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Old 05-24-2013, 10:52 AM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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How did you deal with putting a parent into the nursing home? (Long.)

My Nana just turned 90, has "early onset dementia" (her short-term memory is shot) and the doctor wants her to go into a nursing home asap.

She is incredibly independent and stubborn. She's lived alone in her home for the past 50 years. (My grandpa died in 1956 and my mom, an only child, moved out at 17.) She hires people to keep up her house and yard and never learned how to drive. She doesn't have any close friends nearby, just my Mom & I. I'm an only child too.

But she's been declining over the past few years and after a bad fall outside 3 weeks ago (thank God a neighbour saw her!) she has rapidly declined. I visit every other week or so and it's always the same conversation, except now it's on a 5 minute loop - she'll ask a question, I'll answer it, then 5 minutes later she'll ask the same question, even using the same words in the same sequence.

She only eats cold food (salads and cold cuts - and she's quite content with that) so we don't have to worry about her turning on the oven or stove. But she's now neglecting her hygiene and wearing dirty clothes. (She has a washer and dryer and is able to use it.)

My Mom lives about a half hour away and doesn't drive. My Stepdad is wonderful and always takes them shopping, to appointments, etc. but it's getting to be too much for my Mom to handle now. She goes in a few times a week to help her but my Nana questions and criticizes everything she does. Yesterday was an appointment with a doctor who specializes in senior cognitive issues and she took one look at my Mom and said "You're way more stressed out than you were a month ago." It's affecting my Mom's health now, she's having digestive problems and nightmares.

My Nana wants to stay in her home (obviously - she's been there forever) but refuses to get the "I've fallen and I can't get up" button. She refuses to get someone to move in to help her. She refuses to take her medication. She refuses to take a bath sometimes. The disease is to the point now where she can no longer make a decision for herself and follow through with it. The doctor says she'll need to be admitted to a home - against her will - within the next 4 months. Thankfully my Mom has full Power of Attorney and will gain control of her finances (money is not an issue).

I found this out yesterday. I went over to my Nana's and told her point-blank "Nana, I would never, ever bullshit you." (Yes I said "bullshit" to my grandmother. She was in the British Navy, doesn't faze her.) I told her that she can be taken out of her home against her will and put into whatever nursing home has a bed open. I told her she needs to go with my parents to find the one she likes and get on the list. I told her she doesn't want this decision to be taken out of her hands. I thought I was getting through to her.......but no, she shut down and said "Well we'll just see what happens." So that's it. I tried. My Mom and I have been trying for the past few years to have it not come to this but due to my Nana's stubborn independence now it IS to the point where it has to be against her will.

I'm scared and it's breaking my heart. My Nana will go apeshit when this happens. I can't even imagine how frightening and frustrating it's going to be for her, especially with the confusion that Alzheimers causes. It's going to be very, very bad.

I need to support my Mom. My Mom and I are very close, my Nana and I not so much. I'm pretty much a guest that shows up with coffee every other week.

We both always hoped that my Nana would just pass peacefully in her chair with her little dog on her lap and not have to go through this. But it looks like it's going to happen and I need to know how to deal with it.

Thanks for listening.
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  #2  
Old 05-24-2013, 10:58 AM
Prof. Pepperwinkle Prof. Pepperwinkle is offline
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Madame Pepperwinkle had to put her mom (Carrie) in a nursing home. She had been living with us. Carrie knew there was no choice, that it was a matter of us being physically unable to give her the continuous medical attention she needed, so she didn't fight it. My wife handled it by calling her several times a day, visiting almost every day, making sure all her friends had her new phone number and address, and keeping her involved in the family's everyday life and decisions. The nurses at the home were amazed at my wife's diligence and thoughtfulness, since apparently most of the residents only get visited once or twice a week, at most. She made sure Carrie had a TV, puzzle magazines, westerns and romances to read, and redecorated her room every month. Carrie lasted another four years, and never felt abandoned.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:09 AM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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I'm sorry you are having to go through this.

Are you in the US?

I had to do this with both my parents - we had to do a guardianship and then once the guardian was appointed (couldn't be me since I lived out of state, I had to hire someone), we lied to them to get them out of the house ('we' being me and the guardian - I am an only child as well). My mom was having health problems, and we told her she was being taken to visit the doctor, which she was willing to do. We'd already gotten a bed at the nursing home and that's where she went (obviously she did have a doctor examine her when she got there, but then she was told she was staying there, not going home). Then, the following week, we told my dad that he should go visit my mom and we'd take him. And then once he was there he was told he was staying too.

Did it suck? Yep. But it had to be done. And I'd be glad to answer any specific questions about guardianship if you are in the US - not at all sure how that would go in another country. To do that here, we needed a doctor's recommendation, and it sounds like your nana's doctor would be on board with filling out the paperwork required.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:09 AM
JerrySTL JerrySTL is offline
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We were stationed overseas with the military. After a couple of years we came home for a month's leave only to find that my mother-in-law's Alzheimers had really kicked in. She was doing things like putting food on the stove and forgetting it or putting things in the oven and not turning it on. She was also found wandering the streets more than once. Of course my father-in-law and wife's 6 siblings ignored the problem and dangers. So we spent our 'vacation' finding a place to put the poor woman. Even though her mind was all but gone, her body stayed alive for about a year longer. Alzheimers is horrible.

There's a lot of crappy nursing homes. My wife is a nurse and even has worked in nursing homes so she knew what to look for. I suggest that you talk to people who have/had family in nursing homes to see if any of them have good recommendations. I also suggest that you actually visit the nursing homes and take a tour. How do the residents look? Does the place smell like urine? How friendly are the staff? This process can take a while so I suggest that you start now. The sooner the better so she won't wind up in the first available bed - which might not be a good one.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:19 AM
phouka phouka is offline
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Soylent Juicy, I know where you're coming from, because that's what we're dealing with in my father's case. Alzheimer's has eroded my father's mind, and it's a contest between what's more painful - dealing with him when he's frightened and angry and just downright mean or dealing with him when he's calm and cooperative but well aware that something's just not right. He will not discuss the possibility of a nursing home. To him, a nursing home is Hell, just about literally. It's where old people are abandoned to die.

What keeps us together is that every single member of my family gives my mom their complete backing. There is no argument. There is no second-guessing. There is only "what do you need?" and "how can I help?". The worst it gets is with a couple of my half-siblings who have absented themselves because they don't have a very good relationship with Dad to begin with. It could be a lot worse.

Alzheimer's is going to take what it takes, and there isn't anything you can do about it. Your nana's response to entering a nursing home is what it is, and a big chunk of it will be due to what Alzheimer's has done to her mind. Accepting that removes a lot of the burden of guilt. Do what you can to make things better. Do what you need to so that you know you are a good granddaughter. Then, let it go.

Unfortunately, it's a lot easier said than done.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:21 AM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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You can also hire a care manager to do a lot of the footwork/paperwork for you. That's what I did since I was out of state and really had no way to review places myself. She was terrific - familiar with all the area nursing homes and was able to tell us about the best ones. We ended up going with one that my parents' guardian already had a relative staying in and which had come recommended to me by a friend whose parents had already been in.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:24 AM
phouka phouka is offline
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We did spend a few weeks trying to find a local nursing home without much luck. The nicest one, which I would have liked to live in, was $7000 a month. Oy! I did a tour and talked with one of the managers about the transition. One thing she stressed is that after bringing your family member there, giving them about a week without visitors to settle in. It sounded strange to me, but she said it gave them the chance to adjust to their new environment without having someone to beg to be taken home. She also told me that when they dealt with a patient who really, really didn't want to be there, that they and the doctor played the designated bad guys. Every conversation they had with the patient was phrased so that the family only wants their loved one to be safe and happy, and the doctor and the staff have determined that the loved one cannot be allowed to leave. They made every effort to take the emotional burden off the family members.
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  #8  
Old 05-24-2013, 11:27 AM
shiftless shiftless is offline
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Yeah, I'm sorry you, and especially your mom, have to go through this. My mom is in the same situation.

It's difficult for the old person to see why they 'suddenly' have to give up the home they have lived in for years. Those of us who only visit from time to time can see the changes in the way they live. To them, the changes are so gradual they can convence themselves nothing has changed at all.

In my mom's case, she has flat out stated that she wants to die in her home. She would rather tough it out and go by falling down the stairs or in the bathtub rather than go into a facility where she can be taken care of and, perhaps, live longer. That is extremely selfish in my opinion. Some day, someone I know is going to have to discover her body. Every time the phone rings I expect the bad news.

I think you have the basics down - doctor onboard and the Power of Attorney. Now start visiting places. They are all different and there is a lot to learn.

Last edited by shiftless; 05-24-2013 at 11:28 AM..
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2013, 11:30 AM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romansperson View Post
Are you in the US?
No, we're in Ontario, Canada.

Yeah the doctor told my Mom that she (my mom) can't be the one to drop her off when the time comes. Can't be me, either. My mother-in-law has dealt with this before and suggested that a social worker be the one to take her, which I think will be the best option because my Nana is so stoically English hopefully she won't kick up too much of a fuss with a stranger. The "you have a doctor's appointment" is excellent advice because she doesn't remember what her appointments are for anyway. Last night she couldn't tell me what she'd been to the doctor for just a few hours previous.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:34 AM
phouka phouka is offline
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Originally Posted by shiftless View Post
In my mom's case, she has flat out stated that she wants to die in her home. She would rather tough it out and go by falling down the stairs or in the bathtub rather than go into a facility where she can be taken care of and, perhaps, live longer. That is extremely selfish in my opinion. Some day, someone I know is going to have to discover her body. Every time the phone rings I expect the bad news.
No fucking kidding.

My mom has taken both my brothers and I aside and said there might be a day when one of us walks in the door and finds my dad dead at the foot of the stairs or some other way, and she has told us that under no circumstances are we to spend a moment feeling guilty or bad. He made his choice a while back. She doesn't want us to suffer for it.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:36 AM
kayT kayT is offline
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Once the transition is made be sure to drop by the nursing home during off hours (midnight, 5 am) a few times to both let the staff know someone really cares about your loved one's well-being, and to be sure the staffing is adequate and that patients are not being mistreated during "non-visiting" hours. In my experience, a really good nursing home won't be upset if you do this.

When my aunt was living out her days in a nursing home the home let us reserve a private room to have pizza parties for her and her friends. All the relatives who could come would drop by. It was amazing to see how much my aunt and some of her friends would brighten up at these parties. I'm sure my aunt couldn't really hear all the conversations or keep up with the confusion but I'm also sure she loved it.
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Old 05-24-2013, 11:46 AM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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Thank you to everyone so far. Just so you know, I sent the link to this thread to my Mom, and she appreciates your advice and kind words.

I just found out that one of the tests the doctor did yesterday involved dialing the phone and my Nana wasn't capable of dialling 911 or knowing what to do in an emergency. She's been placed on a high-priority waiting list for a bed.

My Mom has extensively researched all the area nursing homes and has indicated her preferences to the doctor. After the initial no-visitors-week we will definitely be dropping in unexpectedly and my Mom will be checking my Nana over for bedsores, etc. (my Mom was a nurse back in the day.) She also used to do pet therapy (visiting the nursing homes with her dog) and is familiar with almost all of them.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:12 PM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phouka View Post
We did spend a few weeks trying to find a local nursing home without much luck. The nicest one, which I would have liked to live in, was $7000 a month.
This is the average price for a nursing home in the U.S. today. I made sure when we reviewed homes that all of the ones we considered would accept Medicaid if/when my folks ran out of money. I didn't want them to get kicked out if they ran out of cash, and it's much more difficult to find a place for people who only have Medicaid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy View Post
Thank you to everyone so far. Just so you know, I sent the link to this thread to my Mom, and she appreciates your advice and kind words.

I just found out that one of the tests the doctor did yesterday involved dialing the phone and my Nana wasn't capable of dialling 911 or knowing what to do in an emergency. She's been placed on a high-priority waiting list for a bed.

My Mom has extensively researched all the area nursing homes and has indicated her preferences to the doctor. After the initial no-visitors-week we will definitely be dropping in unexpectedly and my Mom will be checking my Nana over for bedsores, etc. (my Mom was a nurse back in the day.) She also used to do pet therapy (visiting the nursing homes with her dog) and is familiar with almost all of them.
It sounds like your process is going forward quite well already - I wish the best of luck to you all. While it will be hard, it will help both of you to know your nana is in a safe place.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:32 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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Originally Posted by romansperson View Post
It sounds like your process is going forward quite well already - I wish the best of luck to you all. While it will be hard, it will help both of you to know your nana is in a safe place.
In practical terms, yes. It's the emotional and mental part that we both need help with. Watching someone who is so fiercely independent have to accept their fate. My Mom raised me to always think of the other person's point of view - "put yourself in their shoes" - and to empathize with what people are going through. I am very much like my Nana in that I'm fiercely independent as well. I even told her that last night - "I am exactly like you - nobody tells me where to go - so you need to be proactive in deciding where you'd like to be and not let someone else make that decision for you." Didn't work, her stubborn denial shut it right down. We've been trying for years to get past that stubborn denial which is why it's come to the against-her-will point.
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Old 05-24-2013, 12:32 PM
Nava Nava is offline
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We're in a similar process with my maternal grandmother. My paternal grandmother (may she be leading the scoreboard for Parcheesi in the other life, if such a life exists) went to the old folks' home where several of her best friends were already living when she reckoned she'd feel safer there, did all the paperwork herself and didn't even tell her children until it was in terms of "I'm moving there on Monday".

My maternal grandfather, the Grandfather from Hell, died three years ago. Their whole marriage was a long bout of fights and make-up sex; at the end, the sex bits were lacking but the fighting continued unabated. He'd been getting transitory ischemic attacks (small strokes), finally got a big one. Yaya is in damn good health except for her short-term memory being shot to blazes and her long-term memory and recognition abilities being on their way down: she not only confuses my mother, aunt and myself - but also my cousin, who's a square-faced redhead (us three are brunettes and have similar rectangular faces).

In Yaya's case, the trigger was that a month ago, my aunt got to her house to visit and found her sitting on the floor, having fallen hours prior, not remembering when or how, and of course without the button (which we'd gotten for her a year ago) anywhere near her. There have been prior events where she needed help and phoned one of us instead of using the button; that "one of us" could even be out of town, in one case was out of the country. At one point in a subsequent conversation, Yaya uttered the magic words "maybe it's time to look for an old folks' home" - it took my cousin less than 48 hours to find one, which happens to be in the same block as that cousin's flat, three blocks from Yaya's own. Cousin and aunt took her there, my mother has been here last week (I currently happen to be working next town over from where Cousin and Yaya live). At first Yaya would complain that "it's all old folks!" to which my response would be "it's not kindergarten, you know " - now she's joined the gymnastics class (sitting down, mostly arm exercises), decided not to join any games because she's too deaf for them and discovered that she's not the only one there who's "deaf as a brick wall" but hey, point and smile works. Physically she's improved a lot: she's actually warm! Then again, she's eating five squares, rather than subsisting on coffee so long as nobody was there to say "want a bit of this? Now? How about that?"

Last edited by Nava; 05-24-2013 at 12:36 PM..
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:51 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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We moved my 85 year old mother into a Senior apartment which is very nice and very affordable and care providers come in daily to dispense meds for her. she is having memory issues and has to use a walker, which she despises, despite the fact that all the old ladies at this place have one and she actually moves faster now.

We took away her car keys a year ago, and she hasn't forgiven my cousin Don, who is the one who does most of the care giving with her. ( She does not listen to me and he was more than happy to take on the task. He now knows what I mean about " she doesn't listen" because he has worked through his honeymoon phase with her and she either ignores him or manipulates him.

It is harder on my husband and my cousin to see her decline. I've seen so many people fade away, I've lost count. It's horrible. I don't know what is worse, fading away from old age and your brain just pfffffffft like a balloon losing air. the personality is gone except whatever the core was, and for my mom, it is worry. God, that is swell, lemme tell you.

or you have a genetic issue that robs your body of everything, but your brain is ok.

Life sucks.
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Old 05-29-2013, 04:53 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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Well that escalated quickly.

My mom got the call last night and had to have her at the place by 11 this morning. My mom was also the one to drop her off, so you can imagine how difficult that was. We're all in shock, we weren't expecting this until closer to the winter. We're wondering what's in the doctor reports that made her jump up the list so quickly - seriously, you can wait months for a nursing home bed and she gets admitted in like a week?

Anyway my Nana is understandably livid. I can't even imagine the rage and confusion she's feeling right now. Her little dog is with my mom & stepdad, safe and happy, and the home says that she could live there with my Nana if we want but we'll wait and see.

My mom says my Nana is going to hate her for the rest of her life, but my Nana's health and safety override being hated. When I was there a few days ago she left the hot water tap running after using the bathroom. She even refused to wear a whistle around the house, apparently she figured she could yell for help loud enough if she ever fell and couldn't get up.

I know this is for the best and I fully and completely trust my mom's judgement. It's a really nice brand-new place and one of the two my mom preferred, which is perfect.

But I'm still scared and wondering how I'm going to deal with my own feelings along with helping out my mom - both physically and emotionally - because she's my top priority in this.
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Old 05-30-2013, 10:34 AM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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The nursing home my dad is at (and where my mom was until she died last fall) offers counseling to family members as well as to residents. There should be a social worker where your grandmother is now that you can talk to about available services for the whole family.

Last edited by romansperson; 05-30-2013 at 10:34 AM..
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  #19  
Old 06-03-2013, 09:15 AM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is offline
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VERY HAPPY UPDATE:

My Nana seems to be settling in very well to the residence. I dropped by yesterday but she was just going in to a church service so I didn't stay, but the minister came out and talked to me for a few minutes and said that my Nana is doing wonderful. She's already got a best friend and a posse of other friends - apparently the residents found out that she was upset about being there so they "flocked" to her to make her feel welcome. The minister even told me that my 90-year-old Nana was up dancing at a birthday party the other day!

Huge feeling of relief. She was very social when she was younger so after years of isolation (her best friend passed in 2007 so she hasn't been able to get out much since) I think she's going to thrive in there.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:05 AM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
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Whew! Glad to hear such a great update!
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:26 AM
glee glee is offline
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I'm sorry you had to face such a serious situation and glad to hear things are better.

Tt is natural for elderly people to want to stay with their familiar surroundings and avoid change.
However due to frailty and medical conditions, they may have to leave for a nursing home.
It's better for both them and their family.

I had to face this with both my wonderful parents.
Fortunately they were both mentally alert and prepared to discuss things a bit.
My 83 year old Mum (in apparently good health) was the official carer for my 84 year old Dad (who had many physical problems such as Parkinson's disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and glaucoma.)
Then Mum was suddenly diagnosed with likely bowel cancer and rushed to hospital (I lived nearby, so went with her in the ambulance.)
Dad had to be transferred immediately to the local nursing home, as he could not manage at all on his own.
Mum was soon in a local hospice and my sister and I visited our parents regularly.
Given the dire situation, they were as content as possible.
They both passed peacefully with a month.

The staff at both the hospice and the nursing home were very caring, as was my parent's doctor.

It was a shattering blow to have both parents pass within a month, so I want to strongly recommend grief therapy.
I was supported by friends and family, but still benefited hugely from the counselling.

My best wishes to you.
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:40 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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My mom is going in a nursing home Friday

which is why I am bringing this topic up. I am all alone here dealing with this. I have a brother lives across the country and a wonderful lady, a paid caregiver, who will go with me on Friday. There is no one else, and I thank god for her because I don't think I could do this myself.

Mom is so bad with Lewy Body dementia I wonder if she will even put up a fight. She has hallucinations with the dementia, can't use the phone, can't answer th door, is falling down, is incontinent....I mean, it is TIME! She is pending Medicaid but the nursing home will take her right away.

Wish us luck. I am so weary of taking care of her for the past years. Every single day, often twice a day, I sit in fear of the phone ringing, the caregiver calling to say something awful has happened.

Later I may ask what you do about the house, I am so stressed I can't think. cancel the newspaper, cable TV. What about the bills to be paid yet, I don't know what happens with Medicaid. Mom doesn't own the house. So many questions!!! Do you think the nursing home will help me? I have no one to ask.
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  #23  
Old 11-18-2014, 06:52 PM
johnpost johnpost is offline
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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post

Later I may ask what you do about the house, I am so stressed I can't think. cancel the newspaper, cable TV. What about the bills to be paid yet, I don't know what happens with Medicaid. Mom doesn't own the house. So many questions!!! Do you think the nursing home will help me? I have no one to ask.
put some lights on a timer to have the place look lived in.

have the mail forwarded to you (change of address).

look through everything and keep financial, legal and family stuff.

have an estate sale.
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Old 11-18-2014, 07:01 PM
DingoelGringo DingoelGringo is offline
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My older brother at 70 years old had basically lost his mind.Neither know nor care what the proper politically correct word is, but he wouldn't stop drinking and has what Alcoholics Anonymous calls wet brain. Our mother was caring for him in her home at 88 years old it was more than she could continue to handle. He refused to shave or get a haircut or even bathe. He'd go into the bathroom and come out a few minutes later and swear to Mom that he had showered. SO after a family counsel of the other 5 siblings and Mom I took him to a doctor's appointment and lkeft him at a state run nursing home. That was a year ago and they are still tring to find a permanent place for him. State of Tenn if it matters.
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Old 11-18-2014, 08:56 PM
DingoelGringo DingoelGringo is offline
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15 years ago I went to visit my father> I lived in Ft Lauderdale FL and he lived in Minneapolis MN. I found 32 pill bottles on his bedside table. "What's this pill? dad" I asked. 10:30 he replied proudly. I called a sister in Tenn who was a nurse, she has slipped off to Heaven in the meantime, but she took time to drive to Minn and visit Dad. She found that some of the pills were the same as others prescribed by different doctors. We did get him into the Veterans Hospital's nursing home facility before he slipped off to Heaven a few months later.
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