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Grandma has lived in her home for over 35 years, after Grandpa passed away, she went downhill fast. She has become more agitated and has become harder to handle every month. We are assuming by the end of summer she will be needing more medical care than I can provide. This is a very hard transition for any family. Any advice would be helpful. We are all very close and we feel like we are giving up on her but I know my family is suffering at the same time with Caregiving Overload! My kids are starting to resent the fact that we moved states away to help her and sometimes she is so mean to them (they dont understand) and its taken a toll on my relationship as well...we are hanging in there but dont know how much longer we can.

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I'm thinking you should see an Elder Attorney; There may be other ways to qualify for Medicaid but you need Legal assistance to pursue it.
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Thank you all so very much for your responses. I truly appreciate the support I get on this website, it has been sort of like a Bible of Caregivers to me and I dont know what I would do without you all! :) HUGS & BEST WISHES to everyone in our shoes. Since this post, we have visited facilities in areas both in Michigan and Oregon (Family support to cover 3+ visiting/week in both states) We are finding Dementia Care and deciding between NH or Assisted Living. Its amazing to see the differences. The issue we have run into as we continue our search is she has TOO little of income to personal pay these OUTRAGES monthly costs and makes TOO much to qualify for Medicaid. Gross pay is around $2400/month between SSI and Retirement- Neither payments can be reduced to help her qualify for even a waiver program. No assets, her house is in a Reverse Mortgage. We have a big family but in our wonderful economy (cough, cough) there is nobody that can guarantee family financial support over $2000 to throw in every month. I feel like we jumped the hardest part making the decision only to fly into this new glass wall. Anyone else have this issue?? Am I missing a "grey line" or service that helps? She is widowed and no....he was not a veteran. *stressed at 6 am* Angela
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Just wanted to reconfirm what others have been saying about NH and how they deal with the swallowing problem. My poor father had that problem as well. The NH was very attentive to this and would take him to a table in another room where others had similar problems and were eating the same food. So they could sit together and not feel isolated. My father missed "real food" but really didn't complain about how this had to be prepared. It's scary when you can't swallow; so I think he felt more in control having the food go down easily.
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To Original poster Angelaleigh76 (OP), Gulfqueen all of the above replies are a confirmation that true care giving truely comes from the heart! OP, you are not giving up on Grandmother by knowing that it's time for a different type of care, perhaps the kind of care that you cannot fully provide but can over see. You have a good heart, allow your mind to and heart to guide you, not guilt.

Gulfqueen, because of my Dad's Stroke he cannot eat solid foods. His NH purrees his food and they thicken his drinks. My Dad is a very loving Father but at 3 weeks short of turning 97, he can be very fiesty and controlling! Dad can feed himself but sometimes he likes to demand that someone feeds him. If he were at home with my 87 yr old Mother, I don't think either one of them would have survived the stress, nor I! But at the NH, they highly encourage him to do as much as he can for himself and if they see he is having a difficult time THEN they feed him. I do a lot of observing at my Parents NH, they do a God sent job of taking care of patients. I wasn't given that gift, I'm a good Manager for my Parents healt care but my emotions are too closely tied to be their full time care giver and I accept that.

Oh and my Dad is a very fussy eater too, if it's not full of salt or sugar...it's yuck. but he will go ahead and eat it as long as he has desert and a fruit punch with his food. I take him Milk shakes when I visit, it's not much but it helps.

My heart is full for all Care givers, thank you all for sharing your experience, support and advice but most of all the comfort from someone who understands.
Blessings!
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My father had an episode that required hospitalization for a period of about 9 days. After that a physic therapist went to his house for some follow-up visits. I said to her that I was getting worried that I could not persuade my parents to hire help in the house. Her words to me really resonated. She said that in her experience, nothing changes until there is a crisis. I have remembered those words since. My father passed away a couple of years later. Now my mother has Alz. and I am in the process of finding a home for her. The words of the pt keep coming back to me. In both your case and mine, dear angelaleigh76, I think we have to suffer some kind of crisis either personally or if our mothers sustain a fall, before she is moved into a facility. It will be out of our hands. I was at a workshop that dealt with moving a loved one into a care facility and one of the attendees's mother fell and had to be hospitalized and then was moved into a facility. The attendee admitted and the facilitator of the workshop acknowledged that it was a blessing in disguise as the decision and the timing was dictated by a higher power. Personally, I pray for such an event. As it happens the mother of this person is now v. happy in the facility and calls it home. There is light at the end of tunnel. Nothing is forever. I wish you and everyone who frequents these pages, peace.
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A dementia unit is usually set up so that the patient cannot escape. I suggest looking for one where the staff is thoroughly trained in dealing with dementia/Alzheimer's. I say this because when my father was placed back in 2001, the unit was fairly new to the facility. They were very forceful in getting my father up in the morning for breakfast and showers. He became combative with them.He stayed there 6 months until we could place him in our city. The NH in our city was much more knowledgeable about Alzheimer's. They did not force him to eat breakfast by a set time. If he didn't get a shower until 10am it wasn't a big issue like at the other facility. If my dad didn't want to participate in group activities they didn't force him. My dad worked in a hardware store most of his adult life and he love to garden. Everyday (while he was still mobile) he would go outside in the enclosed yard at the NH and remove all the sprinkle heads. The staff would have to put them back on everyday, LOL!

My father also got where he needed his food blended and they know to do all that when the time comes. They deal with a variety of eating issues with all the patients. When dad was first placed he actually put on some weight. My mom was having a horrible time with him at home when it came to eating (part of the reason she placed him when she did).

Make unannounced visits to different facilities at different times of the day. It's just like picking a day care for a child, they want you to visit at a time when they have everything under control like at storytime. If possible go to support group meetings at the facility before placement and get to know some of the other people who have a family member placed there. Look for cleanliness and does it smell bad. NH's have come a long way in the last 20 years. I can remember a NH home here in my city that smelled badly of urine. All the NH's I have been in during that last 12 years no longer have that smell. Be prepared that in a dementia unit, some patients are very difficult and when you go there, they may be crying, screaming etc. It can be scary when you encounter these things and we want to blame the NH when often it is the patient. If you have a bad visit, go back again another day.Good luck in your choice and take care♥!
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Golf queen, very often people in These facilities know exactly how to get people to eat... They know who to make the food safe, what tricks will jog someone's memory about how to chew and swallow, how to add color to make it attractive. They can't love our elders more than we do, but they often do KNOW more about various options to help them, than we ourselves know.
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How could I possibly move my mother into an assisted living or dementia home when she has a swallowing problem and her food has to be diced up or blended in a blender. She is VERY VERY fussy with what she eats and now isn't eating hardly anything. I don't know what to buy for her to eat anymore. Everything we give her is YUK.
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Your story sounds like I could have written it. Putting my sweet Mom in a "dementia care" unit is the hardest thing I have ever done and continues to haunt me daily however there is a "breaking point" at which YOU have given up your life for the sake of your Mom, and she doesn't even know or remember all you have and are doing. IF she were able to understand, she would tell you to quit missing your own meaningful and fun times with your spouse and family. I know my Mom would tell me that, IF she could. You will worry about her every minute of the day and night no matter how excellenet the facility is - because you have to accept that you are no longer in control of every minute of her care and it's hard to give that up. My best advice is: Every facility will tell you all of the wonderful things they will do for your Mom and they are all pretty much the same. The key is finding out if they really do it! Ask family members, get references from friends, neighbors who may have family there. No different than finding a daycare for a small child. Be an advocate for your Mom as if she were an 18 month old. Pop in at different times, get nosey with the aides! You have to remember there will be many situations where your Mom will say something happened and you will have no clue whether it really happened or not...it's her "demented" word against theirs and you know where that can go....Keep in mind most of these aides have - sit down for this one- 2 weeks of training and state certificate...you have years of training and LOVE your patient.....so stand firm on her care! You know best.
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Thank you- that means alot to me to hear. There is a great deal of guilt. My guilt is knowing I can probably stretch it out another year BUT at the same time, my health is declining and the stress is enormous. My once a time ago "favorite grandma" has turned into stress associated with new memories of her recent behavior. Thats the part I hate the most. I know she is not the person she used to be...and I also know its not her fault. Its really sad that I have so much stress associated with her now. Its like a misbehaved child that you just cant get right after many different attempts. I am going to visit her as much as possible when she gets placed and hope I can re-connect with her in a better way since it wont all be on my shoulders now. She wont be placed until June or July it looks like so I am hanging in there until then! :) YOGA is my next choice of relieving stress. I need some well deserved ME TIME :)
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First of all, you are not giving up on her - you are looking out for her best interests as well as that of your family. Nursing homes are not what they use to be. There are many great facilities out there. After what my family has been through with MIL that use to live with us; I empathize and understand what you are going through.

These are difficult decisions; and there is a period of adjustment for the elderly person. But whether it be assisted living with dementia care unit or nursing home, it can work out. I understand what you are going through and felt guilty that my children were suffering the effects of the situation when my MIL lived with us. Also, both my husband and I developed health problems due to the stress. Every experience is different; so none can be compared.

I think when our children are affected negatively, something needs to be done. I feel guilty that I subjected my children to the effects of an elderly person living in the home and all the problems associated with it.

My mother is in a facility with many health problems and mental health issues. I know what it is like to be the only caregiver after she has turned away everyone else in our family because of holding a grudge. She is well taken care of and the facility is outstanding. My kids, who are teenagers and early twenties don't even want to visit at facility due to previous unpleasant visits.

My husband even consulted the priest from our church and he was wonderful and totally understanding of the nursing home choices. After you have all that you can do, it is time. Bless you and take care.
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