Help. I'm addicted to the AgingCare Caregiver Forum!
I've been a physical therapist for over 35 years and have worked in many different areas of caregiving. I was totally unprepared for being a caregiver. My mother was always domineering and liked to be in charge. For 20 yrs, my sister and her husband did everything to keep her in her home. ex:snow, grass,maintenance,dr,er,etc with no thanks at all. She fell often, but never any fractures. Got her a life alert which she cancelled, wouldn't allow home care nurse in house, The final straw was when she would call 911 for help to get off the floor and then complained that she shouldn't have to pay for this since she refused to go to the hospital. One night when I was visiting and my sister was staying overnite, we heard several people talking downstairs (sounded like a party). We went down in pajamas to fing several neighbors there to help get her off the floor!!! None of them were very young and we were SHOCKED! I later found these people programmed into her cell phone and had been called at other times to lift 180lb dead weight off the floor, so she wouldn't have to pay ems. We're talking about a 93 yo. Finally, she fell flat on her back in the Aldi's parking lot and injured her back.
She called me all excited because she was going to have back surgery! She loved all the attention of drs, hospitals, etc. I told her she wasn't having back surgery and I was flying there asap. (I spent the past week with my dau who was septic in an ICU in Maine due to a botched gall bladder surgery).
So, we moved her from upstate, NY to Michigan which was an 8 hr drive in the car. We had leased a small, accessable apartment within walking distance of our house. Fell 3 times in 1 day, so had her go to er. Went to rehab after and improved to walking with rollator.
WE went crazy and found a studio appt in asst living. Finally, some rest.
Not so fast. She went out on the activities bus and did pretty well. She's eastern European and spent her life hoarding food, going to grocery stores all day, and cooking. She continued to have falls and I was worried everyday about how many falls they would put up with. She was making complicated recipes in her microwave and making a big mess. She by then had CHF and severe arthritis. After a mild stroke which disabled her right hand, she got very angry with me for taking away the rollator and making her use her wheelchair. She still continued to cook so we emptied out the kitchen. (She was paying for 3 meals/day and only went to dinner). We told her she would have to get meals in the dining room, upped her care level, and insisted she ring for help in bathroom, dressing, etc. She also refused showers for the first 2 years and claimed she did a bath with wipes. She was sent to her room from meals several times due to odors.
"When we moved her here, I was expecting maybe 6 mos. It's been 4 years! 6 mos ago she started palleative care at AL with increased care level there. Cont to use br herself, but at least started agreeing to showers. Of course, I was worrying about getting a fracture and refusing treatment.
She was 97 2 weeks ago and family came for a big celebration. She was happy and in good spirits. Later that week, I had my 25th birthday. The next day she passed away sitting in ther chair. WOW
She was such a pain in the b. At least everyone there loved her even she wouldn't follow and suggestions and safety issues. She was very pleasant with everyone, except me. She had no dementia and knew exactly what she was doing when she was asking the aids to leave her alone.
If I wouldn't have found this site, I would have lost my mind more than I already have. I've never posted, but I felt that there were others out there dealing with refusing care, cancelling call buttons, etc. I don't know about risking neighbors health by asking them to lift her. I would always cringe when anyone would say "let us know if you need any help" because she was always happy to get as much as she could out of them.
I've resented her for always being domineering and have had much counseling from growing up with her criticism plus her continuous interference in our lives. About 6 mos ago I was getting suicidel really didn't feel I could take anymore. Now I feel relieved and I consider you guys to be someone who can understand. People say they're sorry about her death and all I can say is that she was 97 and in pretty good health and didn't suffer. Also, she died the morning after my 65th birthday, so it wasn't ON my birthday. That's the best I can do.
Back to the title of this post. I can't get away from this site. I will tell everyone about it (including patients' families.) I'll still be following and supporting you. Thanks.