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As a former CNA, I worked at two LTC facilities. Each CNA had 10 residents on the Evening shift, dinner and bed time. 10 residents is very doable. You want to avoid places that CNA's have 15 residents as a norm. If co-worker goes home their group gets split up. As a CNA it was the best experience I had. I noticed that some residents didn't have visitors at all, some had visitors everyday/all day. We had a lady on a feeding tube, she had zero body movement and zero communication. Zero visitors..her Obituary listed at least 25 family members. All she had was staff. We would knock on her door before walking in, say hello, and we would still have a one sided conversation with her. I had great co-workers, teamwork is key. Our families in both facilities were wonderful.

My mom is now in LTC after being in Assisted Living. The staff starting with the ladies at the front desk all the way to nursing staff are friendly and helpful. They are great with the Residents. I visit Mom once a week and I stay as long as she lets me. If I get there after dinner, she tells me she's tired and ready for bed. If I get there during the day she has some activity to go to so I better go she tells me.
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A lot depends on the patient and the visitor if this is something that is working for both of them. My Mom was in the last stage of dementia when she went into long-term-care and could no longer walk or feed herself. My Dad's caregiver would take Dad over to see Mom daily, usually around lunch time so the caregiver could help feed Mom.

Mom would recognize me, but communications was difficult being Mom was now deaf and her eyesight was so poor, she was 97 at the time. My visits were around a half hour as Mom would fall asleep.

Eventually I stopped going daily, I cut it back to every other day. If I was younger, I would have had more energy but I was pushing 70 at the time and still had my career.

Now when my Dad moved into senior living, I use to go there daily as I know everything was life changing for him since my Mom had passed. He still had his caregiver so it wasn't like he was totally alone in a strange place. He loved where he was :) Eventually I cut back to every other day, then once a week on Sunday. A former neighbor in the old neighborhood would also visit him once a week and they would talk old times.
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As someone who worked in a few nursing homes, I say please visit them as often as you can. The resident who never have visitors, the staff becomes their family but we don't have the time for much personal contact. Attention and touch is so important for both their mental and physical health. I always felt sorry for the residents who only had visitors on Christmas and Easter.
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Anne
Are you and your mother happy in each other's company or is this a chore ? What does nh staff say about her leaving with you?

My mom 93 is very dependent upon me - since her move to memory care in February I visit her min 3x a week usually at night after work and stay til she's asleep in bed
On Sunday I try to take her to dinner and sometimes a movie
Today I got there at 7 am gave her a shower took for lab work out for breakfast
Back to facility did jigsaw puzzles got her snacks and snuck out during her nap

My brother and sister never visit and if they did it would only be for a short time

I put myself in her shoes - I know how scared and alone she is but I'm exhausted all the time - it's getting to be too much after 9 mos
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I have my mother, who has dimentia, for dinner every Sunday. She comes early enough to watch a movie she enjoys and have some tea and dessert. About an hour after dinner, my husband drives her back to the nursing home.
I go to visit usually once a week, and take lunch got us both to share. I stay for about 4 hours. Every two weeks, I take her out with her walker and go to whatever stores she likes, take her out for dinner, then take her back home.
My sister says that I go too often, and stay too long, and that I should not get her USED TO all this time with me. My mom lived with me and my husband for 41 years, by the way. Is my sister right? I don't go because I want to... I go because it makes my mothers life happier. Perhaps my sister is right... I don't know! If I knew the answer.... I would be so much happier! Please be honest! I NEED to know who is right... me or my sister. Please help.
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I have my mother, who has dimentia, for dinner every Sunday. She comes early enough to watch a movie she enjoys and have some tea and dessert. About an hour after dinner, my husband drives her back to the nursing home.
I go to visit usually once a week, and take lunch got us both to share. I stay for about 4 hours. Every two weeks, I take her out with her walker and go to whatever stores she likes, take her out for dinner, then take her back home.
My sister says that I go too often, and stay too long, and that I should not get her USED TO all this time with me. My mom lived with me and my husband for 41 years, by the way. Is my sister right? I don't go because I want to... I go because it makes my mothers life happier. Perhaps my sister is right... I don't know! If I knew the answer.... I would be so much happier! Please be honest! I NEED to know who is right... me or my sister. Please help.
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I have to say my fiancee was in a nursing home for he had cancer and surgery. One day I called and he didn't know he was talking to me and said I had to come in face to face to see him. I felt like they were over medicating him. His short term memory was coming and going. That day I stayed with him for 7 hours straight and wanted to take him home with me and could not. He walked out and hit his head and had a seizure because of the security buzzing him out of the gate. How I found out he was not there I was calling every hour after I left to talk to him. He answered his cell phone once the very first call I made and I told him his brother was coming to see him. Turns out his brother never made it and after that I called every hour up until twelve and got no answer. So I called the nurses station and asked them to tell him to answer his phone. They were very rude and said he is out on a pass an hung the phone up every time. He doesn't go out on a pass without me knowing about it and certainly not at 8:00 at night;; ;nor without an escort because his equilibruim is off.Long story short he was out wandering the streets and hurt himself. At this moment he is in the hospital on a respirator an every other tube you can name stuck in him. I feel like I was robbed of the time that I had remaining with him on this Earth. Every day gets harder to visit him, because on top of the accident the cancer returned. So i just want to say if you really love the person don't sell yourself short spend every moment you have available. I am the caregiver for him so I did everything from paying his bills to bathing, feeding, shaving and making love to him. Now all I can do is hold his hand and talk to him. If anyone has any advice how to cope please share, because it is tearing me up inside.
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Many people make the decision for placement based upon their inability to continue care at home. It is our belief that the nursing homes have the staff to provide that care. The training is there, but the numbers of trained personnel are not. We know the individual preferences and needs of our parent, they do not. There are typically three shifts working on any given day, which means at least three different staff members must interact with our parent. The numbers of residents multiplies the demands of the staff. There is no replacement for our involvement. If we could receive the help at home at this level, we would not place them in a nursing home because we provide the love and support that only family can provide. Therefore, our presence is terribly important and that includes asking questions, and even doing things for our parent while we are visiting. Our main concern is our parent, so my attitude is to roll up my sleeves and do everything that I can for my parent. This is not any easy road, but one that must be traveled. Our insights into the improvements needed must be communicated to the state elder care where you reside. Any egregious concerns often when not addressed by the facility may respond to the media.
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Cathy, I am so sorry for your loss. I know that our involvement is essential to good care at any nursing home. My mother was in a nursing home which was rated 4 out of 5 stars for nursing staff, and overall rating, but I saw room for improvement.

There were three cna's for 18 residents, a nurse on staff (all the time) and a doctor that made her rounds. I know that of the 18 residents about 1/3 were wheelchair bound (my mother included), at least one third were higher functioning (but still needed constant supervision) and the others in various stages of dementia.

Watching several different 'teams' that seem to have totally different 'styles' as far as relating to the residents. I would have like to see the more experienced team members with some of the 'newer staff' to provide a balance of maturity AND infused energy.

One thing I was happy to see was that a new administrator with tons of experience with Alzheimer's was hired to improve the care in the dementia unit. I was there when she held one of her 'awareness' meetings on how to deal with various behaviors in dementia patients

As part of the 'aging America' I know that WE have to be proactive in seeing that all our elders (and ourselves) get the care we need should we need it.

For those who want to read a book about the CNA experience, let me recommend "Dancing With Rose" by Lauren Kessler. I read this book and was surprised at the how much is expected from cna's and how much needs to be improved in our health care facilities. Everything we do to help our loved ones helps them too.

No one wants to think that "we" will spend our 'last days' in a nursing home, but should that happen I would like to think that more improvements have been made.
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Hi there,

My Father had Parkinson's and Demenia and we had to put him in a Nursing Home about 9 months before he passed away. (We were unable to pick him up if he fell at home.) My Mother and I spent about 3 hours every day with him but we were fortunate to be able to share the responsibility and that made it more tolerable.

Even though we researched and chose the best nursing home we could find, I truly feel that patients with visitors are treated better by the staff. I can't even begin to tell you how many things I've had to correct for my Dad (he wasn't able to communicate well) on a daily basis with the nursing staff. From the type of food he would eat, bi-weekly showers, and even how often his diaper was changed!

Their were exceptions but it seemed that many of the nurses and cna's were short staffed, tired, and overworked. This was the same through the 4 different nursing homes we were at.

I felt good knowing that I could help my Dad even if he wasn't quite all there in my time. He knew he was loved most of the time.

Cathy
Merritt Island, FL
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I agree Mami. It is important that the staff see we haven't just dumped our parents off and leave them to the wind. Should that happen, and I doubt it will, but never say never, I would be there at all different times of the day and night so they wouldn't know when to expect me. That way they'd have to be on their p's and Q's.

Seems inportant to our parents that they know that we are still there for them anyway.

Again hasn't happened and I hope it doesn't, but should it, I will be there as often as possible.
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I worked in hospitals for many years. Trust me they do. Make no mistake, nursing homes are a business. We must make our presence known and keep track of our family member's care. The other front to work on is pushing our leaders for better regulation and legislation to improve the quality of care just like hospitals have. This is no guarantee, but it means that there are penalties for not following the regulations that could lead to their closing.
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Thank you MiaMadre, I miss him EVERYDAY, and it's been 5 years since he left and went to Paradise...
I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom. She, along with my Dad, fell into the cracks of nursing home abuse. I understand these places are understaffed, BUT, if there is a problem taking care of patients, then the nurses and CNA'S should voice it instead of trying to carry the IMPOSSIBLE load.
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Nursing homes are very short staffed. Consider caring for 15 "parents" every shift. The demands for their time is high. I strongly believe that the family must advocate for their loved one at all times. Another tip, check their bill. Errors are very common and it costs all of us in the long run.
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Abuses happen at NH facilities. An act was passed (Federal) to help accomodate this. Ask at the facility if they have a "family council" and sit in on some of the meetings. If not, you can start one. Ths NH is required to have "care planning meetings" with the staff for each patient. You can sit in and voice your concerns. Many feel that a patient may be punished for the involvement of a family member, but voice that concern also & they will know you are aware of it. The sqeeky wheel gets the grease but be reasonable; these folks are probably just as overworked and under paid as the rest of us.
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I agree with sylvester78 completely. I am so sorry for your loss.

Visiting your loved one often is necessary for their well being, their health and their adjusting to their new 'home'. In my humble opinion, ANY nursing home that tells you to 'stay away' after placement for the first month...2 weeks, etc is a nursing home I would never place a loved one in.

I know it takes times for anyone to adjust to new surroundings under the best of circumstances, but when you add dementia or illness to the equation it becomes more of an adjustment. Combative behavior, is often 'handled' with medication, which adds new problems to their care.

If you are the healthcare advocate (I WAS NOT) be sure the nursing home cannot add (or remove) any medication without your approval. Review medical records with the doctor (on staff or have your own doctor called in) and make sure that your loved one is receiving the proper care. If you are NOT healthcare advocate (and another family member is) make sure that you meet with that person often. If they are unwilling to meet with you and discuss their care, involve an OMHSBUDSMAN to help. I wish I had done just that, but I truly felt that my brother was on top of her care. By the time I found out he was not, my mother had a serious UTI and I could do NOTHING to prevent her demise. She ended up in the hospital and died four days later. She wasn't eating right for 2 weeks prior to her passing.

ALSO...when you visit, notice how the rest of the residents are treated while you are there. Are they toileted often? Are they shifted in their beds? Are they involved in activities or left to themselves? Is the staff engaging with the residents or just moving them from one place to another? Even highly rated facilities have deficiencies in patient care. The MORE 'we' visit the more the staff will be aware that WE are interested in their care.

VISIT OFTEN... never announce when you will be there. And know your loved ones' healthcare advocate. OR better yet, become an educated healthcare advocate for your loved one yourself. DO NOT ASSUME that any facility has their best interests at heart! God knows I tried to get health information on Mom and God forgive me for not insisting on getting more . God rest her soul.

I understand that we all have 'lives' and we all EXPECT our loved ones to be cared for as if they were with us, but WE are their voice when they cannot speak. Get to know OTHER family members that do visit and perhaps you can work out a schedule whereby they can 'check-in' with your mother/father/etc on days when they are there, and you will do the same for them. I got to know several 'wifes and husbands' for a few of the residents and knew I could count on them (more so than my own family) for updates on how Mom was doing. I did the same for them when I was there and they were not. I only wish I could have done MORE.
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When you have a loved one in a nursing home who is suffering from dementia, it is IMPERATIVE that you visit them as often as you can. They are in a strange place, there are NO memories there for them to hold on to. The nurses and CNA's are strangers as well.
One thing I can't express enough is when you have a loved one in a nursing home, ask the CNA's or nurses to roll them over, if they are not able of course, and check their body for skin ulcers (bed sores), my Dad had FOUR on his body, one of which was a stage 4. Needless to say, he passed away from sepsis. He was so sick at the end and we did not know why he started pocketing his food. It was because he had an infection in his blood from the sores.
We have a lawsuit pending on this.
TRUST ME, nursing home staff DO NOT care for your loved one like a family member would.
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I am in full agreement with support74---you caanot place a limit on often to visit a parent-especially one with dementia.....Do what your heart dictates to you-but always keep in mind that you are a person as well-and do not fall into the trap of compromising your own health or personal needs... as it is very easy to do. I have been there and done that-and learned -thanks to the support of my local chapter of the alzheimer's association.
Good luck on your journey-and making this decision. I feel that none of us here in this forum can walk in your shoes-but you .
Hap
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I don't have any expertise on the various types of dementia, but it seems to me that it would vary, depending on the case. I think if you let your intuition guide you, you would know what "feels" right to you.
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Actually "I" enjoy(ed) visiting my mother as often as I could. Since it was a 180 trip for me (and I work for myself) I would travel down to see her, and then stay at my brothers (only 9 miles away) for four days at a time.

But it did surprise me how infrequently the rest of the residents got visitors. Why? didn't they have anyone? didn't anyone care about them anymore? Did they have more important things to do? Couldn't they find the time?

When I visited, I found the other 'golden girls' drawn to me and Mom like moths to a flame , and it made me feel so good that even if my mother was less than 'involved' with my visit, she would perk up when everyone else 'came to visit her too!' It was a win/win for both of us. She felt like she was having a tea party, and I felt like I was helping those that didn't get any visitors.

I was always aware of the 'facilities' schedules, and kept Mom on track there too. I never kept them from taking her to therapy, or meals, or bath times either. If she had therapy I would clean out Mom's closet, or arrange things (by day) for the nursing assistants.

I honestly can't think of many 'excuses' NOT to visit. Just wondering what kept others away. (not judging.. just wondering)
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I can only tell you about my experience. My mother has been in a nursing home (alzheimer's floor) for the past 3 months. I visit every day for about 2 1/2 hours.
It is still important to her . . . and to me. She still remembers me which helps and she can carry on a conversation, repetitive as it may be.
A friend of mine who is 59 years old is at the same home on the same floor. Although he hardly speaks anymore and walks around in a daze it still helps him to have visits on some level. It doesn't matter that he probably can't remember me, although sometimes he seems to - quality of life should not change just because you're brain isn't up to par anymore.

I am also self employed which really helps.
My advice is to make your decision dependent on what other responsibilities you have and what you feel is best for both of you. I would lean towards what is best for the loved one ;-) no matter how sad it may be.

Here's a really interesting link - http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125869707 - which validates that visits matter.
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Does this person look forward to your visits? Or enjoy them while you are there? If so, go as often as you can! My mom has dementia (early) but really seems to enjoy my company when I visit.
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I go once every 2 to 3 months. Right now I do not have a vechile and have to rely on others. So that gvies me an excuse.
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