Is there life after the nursing home, or how our family made that difficult choice and what followed.

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Mom has been living at the nursing home for a year and a half. What a struggle it was to make that decision. I know many readers and their families are struggling with the difficult decisions that surround caring for aging elders with dementia. The elder is facing issues with self isolation, depression and sadness, bewilderment and anger, safety. The caretaker is stretched to the breaking point and his or her own health and lifestyle are suffering. The family disagrees on who is to blame and what should be done.

Well, here we are a year and a half later and I would like update the group on our family's story. Our mother had reached the point where she no longer knew she home. She was very unhappy unless one of us was entertaining her. We did have outside help, as she could no longer be left alone. She had knee surgery, but she no longer walked very much. Still, she refused to use her walker. This is so hard to write, I don't even want to describe how awful it was, because it brings back too many awful memories, behaviors and attitudes, that our family is still working to put behind us.

Elder sister found the nh, a very, very good one that takes Medicare. (Medicaid?) we told her it was a hotel and that she had to stay for a few days because of a water main break. We had to develop little tricks for leaving without causing a scene. The nh staff had to develop strategies for dealing with her bossiness and telling everyone how to do everything. One of their strategies was to set her at a typewriter with some papers and tell her this was her job and that as soon as she earned enough money, she could get an apartment. She loved this. The food at the nh is very good, there are structured activities everyday. Mom is no longer afraid. She is content. She has not made friends with any other patients, they are all old people, but she gets along with her caretakers generally and one can hear their sense of pride in taking care of her in their voices. At this stage, she still enjoys going for a ride, although it is a struggle to get into the car. Restaurants are no longer a good choice, but sandwiches in the car at the beach are fun. She doesn't ask to go home anymore. In fact, elder brother took her home to visit and she had no inkling it was home. She is so much happier, safer, well taken care of, involved in activities, and less stressed. We are all so much less stressed. The nursing home has been a godsend and is helping us to navigate this atrocious disease that has taken our mother from us before her death. the nh has made it possible for us to know we are doing everything we can to provide her with quality of life and that she is as comfortable and happy as this dreaded disease allows.

I decided to post this for encouragement and because I think the healing process has finally begun for us. I wish you success in your struggles. Remember that this too shall pass.


What a touching story Sibling3. It sounds like your family did locate a place that really has mae a great difference in your mother's quality of life. I'm so glad that it helped the family navigate through the challenges. As you know, even when the loved one goes into long term care, the caregiving by family continues, but in different ways. It's so important to let go of guilt and focus on the pride you should feel for providing mother with a safe and caring environment. There are some rather unflattering stories about long term care, but, most of what I have seen has been quite impressive.

Thank you for sharing your story.
oh how i miss the sandwiches in the car at the beach!
Yes, after the nightmare of placement a year has passed and my mother is also doing well.... Less stressful for her.... stopped asking to go home...
Thank goodness for finding a good place, who helped me sneak out by giving her an activity till this was no longer an issue, who actually care.
Focus on the accomplishments...
Watching them disappear before they die is so hard...
thank you so much for sharing and steering my perception.
NH really cares about your mom is if they keep in contact after she is gone.
Appreciate the nice story Sib 3. The typewriter/job idea was brilliant!
Thank you for your update. I agree with your assessment. After my mom had been in several rehab facilities, she didn't even balk going into assisted living. It was a lifesaver for the family and such a lovely place that I would live there! She adjusted from the first day, enjoying being taken care of, and made new friends. For those wondering, the cost was $2900 a month.

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