I'm a caregiver to my Mom (78).

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She has COPD, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, reoccurring UTI's and her mobility not very good she has to rely on a walker to get around. She lives downstairs in an apartment which is just a few steps from my living area. She is never happy and her health problems scare me. She is in hospital now for the 3rd time since July with a UTI. The doctor said it is very bad with white blood cell count of 23 up from 14 which she had last time. She was sick for 4 weeks and wouldn't get out of bed. I want my mom to go into a nursing home or ALF. I'm very depressed having her here. She has homecare Monday through Friday 8-3 so I have to do everything else for her when I get home from work and on weekends. I can come and go but I still have to be back to make sure I give her dinner and supper on weekends. I'm only 46 and I feel like its not fair to have to be looking after my mother since my children are out on their own. I feel selfish for feeling like this but I want my life back where I can come and go and be happy again. Now that she is in hospital I feel a relief. I want to know how I can talk to her about going into a home where she can be monitored by doctors because I never know when there is something wrong with her. She don't do anything for herself only go to the bathroom. I've tried to talk to her about doing things for herself but she complains her legs are bad and she don't have the strength in them. Twice in 2 weeks she called me at 3 in the morning to come down because she had fallen, but she didn't hurt herself. I can't take her back up in my living area to live, I did that for 8 months and she almost drove me insane. I know she wants to come back upstairs but I just can't do it no matter how her health is. How can I talk to her now while she is in hospital to convince her she will be healthier and happier in assisted living. She will not get any better only worse and I don't know how much more I can take. Sorry for babbling and don't even know if this makes any sense

12 Comments

It may be best for the doctor to introduce that idea. I would also talk with the discharge social worker about your concerns.

Yes, I agree that at 46 you do need your life back.
Be careful not to assume "won't" is the problem. It may be "can't". My mother would prefer to be seen as stubborn and willful and difficult over unable.

I will also caution about using happiness as an indicator of anything. Happiness is not a good goal because it may not be possible.

Safety, security, and well being are a better scorecard than happiness will ever be.

Due to the nature of dementias and other progressive diseases, depression is common, personality changes happen, and looking for that happy adult you may have known in years past is like chasing a rainbow.

Yes, go look at different facilities and see what they have past assisted living. Assume mom's needs will change unpredictably and find out what happens when they do. How much can they offer for services? You don't want to be moving her often. The farther along this gets, the harder moves are.

While she's in the hospital, review her medical history over the course of the past year with the doctor who is treating her. Tell them about her history of falls. She clearly needs more care than she can get at home; she needs 24/7 supervision. This idea will go over much better if it comes from the hospital staff. Talk to the discharge planning people and let them know that you can no longer be on call for her during the night and let them suggest alternatives.
Thanks everyone...The thing is I feel so guilty about all of this. I've had my hand on the phone so many times today to call the hospital social worker but couldn't do it. I just don't know what to say to my mom. She knows what this is doing to me me but she seems to not care as long as she is in my home. She has said in the past that she reared me so its my time to look after her and that makes me sick to my stomach.
Marie; Call the Social Worker NOW! Equating caregiving of the frail, sick elderly and childrearing is just plain wrong. Children learn and grow and gain independence. The elderly do not; mom is still cognizant enough of her surroundings that she could make a good adjustment to a change to a facility. You cannot work and get up in the middle of the night to tend her and still be healthy. Her needs are going to increase, not decrease.

"Mom, we both know that I never wanted this day to come, but it's just not possible for me to care for you at home any more without more help than you can afford. You need to be safe and you need profesisonal people around you who can keep you healthy".
Marie1969 - we have all been through this and can speak from experience.
This is my standard pep talk I'll share with you.

If you were doing something illegal or immoral, you should feel guilty. Looking out for mom's safety and well being is the opposite of illegal and immoral. It is noble and proper, and you have nothing whatsoever to feel guilty about. You are a GREAT DAUGHTER for having concerns and being willing to take action. Let us be the first to pat you on the back and celebrate your awareness and concern.

What you are feeling is manipulated by different factors. There are hundreds of thousands of people our age (I'm 44 this year) and older who have an entitled senior on our hands. We are supposed to abandon our adult responsibilities to care for them. NO! I have to keep working. I have to be a wife. I have to be a mother. I have to be responsible to myself. I have to pay into my own retirement fund! It's not 1940 anymore. We are living long past the ages our predecessors ever saw.

It's hard, but you have to challenge yourself to step outside the situation and be objective. If it were "Grandma Esther Walton" sitting at the table, smiling, peeling apples, and saying kind and warm things to Mary Ellen and Ben as they walked through, this home care deal would be great. Even when Esther had her stroke, it was only for a TV year, and then she died quite politely and nicely in bed. That is TV and nowhere remotely close to real life with a dementia patient. I laugh at this idea. Olivia Walton got to take off her apron and become Miss Michael Learned who drove home to her LA apartment at the end of the shoot.

Our parents want the Walton experience without comprehending that it is never going to be anything remotely close to that. That is NOT how dementia plays out.

I will write you a permission slip if it will help to enable you to take steps to move mom into care. So many reasons to.

Your home needs to be your sanctuary. You *have* to have a place to rest uninterrupted or you will not be strong. You will have health problems and start your own decline mentally and physically. This is not negotiable.

If mom's in a purpose-built place, she gets these things that none of us have at our houses:
- a fully staffed kitchen to prepare food
- a fully staffed cleaning crew
- pee-proof furniture and carpeting
- an activities director who is educated on how to work with dementia patients
- physical therapy for her mobility
- probably an on site doctor, dentist, and beauty shop
- 24/7 nursing with a hotline to the doctor. I do not have to make these connections to get my mom care. The nurses on staff talk directly to the doctor.
- Onsite pharmacy/or at least RX delivery. I am not running mom in & out to the doctor & pharmacy anymore. It comes to her.
- Access to geriatric specialist and geriatric psychiatry
- Fall-prevention program in place. People to assist with hands, walkers, whatever.
-Constant checks on her, constant interaction with other people, mental stimulation that is not just staring at TV
- Trained staff with equipment to safely transfer and change her when the time comes

We all wrestle with the guilt monster, but it's something you have to minimize to think clearly and make solid decisions based on safety and quality of care for mom. You have not failed. You have not been shown wanting. You are one person who has been strong and brave for a long time.

Having mom in a care facility will allow you to visit and just be the daughter. It's not you making her take her meds and move around. Your visits can be something that wouldn't be possible as a caregiver.

I hope we're helping you. ::HUGS::
Thank you Sandwich...your comments made me realize I'd be doing the right thing. Actually, after reading your comment I put in a call to the social worker at the hospital. Hopefully I will hear from her tomorrow and she can help me get the ball moving.
Good luck Marie1969. I know this is a difficult decision but it is for the best. I heard something the other day that helped me. The person said it's not our obligation to be our elderly parents caregivers, it's our obligation to make sure they are cared for. For some reason that helped to clear some of the fog from my own thinking.
Well everyone...My mom ended up in hospital last week with an UTI and was very ill. I spoke to the SW and we had a meeting today. Mom has agreed to go to a nursing home as they have assessed her and she needs 24/7 care which I cannot provide. She will be coming home with me until a bed comes available. The SW will get me some more home care to help with mom until she is placed in a NH. I feel so relieved now. Thanks everyone for your support and advice.
Marie, thanks for the update. Would it be possible for your Mom to go from the hospital to a rehab facility for awhile, to regain her strength? From what I had read on these forums here, it is easier to place an elder into a nursing home right from the hospital or rehab.... then it is by taking one home and trying to move a love one to a nursing home. Ask the social worker about rehab.

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