Facing the reality of my Mom's decline, and considering Hospice.
I'm grateful for the thoughtful, caring posts I've found on this Web site. I'm new to the forum -- Glad to have found you all.
I’ve no clear questions at this time, but just sharing with you where I am in time and space with my soon-to-be 91-year-old mom, and any comments (and hugs) are welcome.
I feel my mom is nearing the end -- she has a lot of health issues -- and I'm trying to give her quality time (as much as I can) and keep her comfortable and happy.
She has live-in caregivers who are very good and compassionate, but it is getting hard for just one person to manage her. I'm over there just about every day, helping with transfers, doing wound care, and overseeing everything.
I (and my siblings, and Mom) made the choice long ago to keep Mom at home. For her, it's absolutely been the right decision. There is no doubt in my mind that she would have been gone long ago of she'd been in a nursing home (based on her experiences with numerous rehab/long-term care facilities in the area). Now that she's nearing end of life -- 3 months? 6 months? 2 years? -- we'd like to continue to keep her at home if possible.
She sleeps a lot, and is not always engaged. She doesn't have a terminal diagnosis but a lot of "co-morbidities" - diabetes, vascular dementia (a recent thing), chronic wound on her foot, and other issues. She's also in a wheelchair, and fully dependent on others. I used to take her out once a week to get her hair done, or take her to lunch, but she sleeps so much, it's hard to even get her to the doctor's office.
A couple of healthcare professionals have suggested that we consider bringing in hospice. Her primary doctor would support this, although he hasn’t explicitly recommended it. And she doesn’t have a terminal prognosis at this time. But it seems clear that she is failing.
The other thing is, Mom is afraid to die. I’m trying to address that with her (and you all had some great suggestions I’m going to try). But “hospice” has such a heavy "final" connotation, so I’m not sure that I can bring an agency in until she is more at peace with her mortality.
Also, when my dad passed, we didn't have a positive experience with hospice. I’m hoping our negative experience was an anomaly – he came home bedridden on a Friday and they said, “See you Monday” and we had no clue what to do or how to care for him. But if we can bring hospice in before we’re in panic mode, maybe it will be a better experience.
One of the things that is looming is the chronic wound, which could lead to loss of limb if it doesn't heal (and she's had it for more than 6 months, and it's not looking good). I told her long ago that she is leaving this earth with all her parts; so hospice may be on the near horizon.
Thanks for letting me ramble. Scared, sad, and brokenhearted that I can't save my mom from the inevitable. Hoping I can at least help her come to terms with dying and be at peace with it.