Family is going through such a painful time.

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I guess I need to vent today, feeling blue.
Mom has been in the nursing home for 3 months. She can barely hear, can see out of one eye, her dementia is bad, she lives in the moment has no memory at all, no interests, she is too weak to walk and she gets just enough nutrition to keep her alive (barely). She sits all day in a wheel chair in front of the nurses station or in a recliner watching people walk by. Taking her to the activity room only satisfies that she is not alone but she has no idea what is going on. She is aware, but doesn't understand much any more. We are watching her slowly turn into someone we wouldn't recognize, skin and bones, disconnected, fragile. Yet her vitals are strong and she stubbornly insists she can go home and take care of herself. It seems she will live like this for a long time, being unhappy, feeling lousy, alone in her own world with no quality of life. One day we think she is so bad off she will not live out the week, the next visit she seems to rally a little and cries and tries to get up when we leave which breaks our heart.
Up until 2 years ago, she was pretty good and fairly independent. But how she is now - this is no life.
I guess no one can say, even the doctor, how long this will go on - her suffering, our suffering for her. Sometimes living long can be more of a curse than a blessing.

5 Comments

Good vent Amy. This sounds like so many elders you see in care facilities. It's both heartbreaking and frustrating. Why does life have to go on like this........I appeciate your thoughts.

AmyGrace, your Mom is on the very same journey my Mom was on... one week it felt like this is it, she will go quickly.... then the next week she would be feeding herself, and telling us it is time for her to get a haircut [which she did need]... this would go back and forth during her 3 month stay in long-term-care. Yes, quality of life is gone.

It was so hard to believe that back in early October my Mom was doing household chores, writing out a grocery list, making meals for Dad, asking for me to make her various doctor appointments, and still refusing for me to hire Caregivers for her and Dad, etc..... [sigh]

The way I looked at it, my Mom lived to be 98, so that was a very long time with others around her passing 10-20 years younger then herself. She had beat the odds, big time. Thus, what will be will be. I know it was hard for me to see Mom in the nursing home under such conditions and seeing so many other patients the same way, but Mom pretty much put herself there being so stubborn, being in denial of her age and ability to do things. There was nothing I could have done differently.

My Mom had a very strong heart, and that is what kept the body going, and going, and going. AmyGrace, is your Mom under Hospice watch? That helped me. Hospice would guide me and as the time got closer Hopsice was right on the nose when they said within the next 48 hours. They knew what signs to watch out for.
AmyGrace, I still have my mom home with me but she sounds a lot like your mom, no quality of life at all. When you said "We are watching her slowly turn into someone we wouldn't recognize, skin and bones, disconnected, fragile" I really connected with that, I had her in respite care and had been away and that is exactly what I felt when I saw her after coming home. She increasingly won't even talk any more, it's like I'm caring for a zombie. Why can't she just sleep away??
cwillie. I understand. I pray Mom will just go in her sleep, quietly and quickly. Her life is over, and I'm sure she knows it. When I visited today, she was asleep in a recliner. I thought she was dead, and my sister went over to check if she was breathing. She has always fought old age, but I can see the hopelessness, the sadness, the fear in her eyes. She has given up, given in. I don't want her to be conscious as the end nears because it will be terrifying if she becomes bedridden and is still aware of what is happening. She is mostly a zombie, but still aware, still talking on occasion - more to the nursing staff than to family. Its so painful to see.
AmyGrace - you could be discribing my mother exactly with one exception - my mom mainly sits in her room. I've said to my husband it's the ups and downs that are taking the biggest emotional toll on me. The first week of January my brother had to have surgery. Mom was so bad at the time my brother and I actually made a plan for if she passed while he was in the hospital. Two weeks later she was zipping around the NH under her own steam in her wheel chair. Then last week I had the exact same "recliner moment" you had - had to touch her forehead to be sure she was warm - if you get my drift. Today I'm off to find one of those full book page size magnifying sheets - see if I can get her re-interested in reading as it use to be her passion, mom would read up to three substantial size books a week. Now - it's been over three months since I've seen a book in her hand. The kicker? My moms vitals are better than mine! Mom keeps saying she wants to pass - that she's done here, but she just keeps on. I too wish mom would pass peacefully in her sleep - tonight. I'm ready to let her go and God knows it's want she wants.

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