My mother is 90 and still lives in her home, with my unemployed adult brother living with her. Without going into too many details, I'll just say that for financial reasons my brother has been trying to keep her at home for as long as possible. She's had a few stints in a rehab after being hospitalized for illnesses (pneumonia) and they've been nice places, with good food and activities and even visiting entertainers. Each time I've gently suggested that she might be able to stay there one day, but she would start crying and getting upset, saying she has her own home and doesn't EVER want to go in a NH. I think she remembers the awful places my grandmother and great-grandmother were in the 1960s and 70s. She is a very stubborn woman and I've been dreading this NH issue for many years. It certainly hasn't helped having my brother side with her - it's been two against one. I am her DPOA, but do not have a medical POA; stupid, I know.
It's been a rough road the past few years and both my mother and brother, for their own personal reasons, have fought her going in a NH. It's now becoming apparent that we're nearing the end of the road for her staying at home and she will need to go in a NH soon. She is on a cocktail of meds that are keeping her fairly healthy for her age, but she has mild to middling dementia and worsening arthritis in her knees. There was an awful flareup of pain last week and an ambulance took her to the ER. They were unable to do much else but give her a painkiller injection and a lidocaine shot, along with a cortisone shot which didn't work. We didn't think she'd be able to get around the house too well when she got home (get on and off the toilet, etc) so we pretty much begged her doc to admit her, which he refused to do for an arthritic knee. We brought her home (with difficulty, after that painkiller), and she's been in pain but stable ever since. We have an appt with an orthopedic this week.
The helplessness we felt that night in the ER when told they us they wouldn't admit her was just awful. It was really obvious my brother wouldn't be able to handle taking care of her and I work and have my own family to care for. I asked to speak to a social worker about moving her to a NH that very night but was told since it was a Sunday night, there weren't any available. I think that night, coupled with my mother's increasing hygiene problems and dementia, has shown my brother that our mother can no longer live at home. I spoke to an elder lawyer a while back and the house will probably be transferred to my brother, as a "caretaker child". From that moment on, he'll own the house and be responsible for all the bills, which is the reason he's been fighting putting my mother in a NH for so long. Hiring an in-home caretaker is out of the question due to the cluttered condition of the home and other problems which I won't go into. We now have a home health aide coming in twice a week to bathe my mother and, while I'm thrilled that she's finally getting clean, it's been causing it's own kind of problems having someone come into the house.
I always thought my mother would move into a NH after another stint in the hospital and then rehab. I had hoped that it would be a natural progression. But it's obvious to me now that she'll probably need to go in one not due to illness but because of my and my brother's inability to care for her ourselves. My question to the message board is: how do I get her into a NH directly from her home? I can't imagine just loading her up into my car and driving her there; she would most likely throw herself out of the car. Is there a procedure? (I've already picked the NH). Also, does anyone have any advice on what we should do if (more like when) we're back in the ER with our mother and they won't admit her and there's no way she should be going home that night because we can't care for her? We're in NJ, by the way.
Thank you in advance for any advice or stories about your own experiences when moving a parent to NH directly from their home and how you got through it. I really appreciate your support.