip. She will try to do what she cannot do, at least for a while. The staff knows what they are doing and will care for her. It sounds as if she is adjusting. Yes, they do tend to throw a temper tantrum worthy of the best two year old when they are first moved. If your Mom is settling into her new surroundings then it is best for her to remain there.

We all worry about our charges like they were our children. We know they are dependent on us and we want to do our best for them. As you become more confident of the staff your mind will ease. As you both adjust to the new situation, all change is stressful, your mind will ease. You will be able to go see her when you are rested and enjoy the visit which is better than dealing with her sundowning all evening. Just know that if there is a problem, they WILL call you. It is as big an adjustment for you as it is for her. For so long three quarters of your life revolved around your grandmother. Now you have to figure out what to do with all that time Make the best of it!!

Love, deb

 
Old 02-07-2009, 05:54 AM   #6
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

Dear Joel.

I know this is going to be hard for you to hear but I always (asky anyone here) I tell it like it is:

1) you did the best you could

2) sometimes things happen for a reason and I believe in this case, God stepped in to help you understand that she couldn't stay home anymore


3) you are a wonderful individual who still has a lot to do in this world. Therefore . . .

YOU must make a life for yourself. Find groups or activities through church, or job. If a group asks you to come out with them tonite, go. If they don't, you do the inviting. Start with co-workers, etc. Fill the time -- go visit grandma but don't make that your new part-time job!

YOU need to have a life outside of this.

I worry about my sister who at 58 has done nothing for the last 8 years but be front and center with my mother who is now in a NH. She is being jerked around by beauracy but I tell her to just let the lawyer handle it even if we have to pay him a little. They don't believe that we weren't living high on the hog on mom's money and that everything was used for her care.

My sister does need to go back to do some sort of work. At least you have and had a job, that is good.

Please find anything -- even something where you volunteer your hours to help someone.

Please know this is said with love and from someone on the outside who is watching and seeing. Also during my grief therapy session, there was a set of twin boys who were 58 when their mother passed. These two boys ever worked outside the home except to do handy-man work for their mother's friends, etc. Otherwise 24/7 they were filled with loving and caring for their Mom. When she was in hospital, one slept on floor under her bed the other in a chair the hospital provided. When home and she could not breathe laying down, one slept on the couch while the other slept on the floor by her feet when she slept in the recliner.

It was sad to know these two "boys" men had no friends, no outside activities and truly no means of sustainable income. I wonder how they're doing now? but this is tough.

You must allow yourself to laugh again, have fun again, and enjoy life again. you don't say if you're married, or anything.

be happy, you are allowed

CaringSister54

 
Old 02-07-2009, 08:11 AM   #7
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. I know that my Grandmother is in the best place and I accept that. I'm grateful that we were fortunate to find her a place in a nice facility that is so near my job.
Finding a nursing home placement is not easy! During the search process we were not sure that we would be able to find a bed availavble locally.
I am now going through the medicaid application process. I don't anticipate any problems; I know that she meets the qualifications.

I am determined to build a live for myself. I used to have one before all this started, and I know I can get it back. I told someone last week that it's hard to remember who I was or how I felt before all this started. I do know from reading this board over the years that there is life after Alzheimer's, and I know that when she is gone I will have a clear conscience and can take comfort in knowing I did what I could. My grandmother's only other immediate family, her son, lives 600 miles away. He has not been to see her in two years. Always has some excuse, says he can't handle seeing her like this. He is the one who will have to live with that after she's gone. She's the only family I have (my parents are both dead, my mom was her daughter), so my Grandma and I have always been extremely close. I'm not married, but I do have some good friends and a job that keeps me busy. I also have hobbies that I used to love but have not been able to participate in for a long time, but I am going to try to get involved again. I know I'm going to be ok. Thanks again, and I will keep everyone posted on how things are going.

Joel

 
Old 02-07-2009, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: Grandmother broke hip

You give me hope Joel! You have the right idea. Get involved in things you used to enjoy and find new interest. You Mom and Dad and Grandmother did something very right when they raised you. Go forward with your head held high that you did what was good and right. You are right in that your uncle will have to live with the consequences of his decisions, as you will live with yours and the good feelings they give you. Keep us informed on your progress and that of your grandmother. Yes, you do give me hope

Love, deb

 
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