Dear caregiving friends of mine, I am bringing Mom (93) back home. Any advice?


I want her close. This time, in a smaller and carpeted room. My husband casually mentioned one day.... I almost think we should have your mom back. He said that after having observed me talk about mom with sorrow in my voice at her being there. I really think I can care for her as good as the NH... she is slowing down so much. My desire is that she expires at home and not in some institution. This will mean closer monitoring for me and more stay-at-home time. I do not work outside the home at this time anyway. We may not have Home Nursing available for one month because of red tape... but I can hire former home health friends I know to get some respite. I hoped to have her out of NH by October. Time is of the essence... I don't want her to feel institutionalized any longer than necessary. Her only meds right now are for pain and for restless legs which have kept her up one night after another. Seems that is now under control. Also, while at the NH, she has been weaned off the Fentanyl which is a good thing done while under supervision. I believe everything looks rather good. Any suggestions or feedback please?

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If she does like simple puzzles, the dollar store has large piece puzzles available and cheap too!
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Honestly, if you can do the physical care, and have a good amount of respite and a supportive family, the only deal-breaker would be if Mom has attitude and behavior issues that would make day to day life with her less than bearable after more than a short while. If you can do a trial week or weekend first it might also help troubleshoot or forestall issues that would make the move unwise. I hope it all works at least half as well as you think it will and proves to be a blessing. It is something that I only wish we could have done for my folks, but despite all the bad stories on here, there is something of a selection bias involved in that (people with problems write more than happy ones) and it really can be done in many cases.
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Good luck to you all.
Only advice I have is remember to keep your batteries topped up.
Remember hubby, and take, make time for you both.
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Things may be OK today, but plan ahead for the days when mom's needs have escalated and you are dealing with full incontinence, lack of mobility, and cognitive decline as well. Some people are quite lucky and get to avoid all that, but I wouldn't bet on it.
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Jocelyne, regarding the carpeting, make sure the carpet isn't extra thick or has thick padding otherwise it makes it more difficult to use a rolling walker, a wheelchair, or for even an elder to walk on it.

I would baby-proof the house, thus use padding for furniture that has extended tops where the corners are sharp. My Mom had bumped her head on Dad's high-boy dresser one time.

One issue is making sure our parent uses that walker, some feel when they are back at home then being careful goes out the window.... thus wall and furniture walking. No matter how careful we are, you could have a room full of caregivers and nurses, and that elder is going to find some way to fall !!

Hope this becomes a win-win for you and your Mom :)
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My favorite coloring source is Dover Publications, which has a very extensive range of books from simple for young children to very complicated for adults.
You can also get samples sent to you and print them out for coloring. I'm going to PM the link to you as soon as I look it up.

The flowers are especially nice to color, as they literally open up and develop right before your eyes.

Years ago I found some large piece puzzles at a children's store. I've looked recently but that store has gone out of business, and "large piece puzzles" when googled comes up as "large (number) of pieces", so it's not what I want.

Reminisce magazine has crossword puzzles which sometimes focus on WWII and Depression Era words, so it's a nice memory jog for older folks.

The carpeting is a good idea as long as the walker can roll over it easily. My father has walkers, but prefers his rollator; it gives him more balance. It is actually much more sturdy and in my mind safer. But it's great that she uses her walker - some folks resist it.

You might even tie a seasonally colored ribbon and bow on it to decorate it for her!

Does she enjoy crafts? We're coming up on the season for making Fall and/or Halloween wreaths. They're easy to make because an older person can just poke little silk sprigs of flowers, fall berries, nuts, etc, into the holes in the wreaths.

Perhaps she could also help decorate for the winter holidays - I think there's something magic about red and green, blue and gold, in holiday displays. And the Christmas magazines are already out!

Sounds you've thought of everything - now it's just a matter of time before you're reunited!
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That sounds great. I would insist on the protective briefs to save on cleanups. She may not prefer to do it, but I think I would just insist anyway. Maybe, she'll why that is so important.

The carpet is a good idea too. I did some research once on seniors and falls. I found that having carpet down is a huge preventative for fractures. Even if they do fall, the injuries are much less severe if they fall on carpet.

Before she arrives, I would mention in conversation to friends and family that the doctors have stressed how important it is to have her on a schedule and that you are planning to do exactly that. I would say it often and stress it a lot. That way you will discourage people from dropping in at inopportune times and overstaying their visit. You can always then pop up with well, it's time for mom's medication and nap, and we must stay on schedule. Visits are wonderful, but some people add more work when they visit if you know what I mean.
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Excellent tips, GardenArtist! and Synnygirl... mom would love to come home.

Mom is ambulatory, uses her walker, but will at times attempt to "feel" her way from wall to wall or furniture to furniture. That's why we are placing her in a smaller bedroom with carpet. Should she fall, getting hurt will be less likely. She will have a porta potty right next to her bed to facilitate bathroom use w/o having to walk far... like she did nicely before she left. I also greatly hope she will be willing to continue wearing protection briefs like she does now at the nursing home. She never wanted to at home. She can still feed herself with utensils, and drink. I will for sure have to make a definite effort - more than before - to sit with her and do puzzles, color, read to her, watch some TV with her, to encourage activity.

All complete estate planning is in order. Love the suggestion on not showering, etc... she hates getting wet and cold! Thank you!
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I take it that your mom isn't happy where she is and she wants to come to your home. Were you missing her being there or was it her desire to leave?

If she wants to come live with you, then I would take much of the advice given by GardenArtist above. Great tips.

I'm still not clear on how much care she needs. I read a lot on this site about how challenging it is to care for someone around the clock in the home, especially when they are bed bound. It's good you have access to outside support.
Helpful Answer (3)

Joselyn, you have a heart of gold, as does your husband!

I don't recall all of your posts, or whether your mother is ambulatory, so these suggestions might be moot.

1. If there are any assistive devices you think you'll need, ask the assigned PT or OT if they can order them, based on your mother's Dx. Again, I apologize but I just don't remember what her situation was.

2. If you don't have a commode, walker, rollator, shower chair or grab bars, get them installed before she comes home. And remove all trip hazards.

3. Plan your days to balance mental stimulation and relaxation. I'm thinking that maybe she enjoys working crossword puzzles, discussing the news, things like that. If not, what does she enjoy doing that she still can do?

4. Forget about showering and bathing; use the NoRinse products and she'll be able to be cleaned up without immersion and/or becoming chilled.

5. Arrange for friends and relatives to visit periodically, but not stay too long as it may wear her down.

6. Make some casseroles, bread, etc., and freeze ahead of time in case you become too tired to cook.

7. I assume you have all her estate planning documents in order; if not, tend to that.
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