Overwhelmed.

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My sister has been saying Mom needs to go into a home since Christmas and today I realized it's true. I can't do everything, there is no one to help me, I am supposed to be on vacation and I haven't had a day off in 10 days. Mom keeps getting worse. I am calling the assisted living place tomorrow. I just need to know where they will send her when the money runs out. She only has enough to last about two years. THe way she is going, I don't know if she will live that long anyway. I just know I can't do it anymore.

Anyone else put their parent in assisted living? I don't think she will want to go, but she doesn't want the sitters I hire to come to her apt. and I think she needs 24/7 care, which for in-home, costs more than assisted living.

My sister lives 2,000 miles away, my brother is useless and my aunt can't do much. There is no one but me and my mom's friend/neighbor. I have to go back to work Monday - who is going to do everything then?

Mom (81) had surgery in Sept., which no one wanted her to have, and she has gone steadily downhill since. I am 44 and feel like I no longer have any social life or friends because all I do is take care of mom. I can't go anywhere, I don't have time to return phone calls or emails, so I have no friends left. I am so burned out.

I called the local MAC about their support group and they never called back. I don't have time to go anyway. I asked what services they had (on a different phone call) and she said it would be two months before she could have Mom evaluated. So they are of no help. Anything that needs to be done, I will have to do it. I have to either leave her to her own devices or put her somewhere before I lose my mind. I feel so guilty, but it's kind of come down to me or her. I can't keep doing this. It's always a new crisis, this time I just happened to be off work. I'm going to go back more stressed than when I left.

8 Comments

sandola, I am sorry that you are overwhelmed and burning out. It sounds like your sister was right about your mom needing a nursing home. I'm also sorry that your brother is useless, and your sister lives 2,000 miles away which makes her unavailable to help. I'm glad that you found this site. There are a lot of helpful and supportive people here.

Will your work allow you any family leave time so that you can take care of what needs to be done for your mom?

Am I correct to assume that you have medical and durable POA for your mother?

Has she seen her doctor since her surgery?

Not wanting the sitters is really not something for your mom to decide if
she is going to be able to keep living at home with you working a full time job. Does she understand that she needs 24/7 care?

She might not want to move to an assisted living place or to a nursing home. Unless she's been declared incompetent by a doctor, I don't think that you can force her against her will. The only way you can force her against her will that I am aware of is to file for guardianship which involves going to court, having two doctors testify that she is incompetent and paying a lawyer about $5,000.

You mention calling an assisted living place in the morning. Are you asking about assisted living or a nursing home? They are completely different and have different standards for entrance. While they are both 24/7 care places assisted living places, like the one my MIL is in, expect people to get themselves up, get themselves to three meals a day, etc.

A nursing home is far more intensive for people with greater needs like severe mobility problems, severe dementia, and can't do a whole list of what we would consider basic things.

When your mother's money runs out, she will need to go on medicaid and most assisted living places will not take Medicaid, but nursing homes do.

I am not familiar with MAC. What does that stand for? Why does a MAC evaluate your mother and not your mother's doctor?

Has your mother been evaluated by her doctor for an evaluation of her mental and physical health? Does she have dementia? What other medical problems does she have? What is the doctor's opinion as to where she should live and what kind of care she needs? You are going to need a doctor saying that she needs assisted living or a nursing home for her to get into one.

Also, once you have the doctor's input, it may take some time to get her into a nursing home. My mom was fortunate that when she needed a nursing home there was one nearby who had an opening. She was also fortunate to have a Long Term Care policy that paid for most of her nursing home expenses.

I wish you the best in finding solutions for your situation. Love, hugs and prayers.
Sand, you can get a geriatric care manager privately to handle the assessment. Most of them in my area are in the range of $100 an hour. They could help you determine what the appropriate placement and level of care are for Mom. And the participation can be ongoing, say visit once a month, to keep an eye out for changes that would require a higher level of care.
So I would call a private nursing company to get this assessment? I have asked her surgeon, her primary care doctor and the home health nurse for a "geriatric assessment" but no one has done anything. If my Mom's old doctor was still practicing, she would have known long ago that something was seriously wrong. That dr. retired a year or so ago and this new one doesn't really know Mom so she doesn't realize how bad off she is.

By now the home health nurse has to know how confused she is, but I don't know what she can do. SHe seems to need a dr.'s order to do anything. My sister and I are worried because she has lost 40 lbs since Sept.

I have medical and general POA, but I didn't realize I could not put her in assisted living w/o her agreement. I'm going to call and see what they say today - according the info they sent, they provide the assessment via a dr and nurse. I have a lot of questions for them. Their info says mom could go there for a month to see if she likes it and to give me a break. THey offer 3 levels of care. They can tell me where she will go when there is no more money.

If I have to trick her into signing it, it will be better than her being left at home alone or going into a nursing home.
Other details I forgot to include: she had her colon and rectum removed in Sept. I am noticing a lot of memory problems: she doesn't know what day it is - she asked me "is today Christmas Day?" two days after Christmas, she cannot read and follow instructions anymore, the doctor gave us paperwork to go get bloodwork yesterday and less than 1 hr later my Mom told someone we were going to pick up a prescription (no Mom, you have to go get your blood taken).

She is incontinent, which is a normal thing after the surgery she has had, but I think it is making her depressed. I think she has been depressed since the first surgery (2nd surgery was an ostomy reversal on Dec. 3). My sister, aunt and I have told all the docs she is depressed, but they don't give her anything. No one cares. I think it should be called "health services" not health care because no one gives a damn. It's not their mother, so why should they care? I think they are in the wrong job. OF course all of my docs are the same and my sister's and aunts too so it's not just my mom's dr. Sorry for the rant, I am so tired.

I called MAC back in Sept. I don't know what MAC stands for, but it is the agency for old people around here. They are useless. All they did was send me a list of sitters and agencies. I can google agencies.
Sand, check out this website for geriatric care managers in your area.

http://www.caremanager.org/join-us/certification/
Sand, it is good that the place you are planning to place your mother is will evaluate her.

Yes, a home health nurse can only do according to a doctor's orders. If the place you are contacting did not offer to do an evaluation, I was going to suggest finding another doctor to evaluate her.

Has the doctor who did the surgery not seen her at all since the surgery? That does not sound right and I think he needs to be informed that your mother has lost 40 lbs since the surgery.

The only way that you can absolutely make your mother go is to file for guardianship which costs about $5,000 and requires two doctors to find her incompetent.

I would ask the assisted living if they will accept medicaid when her care level reaches that of a nursing home?

I wish you the best is sorting through all of this.
Your mom's memory could be so bad because of having anesthesia twice at her age. Anesthesia is very hard on older people. A friend's mom had two big surgeries in her early 80s and had dementia after that. Your mom's cognitive skills may have also taken a hit with all of her medical problems, so she may not be able to think as clearly as she would have before her surgeries. Many surgeons won't warn families of those possible outcomes.

How is your mom able to take in food, without a colon or rectum? Does she have a feeding tube? If so, that could be the cause of a lot of her weight loss. As someone else asked, does her doctor know she's lost 40 pounds? When she had the surgeries, did they give you expectations about her recovery and whether she might lose weight? I would think that might be common, but have no idea if that's too much to lose or not. If she is on a feeding tube, that's one more reason she needs professional support. You can't be expected to be a professional nurse, business manager, home care expert and daughter while working full-time. It's just too much!

If it was me, I'd ask my sister to come for a week to help me get mom situated. When my parents left their home of 35 years, my brother came back from CA (we live in IL) and spent a week helping take care of things. You need the moral and physical support. So call in whatever help you can. You don't have to do this all alone! And keep asking questions here, we have a lot of combined knowledge and experience between all of us caregivers.
It is definitely the anesthesia. SHe's had 6 surgeries in 7 years and her memory is worse after each one, which is another reason I didn't want her to have this last one (well, two).

My sister can't come out anymore because she is sick and on IV infusion therapy twice a day. She has CVM - I haven't googled that yet. My aunt is 70 and sort of confused herself, so it's just me.

Mom is actually getting better, but I know it won't be long before the next crisis, so I am setting up a meeting with the assisted living place to get as much info as possible. So I can figure out what to do next. THank you all SO MUCH for all of your help and advice and links.

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