Out of state parent in nursing home...


My semi dementia mom is in 7th month at NH. Now she is confused and wants to talk each day, and she has no family or friends alive anymore.
Been a long road last 7 years, she was angry hyper critical mother, and was never happy.
I have a nice life and live 3 states away, and visit every 6 weeks or so.
At times I am so weary, I ask my wife to talk to her on phone.
So she is finally in NH and I still have a daily conversation of stuff to deal with.
Just sharing, thanks for listening..

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I like what Countrymouse said. My Mom was a fun Mom. She laughed a lot and was liked. Her kitchen usually had my Dad and his brothers sitting around drinking coffee and eating whatever she baked that day. Our friends literally lived at our house. By the time AL and a NH came into the picture, she was in her own little world but the staff loved her and would tell me how sweet she was. How can you tell, I'd ask. Their answers were, we just can.
I found the NH liberating. Because of an upcoming vacation, I even allowed them to launder Moms clothes. She was on Medicaid, the home was payee for her SS and pension. All I needed to do was visit. The house, is a different thing but figure I will lose it so not worrying there.

I assume Mom has a phone she can call u on. This will not last forever. She will forget how to use it. Someone mentioned there is a phone u can call them but they can't dial out. Or, next visit take it when she is not looking. The staff can tell her she must have misplaced it and they will be on the lookout for it. Or, just hang in there and wait till when she no longer knows how to use it.

I am assuming you live 3 states away for a reason. Look at it this way, it would be so much worse if you lived closer. When Mom calls and she gets started, tell her what she is doing is abuse and you will not tolerate it. If she can't keep the conversation pleasant, you will say goodbye.

Blannie, problem with taking a parent from one state to another is Medicaid. Each state has their own rules and regulations. One being establishing residency. She would have to pay privately until she met residency requirements.

I know Jim, they run us around like we're idiots, put here to please their every whim!
Take her phone call once a week if you can.
Then go on with your life. You've done the best you can. She'll never be satisfied.

As I am an only child the 2 times my mother has been in AL it has been close to me. The second time we actually retired early to do this but we are close to retirement age and have moved to a much less expensive state for her and us. I think for your sanity and general well being she should not live with you but perhaps could be closer. She may not be happy but then she isnt happy anyway. It might be less stressful to have her closer but certainly not in your home. It could make visiting a little easier for you but her personality should not guilt trip you.

Fair enough.

"As ye sow, so shall ye reap." And it wasn't you who established the pattern of your relationship with your mother.

It is very sad, I am very sad, to think of a little old lady with advancing dementia alone and forlorn in a Nursing Home. You see that sort of thing on t.v., and everyone wants to rush round there with cake and balloons and whole choirs of charming eight year olds.

But then you have to come down to earth and think it through. Why is this lady sad and alone? And sometimes - not nearly always - it is because that is the situation she herself engineered.

In your mother's case, something made her angry and dissatisfied even with those she loved best. It could have been almost anything, but the one thing you can be sure of is that it wasn't your doing. And, actually, the other thing you can be pretty confident about is that there is not much you can do about it now beyond the cosmetics.

The only thing I would say is, that while it is a lovely, supportive gesture that your wife is making, your wife is no substitute for you. A nice extra, and it is sweet of her to take the trouble; but neither of you should imagine that speaking to your wife is a substitute for speaking to you in your mother's eyes. It just isn't.

If you can bear it, it would be better to develop a conversational routine, much in the same way as people say Our Father or their religion's equivalent, and write off those two minutes every day. I can tell you from experience that your saying "fine, very busy at work, are they looking after you?" will mean more to your mother than you think. Mind, I don't say this to make you feel guilty if you really can't face it. I'm just hoping to restore your sense of proportion about what's being asked of you. When it's all you've got left, superficial is better than no contact at all.

You're on the 'phone, don't forget. If push comes to shove you can always say "gotta go! Love you!" and hang up.

Jim , my story is very similar. I cared for both parents from 3 states away. After 5 years of worry, mishaps, 12 hour drives I finally got them in assisted living in their home town. Mom died in April but she was very angry about being in a facility and would hardly speak to me. Then if I didn’t visit or call she would be mad and hurt about it.

Dad is now in memory care. I don’t call because we can’t really have a conversation any longer due to his dementia. I check,in with staff regularly. I make the trip every 2 or 3 months for a visit.

It’s hard not to feel guilty. But in our situations this is as good as it gets. My dad and your mom are cared for. I just have to think back to when they were home, living on cereal, not bathing, mom falling , dad wandering etc.  

Nothing will make your mom happy. I would cut down on the calls to her. 

My mom would try to guilt trip me HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME.....I would tell her I’m not having this conversation again and leave or hang up.

Rest of story......
I had moved her up north 2 years ago into nice ALF...
She demanded to go home and made our life a living hell over it..
After much pleading and discussions, I relinquished and moved her back.
She lasted 6 months, fell for the 5th time and landed in hospital again...
I then made provisions to move her to SNF and pretty much said that's it...

I'm sorry you have to deal with this. I'm not sure if moving mom any closer would help you out. Visiting every six weeks is pretty frequent for an out-of-state son.

Are there any finances to hire someone to check in on her regularly or act as a friend or companion? Maybe that person could take some of the burdens off of you.

JLM, I believe that most of the caregivers on this site have experienced many of the same issues you are having. Helping our loved ones to get into a facility doesn't mean the end of things like advocating for them or visiting and phone calls. Since Mom has no friends or family near her, would it be better to have her nearer to you? That would mean less travel when you visit and it might give you the ability to pop in to be sure she is well taken care of.