I just heard from a dear old friend in Germany. Our children went to nursery school together long ago. Recently she has been taking care of her father at home, who has Alzheimer's Disease. She has a bad back. The inevitable happened, she was trying to get him up out of bed to shower and dress him (he is fully incontinent, 90 years old, and resists being washed) when they both fell. She called emergency and they came and took him to the hospital.
He was OK, just bruised. BUT they also found a fungus infection on the skin of his buttocks, found him undernourished, and decided he could not go back to his daughter's care. They declared her incompetent to be his caregiver, and sent him to a nursing home. Not the one in her town which is within walking distance but in another town.
I have been trying to get her to put him in a NH for the past 2 years, but especially when I stopped in to see her last May and found the whole house stank because he was peeing or defecating all over the house and she could not keep up with the work. But it took a fall and emergency services coming into the house to get him there.
Now she is trying to get her life back together again, having been his caregiver for years. Not able to leave the house, not able to have friends over, etc. Her 2 sons live in a big city quite far away and hardly ever come to see her, never mind help her.
She herself has a very bad back and will need surgery, and lifting him and physically fighting with him to get him into the shower did not help that.
I thought of the brave people on this Board who are also trying to keep their loved one at home thinking it is the best thing ... in my friend's case it was not. Neither for him nor for her. She had no idea he had this fungus infection ... now on top of everything else she feels gulty.
Hope this story helps someone out there needing to make a hard decision.
that is a very sad story. it did help me with thinking i still want to take my mother out of the nm and let her go back and live with my dad. i cant help feeling like that, but i know its not possible. i am very sorry to hear about your friend.
Sad but so often true Martha. It takes a crisis to drag us out of our comfort zone, even if that comfort zone is not so comfortable. The familiar is always better than the unknown.
Diane you are so right. When you are in the middle of the storm you can't seen the severity of it. It takes the outsiders to see the chaos that is raining down. yet we somehow think we are super human and can do anything. beyond that if we can't do it all then somehow we are a failure.
I threw my cape in the trash when Mom blew up at the caregiver and we were forced, because there was no other option, to put Mom and Dad in AL. I also learned that didn't make me a failure. Actually knowing what you can not do and being able to find help is one of the best assets you could have. Sure beats the super human complex!!
Some can keep their loved ones at home. It depends on the caregiver and the loved ones. Because of extenuating circumstances some just can't do it. Mom's temperment was our limiting factor. With others it is physical problems or emotions exhaustion or anything else that overwhelms.
The advice I got to start with makes the most sense. It is time for the move when the caregiver is ready to give care over to the professional. It is up to us as caregivers to listen to ourselves and listen to others..... and be realistic about what we can do and what others can do better.
I do wish your friend well Martha. I hope she finds her way. Perhaps this was a blessing in disquise. And for you Deb.... you know why you made the decision to place Mom. Yes, we all would love for our loved ones to be home as they should be. We don't make those decisions lightly. So as much as you want Mom home, never second guess your decision. They are not one in the same and both are out of love
Your story about your friend is so sad. Maybe now she can get the help she needs for herself. Bless her heart she tried so very hard didn't she?
I have to make sure Moms bottom is not getting sore now. I found a terrible mess on her bottom when she was here last Thanksgiving. She would have most definately been in the hospital if I had not started treating the fungus. I had no idea it was there. Its just so hard to understand how she went days in pain and didn't tell anyone. My God it was bad and she had no idea until she looked at me and said "Oh honey my butt hurts". When I read about your friend I thought about how I would have felt if Mom would have gone to the ER in that kind of shape. I would have felt so guilty and embarrased. One more thing that we have to watch.
I hope your friend is doing OK Martha. Its easy to miss these things with our LO's. I hope she knows that and its not because she didn't try her best to care for her Dad. I'm sure you gave her your wonderful "Martha support" as only you can.
Thanks -- I am trying. Yes, she feels guilt. And she feels useless now - she stopped working several years ago to stay home and care for her father. Her mother had passed away earlier. Now she is 63 and not knowing what to do with the rest of her life. She told me only caring for her little dog gets her up in the morning and out to take him for a walk.
Oh Martha...your grief over your friend comes across this board so easily. I'm so sorry your friend is suffering...but she has YOU my friend!
One of my first visits here came at a time when you had made gentle suggestions to a poster about placement. They blew up at you and certainly did not like what you said..........but you were right. The descriptions they posted and challenges of their loved one made it seem obvious that placement would be the best solution.
Like you...I'm truly amazed at those who still are able to care for their loved one at home!! Possible???...Yes...but very challenging and life-altering...yup! (wait a minute...this disease is challenging and life-altering to all of us really!)
Something deep inside us makes us think we're "letting 'em down"...or perhaps it's our responsibility. It's such a scary step to make decisions into the "unknown".
Bless, bless, bless those who are able to do this........but also bless, bless, bless us ALL for standing by our loved ones and trying desperately to make this transition as gentle as humanly possible.
I took Mom to her regular PCP apt last week and along with other things I needed him to know was the fact that she too was complaining of her bottom being sore. Well, for days I just kept handing her this cream actually labeled "Magic Cream". They had given her that when she was discharged from the hosptial and had c-diff. I don't think the magic was doing the trick!! So I brought it up to the Doctor if he could do an exam there. He in turn gave us another ointment to clear the infection up. I know she must have difficulty cleaning that area and I have not gone that route of cleaning her in that area as of yet. She trys so hard to take care of her hygiene but seems to be failing in that way now. I will do any thing for her I mean anything and everything but I have a hard time being able to approach that area of cleaning her.
I did once again repeat to dad that perhaps by keeping her at home he is putting to much stress on her to being able to keep up with these things. It is to much pressure put on her. He did nod his head in aggreement, but yet for some reason he just does not inch any closer to making a decision of putting her in a NH. Although he did say the other night she is beyond caregiving. He says these thing yet does nothing to change the situation? It is just a hard step for him to make.
I have just read all your posts here on this subject, and my heart goes out to you all.
Dad hasnt reached this stage yet, and to be honest.I am dreading it, I know deep down that I cant cope with him messing and having to change him.
He is spending so much time in bed though now, but I never thought to ask if his bottom is sore, how do I ask my dad that?
I am so very sorry to hear this story about your friend. I know as I read every word this very same thing could happen with my Uncle and my Grandma. When grandma first got sick, I could never have seen her going into a nursing home, but now....oh what I wouldnt give to know of a place close to where she lives that would take such good care of her. Alot has happened since we started out on this journey, and every sleepness night has told a story in my uncle's eyes and voice when you speak with him.
I think his resolve in keeping grandma at home, may come from the abandonment of all the other siblings, maybe he feels guilty then. Plus the fact that they've all abandoned her, that has left the decision up to him and him alone. I wish there were some decent places he could take her to.....he has actually told me he would carry her there on his back, if he could find somewhere. But the doctors are only offering him this mental hospital......and it is a far cry from a professional care facility that so many people here have been lucky to find.
I do worry about these types of situations happening, and pray that Grandma will go peacefully in her sleep before anything happens.
I really feel for your friend, I hope she will be okay, the same as I do my Uncle when this is taken out of his hands one day.......
The nurse last week did tell him that he has to realize at some point, she will need to be admitted into a hospital, and he said "he knew"....but that will be at least different than admitting her to a "mental" hospital and walking away. Sometimes, I cant tell who this illness is harder on, the patient or the caregiver.......
Love, Caroline xo
your friend being told that they won't send home the person is similar to the social worker telling my sister that they won't send my mother home with her. It is a blessing when you can step back and see the entire picture.
i'm sorry for what your friend is going through but have her some on this board, we'll all support her and love her and let her know that she's not failing the person, she did the best she could under dire circumstances and God is giving her a much-needed break.
While the dog is the only thing right now, let it be it. She can look around for fun things to occupy her time now that she has some freedom.
I have suggested to her that she try to find a support group either in person or on the Internet, but it wouldn have to be in German; her English is minimal. I hope, now that she can go out of the house, she finds some help for herself.
Good idea Martha. You are such a good friend and a wonderful person. I do hope your friend can find her way just as effectively as you have You are a great example for the rest of the world's caregivers.