Going into NH - how do/did you tell them??

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After 3 months of attempted rehab, we've been told that my 85-y/o mother-in-law is not progressing with therapy and has actually lost ground since her admittance. It's time for her to move to the NH side of the rehab center.

She has multiple health problems, the worst of which being that she is completely incontinent and bed- or wheelchair-bound. She has some AL and dementia but is mostly lucid, though her short term memory is bad.

Hubby is heartsick at having to tell her. She spends our entire daily visit talking, asking, begging to go home and is under the impression that she is getting better, which she isn't, and that it's only a matter of a few weeks before her doc will 'send her home'.

How did you tell your loved one about needing 24/7 care? And that they will not be going back home? I know it will be all hubby's 'fault', even though everyone is in agreement that she is in the best possible place for her needs.

Thanks in advance for sharing your stories. Lis.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
wish I knew, I am going through the same thing with my father that wants to live with me, and we are trying it, however, the stress and worry constantly that he is going to fall is overwhelming me.........he is very head strong............and i dont want to be viewed in his eyes of "putting him out"....................total nightmare
This is a tough situation. But the fact is her health requires care that is probably not doable in your home. I do know people who have taken it on with full time care in the home-BUT- managing that is a full-time job. Nursing home care requires vigilance too but not the same responsibility--or usually, cost. If the funds are available--I would suggest trying at home care simply for the emotional advantage to an 85 yr old mom. I'm 80--and family/our children-- are our legacy to life.
Top Answer
This is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. With my mom, she fell several times in her home and the last time she fell, it is a miracle she didn't get killed. She always dreaded the thought of a nursing home, so my sister and I took turns keeping her in our homes. Then one winter, while she was at my sister's, she got pneumonia three times. She was so weak, the doctor said we had no choice but to admit her to a home. We talked to her and told her it was just until she got stronger. After she was there a while, we (and she) realized we could not give her the care she needed. She still asked about going to my home sometimes but I explained to her that I work full time and as much as I loved her, adding her care to my already stressful schedule was just too much for me. I still visited her almost everyday, helped her get ready for bed, made sure she ate, etc. When she got stronger, I took her for rides and to church. She loved that, but then she started going down (she was 93 years old) and I couldn't do that anymore. What I am trying to say is explain to her that this does not mean her life is over and you will still be there for her. You have to do what is best for her and yourself. Good luck and God bless................
When Mom's doc told me that it was time for mom to go to 24/7 skilled care, I simply told her what her doc said and found what I thought to be ..a "good" NH. I visited often and each time, she had her clothes ..carrying them around with her ready to go back home with me and would think I was there to bring her back home. This went on for 2-3 years. It was sad because she always carried her clothes around with her all day waiting for me to come and "take her back home with me"...after 2-3 years of me telling her that "This is your home now"..she finally stopped asking and adjusted to the NH way of life. I've had to move her back in with me tho each time a NH neglected her or lied to me about taking her to an appt...when they didn't., etc. She's been in 5 NH now in 6 years and in between them lived with me..which was SOOOOOOOOOOO hard on me with no help from siblings at all.
I was caring for my mil in her own home until she fell last Oct and husband/son made the decision to place her. She, like most of the elderly, had always vehemently insisted that if she went into a home she would just die. Well, we all know that will happen eventually, but not because of the move. The one advantage is that with dementia it really does make the explanation easier. And there is no reason to be brutally honest if a little white fiblet will help ease the transition. When the admittance coordinator came to visit with her prior to placement, it was agreed that "nursing home" would not be mentioned, it was "rehab center", which in truth was what would be occurring. We told the mil that since she was falling she needed help with walking, getting up and down, etc. And since I can't lift and husband also has some health issues, it was the right thing to do. Sure she still occasionally tells us that "the doctor will be releasing me to come home soon", or will call us and say that she is being held prisoner, but when we are there she is so pleased to show us around and tell us what a nice place it is. The key to all of it lies in not allowing that little "guilt" bug to make you feel like you are doing something terrible. In reality, you are showing your loved one just how much you truly love them by doing what is best for them. And sometimes the best is turning their care over to someone else.
Why cant you bring her home with help? They get better care at home than a NH for sure, even if you hire help at home, it can be done. My Moms in late stage alz, cannot walk or talk, is incontinent and I puree her foods, but she never wanted to go into a NH so she is with us. I hire help, so worth it. Good luck.
Thank you all for your comments so far, they are so hopeful!

Christine, I'm sorry you're at this stage as well. I hope you can find peace in whatever decision you choose. MIL is very headstrong as well - she's fired the last two in-home caregivers we've hired to help. Sometimes it seems they want to stay in control more than they want to get well or be safe!

Hessaw, we've been caring for her in her home for the past 4 years as she's been homebound that long - so she's sort of had her assisted living time already, as we brought in meals, did all shopping, bill-paying, etc. She's now at least a two-person lift and sometimes three helpers are needed, so she's beyond us keeping her at home any longer.

Reverseroles, I'm glad you are able to keep your mom in your home. Hubby and I also care for my folks, ages 85 and 89, who live next door to us. Mom just came home from the hospital today after breaking her shoulder in a fall last week, so at the moment, MIL needs to remain where she is. Another problem, MIL is still sly enough to wait for any caregiver to turn their back even for a moment, then try to get up by herself. It's resulted in two falls already and we need her where she can be safe.

Sorry about your situation, I know the feeling of them getting up. My Mom had the beginnings of dementia 5 years ago when she moved in and she forgot her hip was broken. She would go to get up over and over and I had to booby trap her bed and sleep on the floor next to her. It was hell but after 7 weeks of that it was healed !! Her doctor told me that most falls happen in a nursing homes so beware, they dont have the staff to stay with them. I hope she doesnt fall there and I wish her all the best.
My mother-in-law had been living alone in her home after my father-in-law died for about a year (with MUCH help from us) when she fell and broke her second hip. She went from the hospital to rehab, then straight to asst. living without ever going home to live alone again. It was AWFUL having to be the one to actually look her in the eye and tell her that after the evaluation from 4 different doctors, they said she could never live alone again. The family was pussy footing around so much, that she kept asking when she was going home. Finally I'm the one that had to put it in black and white and tell her the truth. I felt so sorry for her when I saw the disbelief on her face. I can't imagine being in the house you'd lived in for 50 years one minute, and the next minute being told I had NO choice but live somewhere else. Lisbeth, put the blame on the doctors who have said your mother-in-law can't go home. Make them the bad guys, because believe me, they don't care.
matthew24, ditto - my parent will never go into a nursing home either. She will never be alone and I feel so bad for anyone who has to go into one, breaks my heart into pieces to think of it.

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