Soverytired Asked September 2011

Do I disagree with my mother or just leave it alone when she tells me stories of what happened at the nursing facility?

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My mother recently spent a month in a nursing facility for PT following a lengthy hospital stay. She was very apprehensive about going. She insisted I be there twice a day, which I was for minimally 2 hrs in the am and 2 hrs in the pm every day. Because I was there so much, I'm pretty confident that the staff was good to her. I knew all their names (as did she) and after she settled in, she seemed happy enough, liked the food and the people. The day she left, I had to wheel her all around to say goodbye to all her favorite people. Since then, she has decided that it was a horrendous experience. Every time she talks about it, the story gets worse. Tonight she told me that the dr. there was overmedicating her and her own doctor was shocked when he discovered what "that doctor" had been doing. She even repeated an entire discussion she supposedly had with her own doctor and how angry he was at her follow up appt after discharge. Thing is, I took her to her family doctor after discharge and it never happened. I specifically discussed the changes in her medications (her HBP meds were increased and a second drug was added). Her doctor said to leave the meds as the nursing facility dr. had prescribed and we'd keep an eye on it. A month later, she was feeling dizzy and we called and cut the HBP meds back to her old dose and kept the other medication. So when she added this new enhancement to her tale of woe, I said, Mom, I think your BP was up while you were IP maybe because you were kind of anxious but Dr. Doe knew that and he was ok with it when we went to see him after discharge. We did ultimately cut it back but we kept the other med Dr Smith started you on. She got very angry so I just backed off but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to handle it. I don't want to make her mad by disagreeing with her, she's almost always mad at me but I also really don't want her to have bad memories of this place in case she needs to go back and the memory just seems to be getting worse and worse as she processes it. How would you handle this?

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Soverytired Oct 2011
Thanks for all the reponses, I do love this site and gathering perspective and support from you all. I just let it go when she says something now. I am confident that she was neither mistreated or overmedicated during her stay because I was there so much and also because she really does understand her medications well. I think it was a huge event for her because at her age, admitted so weak she was unable to stand or walk, we both had concerns of whether she would be able to leave at all. So I think she is just processing those memories. (She has been out of the nursing home and in her own home again for several months now). I just wish she had a better perspective of her time there in case she has to go back at some point but she typically chooses negative (and victimized) thoughts over positive on many things now. I used to think I could influence more positive thoughts but now this seems to just make her argumentative. I don't validate the negativity, though, I say something neutral like that was a hard for you being so sick but you're home now. Communication is difficult on many levels and I'm learning that are now a lot of limits in interacting with her. I think she is cognitively in good shape, I would not say she has dementia except maybe very early stage. But she has one very self focused version of reality on many things, she's very negative, she's very stubborn and resistant. Most of the time, I just have to practice being empathetic yet neutral.
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even if she might be making things up, remember that she is on medication and that the medication might be causing her to make those things up. All prescribed drugs have side effects and all doctors fail to tell us what those side effects are.
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bebe10 Oct 2011
Soverytired ~ Just wanted to follow up ...wondered how things were going with you.
Have you solved the problem and if so..would you mind sharing? I still do volunteer work and the solution may be helpful to someone else. There have been so many great posts here and I do hope that we have helped in some way. It would be real nice to know how you are doing...so if at all possible fill us in. Love and blessings! Bobbi
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puckmomma Oct 2011
They will say and do just about anything to get out of there!!!! My mom has sabbotaged herself from 2 longterm hospitals because she is quote: diffulcult. Of course they told us she didn't meet criterea, but we know the truth. She also said things to us how "cruel" they are treating her.

Do the invenstigating for yourself. See if there is any merit to her claims. If she says the doctor over medicated her ask to speak to the doctors ... A family member has that right. And if what she is doing is overfabricating the situation try to alleviate her fears. Talk nice to her and never say she is making it up. Tell her you talked to the doctor and that she was misinformed, then tell her what really happened.
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dianne1 Oct 2011
I went through something similar with my mom. When Mom went into the nursing home for rehab, she tried to leave, and the staff had to put her back in bed. Mom said that the aides "threw" her on the bed. I was sure that that was not the case, but in my mother's mind that was what happened. I did not disagree with her. I just said "I'm sorry that happened to you." My mom has dementia, and she comes up with a lot of very strange things. I have learned not to argue. I just listen, and eventually she'll move on to something else. My doctor said is is pointless to argue with dementia patients. I don't know if your mom has dementia or not, but even if she does not, it might be best to just let her rant. Then you could confer privately with the health professionals that you suspect she isn't viewing things realistically. In the event she would need to go back into skilled care, perhaps you could choose a different one if she is really resistent.
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goodgirl Oct 2011
I used to disagree with mom when I knew she wasn't telling something correctly thinking that she only needed to be reminded to be set straight, but it soon became obvious that she thinks she is telling things just the way they happened. She is in a funny stage of dementia where she knows that a good part of the time her brain just isn't working right and much of the time she can laugh about it. Sometimes however, she can cause a problem with her memory. She accused a handyman in the seniors only building that she lived in of stealing something from her apartment. When I asked her to describe how she knew it was him she told me that she was in the bedroom and could see him in the living room, just walk across and take it. I asked if she saw him clearly and she said yes. I reminded her that she is mostly blind and if she saw him that clearly she was probably dreaming. It sort of stopped her in her tracks for a few minutes and then she resumed the "he stole it" story. She was always an avid reader and I'm finding that things she read about have become things she actually did. She traveled to France twice and England twice with my very generous sister and husband who were happy to take her on these trips with them over the years. Now she is talking about countries she was never in and telling me how she lived in England for years. When I try to remind her that it was a two week vacation she tells me that she is worried about me because I don't seem to be able to remember things correctly. I know this will all come back to haunt me when I'm the one who is 96 and my kids are trying to tell me how it really is! At this point I just go along with the things that don't really make a difference. You have to pick your arguments.
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tigerlily Oct 2011
My mother is somewhat the same way. For some reason my mom feels like everyone is against her or something. A touch paranoid. I have been with my mom when she met or talked to someone and later she will tell the story with a whole new spin, while adding info and details that NEVER happened.
Sometimes I ignore her but depending on the tale I sometimes step and and remind her that I was there and that the event didn't happen that way at all.
It doesn't really make much difference with her because in her head it happened the way SHE remembers it.
Someone else mentioned this but maybe she did have an ok time in the AL but worries that you might want to put her there forever. If that is the case she may be trying to encourage you NOT to put her there by telling tales!
You might tell her that you have no wish for her to go back there at all and that you are glad to have her with you, just to see if that helps.
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BethC Oct 2011
Leanne was pretty much right on with her suggestion to try to change the subject whenever your mother begins being negative about the facility. My mother is currently in a nice rehab. hospital following a mild stroke, and I visit her twice a day. She needs the rehab.so bringing her home early is out of the question - she can't do anything for herself right now, including getting out of bed and to the bathroom, and I work full-time. Every day when I get there she mentions how much she wants to go home, how much she hates it there, but when I question her why there are never any real specifics. It's mostly being afraid that she will be left there, even though I have reassured her over and over that it is a rehab. facility only, and they will not keep her - she will come home at the end of her rehab. Then she will turn right around and get angry at me for asking her if she needs anything, or try to assit her. She tried telling me they wouldn't let her use the phone, so I had them reassure that she could. Then she said they wouldn't let her go outside, so I had them explain to her that no, she could not go out by herself, but could go out if someone took her. Of course, I had to explain that the nurses and techs there do not have time to do that, they're understaffed as it is. The next complaint was that she wasn't getting her meds. When I mentioned to her that they have them listed in a ledger, and check them off as they dispurse them, she changed her story. A big part of it is manipulation . . . trying to make you feel they're being mistreated so you'll take them home. But definitely keep your eyes and ears open, visit at different times, without letting them know ahead of time, just ot be on the safe side.
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Hopeful2011 Oct 2011
It is my understanding that if you have POA you are allowed to check up on your mother's medication list and occasionaly check the dosages for yourself.

When my mother was at an AL a few month's ago, she started complaining of dizziness and wanted to stay in bed and sleep all the time. When I checked her medication, I found that her dosage on a medication had been increased (without the Dr. or P.A. contacting me), and that she was taking 3 medications that could make her dizzy. She fell three times at the AL in a two week period, the 3rd time she broke her back and was very dehydrated. I was not contacted by the Med. Tech at the AL that she had fallen and was complaining of alot of pain. Now that she is at a SN, the new doctor has taken her off of one of the medications, decreased the other and the SN keeps track of her fluids. Mom is more alert and up and about again.

If your mother does go to another facility, I would suggest finding one that is rated with 4 stars, and has a good patient staff ratio. Ask the other residents' families for their input & what are the pros and cons of the facility. I have found that some of these places have sincere and good people, and a few others who are there for other reasons and do not have the patients' welfare & safety in mind. At my mother's new facility there is not the boast of "our family is committed to yours" or such; our family has seen that at this SN the staff's actions speak louder than their mere words. The Director oversees and hires professional staff who are truly committed to professionalism in excellence and quality care. I hope you can find such a place for your mother someday. It might be a good idea to begin your search for a Plan B so you do not need to make hasty decisions in the future and live with regrets that you didn't have time to check the place out.
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bebe10 Oct 2011
How do you know they are just stories about the nursing home??? My mother was being abused by another patient but was a afraid to speak up...I finally figured it out myself when my mother wanted to come and live with me. When I would call her at the home she would say she did not like it there and wished she were dead and I would drive a thousand miles to try and straighten it out...only to find that once I arrived and confronted the nurses and the room mate would always be there ...my mother would say she loved it. Then I finally opened my eyes and began just kind of look around. I noticed that the room mate had most of the room and the bathroom only her robe, etc. and the closet ..my mother had about one foot of space and the room mate about five feet of space. One thing led to another I found that my mother was even afraid to get up at night to go to the bath room because she could not see without the light and if she turned the light on the room mate would get upset. So my poor mother lived in fear for a whole year before she had them call me and when I got on the phone and she said she wanted to live with me I knew there had to be something going on! That when I decided to take her out the home and thank God while I was there was able to see what had been happening and who knows what else. It wasn't like she was not having visitors because the family up there was visiting her on a couple of times on a weekly basis. I feel that the visitation should be daily. Good luck to you and many blessings. Caregiving is a difficult job and I hope you are not forgetting to take care of 'You" ~ Hugs - Bobbi
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