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I just turned 62 this past September, and I would like to go into senior housing. I have been accepted at two complexes in another state; I am considering moving there to be closer to my sister since I have no family in the area where I live. I am on a waiting list; it could be anywhere between one and five years, and I don't feel like waiting my turn; I just want to butt in line and get there. I have two falls on complex property, one resulted in a bruised back; the other resulted in a fractured right wrist, and I would like to sue the complex. I am by myself a lot, I am not on very good terms with my fellow tenants, all a bunch of druggies or kids which I totally dislike; I also do not attend church on Sunday. Any suggestions here? Some of the libraries here have knitting groups, and I like doing that sort of stuff.
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Just ta, lked with my mom today about possibly moving to assisted living....we have visited several in past, and never signed up since they cost so much. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could somehow "fix" the price to be exactly what you were paying in your home? My mom lives on about $29,000 per year in her own home, with some paid in-home care and lots of free help from me. If we found a place with a large private bedroom and her own TV room, large bathroom, deck, kitchen, and it cost the same as now, she (and I) would jump for joy. But they all have very small bedrooms, no den (unless you pay extra), no deck, some have hardly any bathroom space to maneuver around, and the help is all charged extra, as are meals beyond the first 10 or 14. They try to spin it as "customized" care, or a menu, or "we only charge for the services you really need" but we can see right thru that. They can't wait to get someone in there, to get at their money, that's their reason for existing. So we will continue to stay at home as long as possible--that is the only way we still have some control over her costs. Once you go to a facility you can pretty much figure everything you've got will go to pay the bills there. But I've already told my mom I refuse to change her diaper--that is the line we know, if it gets to that point, she will have to move.
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Best to be proactive as you can verses reactive. Hindsight always seems to be 20/20 when dealing with someone that is declining. It doesn't have to be your decision alone...but yours in the end. Involve EVERYONE you can in the decision and fact finding. I really leaned on the care-receiver's primary physician...asking for a geriatric nurse that specializes in elder care and evaluating when its time to leave the house for an ALF. Set a baseline and a threshold as soon as you can so that once the person crosses that threshold you & professionals have set, the decision becomes more clear. Maybe not easier of course...but you will feel confident that you have made a good decision with the information you have been given (your care-receivers decline has reached that point) Its the whole boiling frog lesson we as caregivers can become susceptible to: Slowly things decline (just as a frog gets slowly lowered into the boiling water) we get used to it...adapt...sacrifice mind, body, soul for the greater good of the slowly declining care receiver...when do we jump out of the boiling water? We are getting so used to it. Only some care-receivers will go through the quick injury, rehab, alf...just like the frog being dropped into the boiling water...only to jump right out!. Think about other things you have already done and learn from them that it is better to take action than be lucky! We took her car keys away only after she side-swiped a car, backed-into the house a few times, and told us how she pulled out in front of a fire truck with its lights on and sirens blaring. We installed grab bars and handrails only after she fell multiple times (86% of us only install grab bars AFTER we have fallen!). We listened to her and let her remain in her house after she left the burners on the stove for a whole night, cooked popcorn too long, caught the microwave on fire and filled the house with smoke, was found wandering the neighborhood. I had to get counselors to talk, consult, re-assure the care-giver's POA's that they were doing the best thing for her by transitioning her out of her home. The thing you will find is that the caregiving doesn't stop even when your care-receiver is in an ALF. There is just the satisfaction that you know if you are ill, busy, working, that she is being cared for by those trained in care-giving. You worry less. You can enjoy more. You will sleep better. Good luck with your transition decision. (Note, if you can realistically & financially afford to keep your care-receiver in his/her own home, all the more power to you...just don't become the frog being slowly lowered into the pot of boiling water!)
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The changes are gradual. There is also a test, a questionnaire, if answered honestly, can give the patient and caregiver an insight as to what level of care is needed. The test confirms whether the patient needs (or wants) a 55+ housing, or Independent Living, Assisted Living or Nursing Home care. The big gap is between Independent and Assisted Living.
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It's best to place a parent in some variation of 24/7 assisted living a little to early than a little to late.
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Praying for every patient and caregiver out there. The core to Ed's situation is everyone is different---their situation is different. But, unless the medical field comes up with cost effective and emotional solutions, I do not see much changing. What is most discerning is the increasing need for caregiving is rising. In another decade with more and more people being diagnosed, I struggle with this. The economy is the pits. Most people do not have well paying jobs to cover $6,000 a month for nursing home care. Who will pay for all this? Will hospitals be built for dementia patients only. What will the quality of life for loved ones be? Yes, Ed, having Alzheimer's disease is very frightening. But, in the end after all the emotional struggles, the patient lapses into a peaceful, coma-like state unaware of happenings. I like to feel it is God's gentle touch giving them peace. But, do you know who continues to suffer? It is the caregiver that has given 10-15 years of their life--sometimes an isolated life. They no longer know, or care, how to pick up those years lost. Some caregivers give up, some die before the patient, some commit suicide, others are so depressed they never recover. I've often heard that the bond is so strong when an Alzheimer's patient dies, so does the caregiver. God bless you and those who care for you. Count each day as a blessing. Appreciate all the little things in life. Be positive and live each day to the fullest. Thank God if you can walk--many cannot. Thank God you have feelings, can see, hear, laugh, cry and hug. I will be thinking and praying for you.
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OMG Yvonne wrong thread to post in. Sorry.
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Is it extra expensive to have cremation done out of the US and send the ashes back home when you pass on?
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I have to disagree here just because so done can potty, bathe and feed themselves that doesn't necessarily mean they are safe to live alone. Sure it makes it easier if they can do those things but what about mental ability to stay safe and make smart choices? What about being able to safely administer medication and not forget? People pray on the elderly and they often fall victim to scams and don't always make the safest choices. Assisted living is wonderful if you find a great facility. They are out there you just have to search long and hard. After many sleepless months wondering if my mom was ok by herself I'm relieved to know she is being looked after and has those extra eyes on her if she needs help. I would much rather deal with the guilt of "putting her away" as she loves to calls it then god forbid having something terrible happen that could have been prevented.
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The activities of daily living are : feeding oneself, bathing, potty care, and dressing.
If one can do those things, no matter how immobile one is, then assisted living is not necessary. Of course, all the help you can get such as a lift chair, wheel chair, potty lift ( at least 16 inches), and walker/canes are all helpful. One on one help is the best way to go, in my opinion.
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As a staff member at a Senior living center- independent to assisted, the main reason we see new residents come to live with us is they are unable to properly care for themselves any longer. They have mobility issues and cannot physically bathe, prepare meals, get around without falls; or they have memory issues- forget to take medication, take too much, forget to eat, become disoriented and confused (sometimes scared). Most places provide medication assistance if needed, meals and snacks, bathing and grooming assistance if needed, and mobility assistance- transferring from walker to bed, or wheelchair, etc., and some variety of daily activities. Some places are more "homelike" and some are very expensive (like the one I work), and residents often take some time to adjust. But they make new friends, and have someone watching over them when family cannot be there. Best thing is go visit places and see how you feel when you are there... you get a "gut" feeling of the atmosphere- is this place right for my loved one? Talk to the resident counselors/sales staff, and make your decision. It is better to have some guilt for placing your family member in a nice place then to have the guilt of them ending up in ICU because they could take care of themselves. It is a labor of love!
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my independent 84 year old mother has lived alone in her house & handled ALL her affairs without input from us kids. she fell recently, fx her shoulder & bad bone bruise but no surgery and is now in rehab/nursing facility for recovery. she has other medical conditions but is still mentally herself. she does not want to sell her house to pay for indpendent living but only has medicare for couple months recovery/nursing home and then has to start paying on her own. she only has her house to fall back on & wants that to go to her kids at her death. brother wants POA but I'm wanting to wait to see how she does with recovery. any suggestions on how to handle the POA while she's capable of making her own decisions?
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I stand "corrected", thank you wannahelp.
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Actually wannahelp said it in the post before mine. I think it is awesome! I should have mentioned it in my post - didn't realize it would go on a new page.
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Wow, emjo, I think you just gave me my new mantra for the day, well said!
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"Mom will always have my love, but she can no longer have my life."
for me that says it all!
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For me, my Mom's been ok/not ok for so long that I figured I was imagining things. I got her a Lifeline button and she wore it but couldn't remember why, so I got her one to call just me and she won't wear it. I got her a 5-star responder (great unit, by the way), and she couldn't remember how it worked or why that person talked to he when she pushed the button, but she "knew how a cellphone worked", so I got her a Jitterbug with the 5-star feature on it, and she can remember to keep it charged, but not to carry it with her - or carries it and doesn't turn it on. Then she sits down to a computer and sends e-mails and reads the news. I've been going crazy trying to 'place' her progress for several years now (she lives alone next door to me). My line-of-demarcation came not long ago when she walked out in front of a truck. She wasn't hit due to the driver's quick response and my grabbing her arm, and even then, I could see where it was dark, there was a lot of activity (Christmas festivities in town), etc. -- People make mistakes. But when I talked to her about it the next day (allowing time for me to be calm and her to be rested), it "never happened". That oblivion rang the bell. This past week, she told me about 'someone' coming to visit and her dog really liked them, but she could not ever remember who came to visit. Her doctor is going to refer her to a neurologist for workup and she'll probably be in an ALF or NH pending those results. I'm relieved.
It's always a hard decision, but, with her, it was harder because somedays she really seems to be ok. My Dad had Alzheimer's and his decline was steady - faster at some times than others, but always travelled in a declining motion. Mom's been up and down all over the charts, which I've learned is characteristic of some types of dementia. I guess the bottom line is that when you've covered all the bases you know to cover and still find that nothing works because of the accusations, the hiding, and the probability of endangering themselves or others, you do what you can to help them be safe --- and you do what you can to preserve your own life too. I'm learning that we, as caregivers, still have a right to have a life, to laugh, to love, to go on vacation, to enjoy our own families (spouses, children, grandchildren,etc). I guess some will say I'm cold-hearted, but with working 2 jobs, a disabled husband, a 50 acre farm, sons and grandsons that I only see a couple of times a year...Mom will always have my love, but she can no longer have my life.
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Wow. This conversation is great. I have a similar situation, but with a kink. My dad, 88, has dementia. My mom, 86, fell and broke her hip and is not in a "Rehab Center" for at least 6 weeks. I am not sure she will be out at 6 weeks, as she is so doped up all the time. I requested they reduce the pain meds somewhat, but the doctor said she needed them. So we are trying to keep Dad home until she returns. We are having trouble letting him stay alone, as it seems whenever there is no one with him, he gets on the phone and calls all of us (3 sibs) and wants to know why we haven't come to take him to the hospital to see Mother. Even if we just left him at home after taking him to see her!! My brother and sister want to put him in assisted living or memory care home. I am afraid if we do that, he and Mother will never be together again (they have been married over 65 years- she has been covering his dementia for the last 3). What should I do? Agree with them and feel guilty the rest of my life? Try to keep Dad at home (I could live with him short-term, but don't want to jeopardize my marriage be being gone for months)?
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you are definately not alone here trying hard, this is a great support group for those of us who are trying to do their best for their aging relatives. Its not an easy role to fill but one we do from our hearts, often with no appreciation from other siblings. Stay strong and always remember to try and take care of you too, I know that sounds easier than done but its really important for you to keep your sanity through all of this and not make your self nuts questioning whether you are doing your best.
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wow and thanks to all the posts here, this is exactly what I'm experiencing and it's just so frustrating and all I can see is a bad end coming my mom's way. I'm just going to keep trying to figure it out and know that I'm not alone in this sinking boat.
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joym - I went through the process of trying to figure out if my mom was deliberately manipulating me or if she was unaware and then came to the conclusion that although it was probably a combination of both, it didn't matter. What mattered is that I recognize the manipulations when they are happening and don't succumb to the traps. I've basically taken a tough love approach where I'm learning how to balance giving love, support, compassion and doing what needs to be done with limit-setting on how much I can and will do. This is extremely challenging but it is helping me to cope without all the guilt for not doing more and feeling at peace knowing I'm doing enough. I don't have children but some of what I've been learning from other posts is that it's similar to having a child - you don't give your child everything they want whenever they want it. The stress I was having when I was caught in my mother's vortex of endless needs, wants, manipulations, etc. was so overwhelming but a few days ago, I finally said enough! And slowly, I am feeling like I've gained some sense of control back over my life and learning how to manage the stress.
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joym, my sisters have also resisted (and even undermined) my attempts to get my mother in an alternate living situation with the excuse of saving money in case it is needed. A somewhat effective counter-argument to that is that if they live on their own until the train wreck, the costs of 24/7 nursing homes blows through the savings much, much faster than making the choice of a senior community now. Of course that argument hasn't worked for me yet but I think it made some headway.
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Wow this is just what I needed to read to realize I am not alone in this struggle. I too feel very manipulated by my Mom sometimes, I am a sole caregiver and I've often encouraged her to atleast consider an adult community or assisted living, but to no avail. Once I had her almost considering it until my useless sister told her it was so expensive and why would she want to consider spending all of that money every month. Nice. Easy for her to say since she only visits once every two weeks if at that. I love my Mom more than anything and its so difficult managing the balance between allowing her to live at home which is what she wants and still retaining my life and my sanity. I can't help but wonder sometimes if she knows she is manipulating me or if it truly is something she is not aware of.Its very frustrating and the stress is wrecking havoc on me.
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Soverytired - I'm in the same situation - it's amazing how many of us are fighting the same battle - and I was drowning in the emotions of anger, resentment, sadness, frustration, love, and even feeling hatred at one point when I nearly collapsed from exhaustion. Then I found this site recently and what a difference reading and learning about others' struggles has made. My mom has refused to go to ASL or a nursing home and so I've set up caregivers, she has lifeline, there is food and all of her basic needs are being met. I cut back from visiting every day for 4 hours to visiting every 3 days now for 1 hour because I know a caregiver are coming in 2 hours each morning and evening, and there is a neighbor checking in on her, also. I call each morning and each evening before her bed time. She is not safe living alone but this is her choice and despite my begging and pleading, it only made matters worse. So recognized your limits and realize you have the right to take care of yourself. I don't know where any of us got the message that we should sacrifice our health, our lives, our spouses, friends, etc. or end up killing ourselves to take care of a parent, particularly a parent like mine who is narcissistic, emotionally abusive, and not concerned with my needs at all. I love what Lilliput said about how these mom's aren't being very good mothers to us when they act like this. And although some our disoriented, confused, and sick, I believe most of them know the basic difference between right and wrong and many take advantage of us through manipulation, power, and control for their own selfish reasons without any regard for the toll it is taking on our own lives. As a Christian, I feel an obligation to do what is right and I love my mother, but I came to the point that I recognized my mother has the right to live on her own independently if that is what she chooses and I have the right to take care of myself and not give up my life so she can have what she wants.
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sovery: We have all been through these emotions....I could have written your post several months ago. You are 100% correct about a senior's resoursefulness at getting people, even total strangers, to do their bidding. They just turn on that "helpless, no-one-will-help-me" schtick. Whenever I tried to set boundaries or have Mom be responsible for the consequences of her decisions, she did an end run around me and found some other victim...of course, they thought I was "just terrible" for not helping her. (let them walk in my shoes for just one week.)
And you are also correct, they will NEVER acknowledge how much strain they are putting on your life. I did the 24/7 routine for three years. I knew that she needed more care than I could provide, but I thought I could do it all. It finally took a toll on me physically and mentally.
So YES you do need to draw the line. Start gathering information about ALFs in her area. Visit them by yourself and talk to the director. Be very candid about your Mom's needs. They will promise you the moon...if they do, have them put everything in writing. After you have found a few, hand the information to your Mom and let her mull over it. Do not get into emotionally manipulative conversations (ie "you don't love me, you are trying to get rid of me, I'll call someone else in the family...") Just say, "take a look at these and we will talk later."
Create a time line and stick to it. But the best and most respectful thing is to try and get buy-in from your parent. This takes time, so start right away.
You do not have to completely withdraw from her life. However, if she rejects you just because you cannot keep up this pace, she isn't being a very good mother to you. (we never think of it that way, do we?)
In the meantime, stop the grunt work. I hired two paid caregivers to come by once a week. One did personal care such as bathing, etc. The other did light housework, shopping, errands. I took care of everything else, but the extra help made things a little easier.
good luck
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debmcd, your response hit home. I am in begging and pleading stage with my mother while trying to respect her right to make her own choice (she's mentally alert but extremely physically limited). I feel that if she made the choice now she would have a better quality life for some time than if I let the train hit that I see coming down the tracks. But you are also right that she expects me to compensate so she can live on the edge and this is causing me not only the additional workload but resentment, criticism from family members, and confusion over whether what I am doing is right or not. I mean I am enabling her to stay in her home while believing the best thing she could do is get out of her home. Where do you draw the line? I do her laundry, cleaning, pet care, cooking all her meals and am at her beck and call 24/7. I pay for a medical alert system (which she uses frequently) because I'm terrified that I cannot get to her on a timely basis. You would think she would care about what she's doing to the quality of my life, but she doesn't, she's completely self absorbed. What do others do in this situation? Do you stop extending help so that reality sinks in for the elder person? She is quite resourceful so she'll get neighbors, church members others to do her bidding if I withdraw but it will ruin our relationship. It is hard to say no to the mother you have loved all your life and think that she could die any minute while angry with you. I resent this situation so much and feel that I am being manipulated. No one else in my family will help.
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A Nursing Home is not a death sentence. It is not prison, but it is very difficult to adjust to. If the time comes: Can't wash, can't feed oneself, can't go potty without assistance, can't lift oneself onto anything, then some type of intervention is necessary. Notice that I didn't say, can't take medication, can't drink fluids.....these can be handled by a caregiver who comes to you.
Of course it's a difficult decision, but what's the alternative?
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I'm struggling with this now and feel guilty that she isn't safe living alone but also feel guilty if I move her into a nursing facility, something she defiantly opposes. She is not safe living alone and I have caregivers coming in but she is constantly sending them home saying she doesn't need them. She is confused, disoriented, and mentally ill on top of having COPD and being on oxygen 24/7 - takes her canula off and forgets to put it back on, falls, can't read the clock, can't make her own meals, can't bathe (refuses to bathe and will only use baby wipes for cleaning), and on the problems go. She is angry, hostile, abusive, and refuses her food, water, and medication. She has also refused to assign a POA or guardianship so there is nothing I can do but pray. All I can say in response to this question is that I have tried EVERYTHING and nothing has worked and I'm finally recognizing my limitations and have basically given up.
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Thank you for your response. My Mom is good physically, but can't hear, gets confused about the mail, etc. She accusses me of taking her money. I hear this is normal, but I get so upset and offended. My sisters think it's funny, but they don't live her, I do. I left my abusive husband of 45 years and God put me here to take care of Mother.
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I had to put my mom in nursing care after a fall which resulted in a broken leg. She wasn't able to do the physical therapy to get mobile again, plus her mind is getting progressively worse. Knowing that she could no longer manage her daily needs, such as preparing food, bathing, etc. also helped me make this decision. A word of warning...this will be the most , or one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make in your life. The change is extremely hard for them and for you. There will be guilt and just down right sorrow involved in the whole experience, so make sure it is the last resort before going ahead. God bless you.
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