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I receive a call today from my mother's doctor who told me that my mothers' legs are swollen because she is sitting all day. And I knew this, i.e., once rehab is done, nursing home care takes over and because of so many lawsuits, they won't allow people to walk (I didn't know this). So, NH won't allow mom to walk because she's a fall risk. I was told this is the norm for this type of facility.

Um, huh? Kind of like 'run that by me again, please."

So, I question her about this, saying, well, if she's sitting all day in that wheelchair, isn't that bad for her health, too? Won't people start suing for allowing a patient to sit all day just as they've been doing for allowing people to walk? It just doesn't make sense that a home like this (a well regarded one at that) allows something just as unhealthy as sitting all day to occur.

While I know the bottom line is $$, wouldn't it make more sense for the large corporations that run these places to hire someone to at least accompany patients to their destinations via walking at least to get some exercise?

While my mother loves the activities, etc., she's not happy about not being able to walk. But then we've got the dementia, so when she comes home, she'll be walking yet wandering. My options are, 1) take her home where she'll be able to walk (and we're assuming fall); or 2) leave her there where she'll have swollen legs, better chance of blood clotting, but 'safe' because she won't fall.

Another 'huh'?

Makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. And I'm sure within the next ten years that will change once the baby boomers (i.e., people my age group) start to object to this type of treatment their elders will be receiving in these facilities. Plus people our age group will start seeing their significant others in them and start complaining loud and clear.

Oh, but she can go into assisted living which is self pay at $5500 a month. Then they will allow her to walk. Quite frankly, there are NO GOOD OPTIONS for our elders.

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@Jeanette - that's was my mother, too. She didn't know what was on tv and I doubt she knows now. At 9:00 she would turn on channel 9. At 10:00 it was channel 10. then she'd call me in and say the tv didn't work. And cooking shows was all she wanted to watch along with the Price is Right. She does recognize Drew Carey. She never cooked in her life!

And when she was here, she never wanted to do anything I would suggest, i.e., go to the park, go see animals, or whatever. Television was the main event. And these people who don't qualify for Medicaid...I'm thinking all they want to do is protect the money for their heirs, which is okay but like you said, we as taxpayers are paying for this and our elders need to start taking responsibility for some of that equity they have accumulated in their homes by spending it down at least half or whatever they do. My mom never owned a home, never had a car, never had anything. My dad worked factory work. He had a sixth grade education. She has an eighth. The doctor was incredulous when my answer to her question: "Didn't your mother ever work" (this was another shocker in this conversation)...she's a WWII generation woman. She stayed home. She has very little that she saved throughout the years. I had to force her a few years back to spend some to buy a new couch and a new twin bed. I'm trying to hold my own head above water here let alone pay all that money for 'assisted living'. I'm thinking that those on assisted living are spending down their money from a house they've sold.

Like Pam says, there is no way to 'win'....and I don't want to 'win' I just want normalcy. But as I go through life I wonder what normalcy is.

Thank you everyone for your helpful comments. I really do appreciate the ability to have people to at least listen. :) When I think about it, this is the first place we all turn to with our fears, our sorrows, and our 'whines'....but they're not 'whines' they are real problems.
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littledogtoo, we have a similar problem. Mom uses a walker and her legs swell up rapidly and then she falls. The MD said she should elevate her legs 10 minutes out of every hour. Mom ignores him. She also grabs the salt at every meal. Soon she will end up in bed and legs swell up from lack of use. There is just no way to win sometimes.
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Well bless your mom for being 92 and still able to enjoy BINGO a nice hair cut and nails done. THIS is why I have my carer do nothing but fun things for my mother. I neither have the time, energy and days of will to do this. I'm to busy at night making sure she doesn't fracture her thick stubborn head for such frivolities. My mother can no longer follow any tv unless they're talking to her specifically about dicing onions and off she goes for knife :O

I highly doubt your mom recognized her Dr. She might have played that showtiming game and knew it HAD to be the correct answer. Good for you not backing down. Window of opportunity or not, it is in HER best interest and we have ALL paid for her care one way or the other. I have zero problem with that. Heck, I pay taxes every damn year.. bout time I see something I can appreciate done with them!
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Thank you all for weighing in. I agree with everything you've all written.

What most surprised me was the doctor's tone. While I initially took the call privately, once I heard where this was going, I put the phone on speaker so a friend could hear. We were both shocked at the shame factor, i.e., well if you don't take your mom home, she'll die in here.

I'm not backing down. No doctor is going to shame me into taking my mom home. One thing the doctor said was "your mom recognized me". When I told her she asks everyone who comes in if she's Dr. Whomever, she dismissed it.

I believe she is happier at the facility. I walked in Thursday and she showed me her nails. She also had her hair cut. She's so proud of her Bingo 'Gold' that she squirrels it away in her eyeglass case.

There's always the 'Whoa is me" game, but I remind her she did nothing at home but watch tv. When I'd come in and ask her to do some exercises with me, she'd give me a look. When I asked if she wanted to go outside, that look would come across her face.

I made the mistake of taking her out of Geriatric/psyche last year when doctors were advising a nursing facility. I'm not doing it again. This fall has been the window of opportunity.

Jeanette brought something to my attention...my mother, too, had the swelling in her ankles/feet when she was here. The nursing home swelling is a bit different in that it's her entire leg. But I can see that walking back and forth will do this if she's allowed home. All she will do is sit all day on the couch and watch tv when she's not constantly thinking she has to 'go'. And getting up at 3 in the morning to convince her it isn't 3 in the afternoon is no picnic.

Jeanette: She takes diuretics, insulin, heart meds, psyche meds. She will be 92 this year.
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On the flip side of sitting all day, my moms legs (knees down) swell like balloons from her marathon pacing sessions. Has her doc suggested diuretics? No... just cease all salt. Uhm. Ok. Did he give her (ME) something so she will sleep at night for the entire night? No. Either way li'lpup, it's a catch 22. Personally, I now believe they'd rather she fall at home so when/if she ever gets to a NH she will no longer be able to walk. Period. BUT...by then I will have a complete breakdown, maybe heart attack and hopefully recoup the hundreds of thousands of dollars I personally have paid for my own insurance and receive great medical attention, of course, with lots of love ;)
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An old family friend used to have volunteers who came in to walk with her. Is that a possibility? It seems some nursing homes are more into volunteers than others, but there are wonderful people out there who do everything from providing entertainment to helping feed residents at meal times.
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The pts can show your mom ex exercises to do (leg raises, keeping her legs slightly elevated). Is she on a diuretic? Can your mom still walk with a walker if supervised? At my mom's place, there were pt assistants who would help my mom walk abit in the halls. The doctor does not sound like she's taking the whole picture into account.
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Makes me wonder if an elder falls at a private home if the rest of the family would sue the family member who has been the caregiver. Of course not, but they would be the first one in line to sue if an elder falls at a continuing care facility.

We are such a sue happy nation, no wonder there are so many rules and regulations. The nursing homes are in a Catch 22 situation.
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