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My mother has pneumonia and thinks she wants hospice. She had pneumonia in September and says her body has changed, and she's done. She is 97. She doesn't know what hospice is all about. The first meeting is Friday. Her mental faculties have been sharp, but are waning due to lowering oxygen levels. Today my sister-in-law who lives out of state and hasn't actually been here to help in two years, picked a fight and was angry that I don't let her do anything. She has held a simmering belief that she would do a much better job than I do. I have taken care of mother for five years. Now I don't want to be in the same room with my sister in law, who, when I asked how she sees us all being with mother, said : we're all light and happy for your mom so she can go happy."
My expectation is that she will try to take over, make decisions, and undermine me which is what she has done in the past and I don't think I can take that during my mother's last days. My brother has told her what the limits are...she doesn't get to make decisions, she will not keep me from being with mom, and she is not to interfere. But that will only last while he is in the room. I have told her it is OK with me if she takes care of mom on the days I'm not here and that I know she wants to be a part of this. Right now, I'm not even sure mother wants hospice, but my sister-in-law absolutely insists it's what mother said she wanted, and she's afraid I am going to push mom to do something that she doesn't want. On the way home from the hospital today, my mother said it was hard to know what to do because she didn't know what it was all about. My job is to clarify and advocate for mother. I keep cautioning that mother may change her mind, but I'm mostly worried mom won't be able to understand without good oxygen levels. In September, she changed her mind about getting treatment for pneumonia, when she had previously had a POLST that said no treatment. She changed the POLST. And insisted on treatment. I'm willing to let mom go. I just don't want her panicked and scared because she is confused and doesn't know what to do. I tried to talk to my sister-in-law. I have included her in the caregiving when they were in town. It seems now I needn't have bothered, as she wanted to be in charge because she could do a better job. Yet, they weren't here, and came only when it was convenient.
I don't have anyone in my life to support me. My friends care, and all, but I'm single and don't have other family. The only caregiver groups are on days I'm at work. I also take care of my Aunt. I get the most support from her caregivers! Right now, I don't want to see my sister in law or be around her. I want to be alone with my mother and have there be time to talk. I suppose Hospice, if we go forward, will help with all this, but do you guys have any experience about how to deal with someone who is angry, and resentful and thinks it's OK to pick fights on a day when my mother decides to let go of life....I tried like the dickens to talk rationally and calmly and was rebuffed. She couldn't see my point of view no matter how I tried to open up and calm the water.

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You have received excellent advice, tune out all negativity, it's never too late to make wonderful memories with your Mom during her final days...2 years ago my BIL was very ill, referred to hospice when all else was not helping...it was a blessing for him and the family, our time was freed from tending to his needs to just spending time loving him and each other, he was in a hospice facility...Mom should make decisions about her final days as she has about her life, as she is able to do, she is thinking of her family, removing a tough decision from their shoulders...preparing for the death of a loved one...you may think you are ready, but when the end finally comes, you will feel the loss no matter how you have prepared for that day...we deal with the "idea" of a situation, IDEALLY...the reality is different, no more role playing, you are faced with the finality...grieve your loss, your Mom has been with you your entire life...share with others the good and the bad, life ends, love is held in your heart and never ends...god bless you all, have as Merry a Christmas as you can make it!
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Your mom does not understand Hospice and your SIL's opinion is accessible yet irrelevant. You have earned the right and have the duty to take the lead in these decisions with mon's best interest in mind. Hospice sounds appropriate from what you described. Is the DR willing to sign off on it? The high level requirement is that the patient has a 6 month or less life expectancy and that they are not receiving aggressive treatment for the condition that qualifies them.

Hospice is comfort care, it s an acceptance and a welcoming of an inevitable end.
It can be at home or in a unit. We did dad's at home, this was better for my mom, and he wanted to go home.

Will keep you in prayer this Holiday season,

L
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Thank you. You're right. My focus is my mother. It's the middle of the night, and I can't sleep. Thank you for answering. It helps so much.
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My advise is you maximize your time with your mother, spend quality time with your mum... bring her favorite places, recreations like her favorite hobby will surely help, sing her songs she love... and pray to God...
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I understand your concern about mother having to make the decision alone. She told us she wanted to let go. But she didn't know about hospice, which was offered by the doctor in ER. We agreed to her letting go. She insists on being in charge of herself. She could reject the hospice as not needed. She did that when her husband died. I don't know what will happen, but I will let mother know that I think their presence would be helpful. Frankly, mother is loathe to let anybody help her do anything. Caregiving was very difficult for this type of personality, and only when she was very ill did she willingly accept help without having to do it herself. I understand we are all going through very strong emotions, it was why I broached the subject of coming to terms and making peace with both my brother and SIL. My brother got it, but my sister in law decided it was her opportunity to fight. I have had no luck in the past talking with her to work things out. She isn't able to do that. She just muscles in and takes over and whatever you say falls on deaf ears. Even though my brother has made it clear she isn't to do that, she will. It's happened before.
I don't know how to prepare for my mother's loss. I know it will leave a huge hole in my life. I'm constantly looking for things she needs, strategizing my time and errands, talking to providers and advocating for care. I schedule everything and visits and rides and entertainment. My mother told me she cleaned everything out of her apartment tonight after I left (I had to go have an infected tooth checked and get anit-biotics). She forgot that some of that paperwork was for me to write an obituary. She was a teacher for 35 years and was held in high regard. I'm feeling overwhelmed with end of life stuff and also knowing I'm under attack. And things are being made harder (even if inadvertently) but also deliberately. I feel too raw and beat up to face it all. I will also be expected to provide emotional support to my Aunt, my mother's SIL. They have known each other since young adulthood. I can only pray for the strength to do that.
Thank you for your reply. Every bit of contact helps me a great deal to not feel so alone.
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Twinflower1, preparing to let go of someone who has been important in your life if very difficult and each person handles it differently. Maybe SIL is just acting out her grief inappropriately. Of course, Mom would be in her final stages no matter who took care of her, but maybe SIL is fantasizing that this wouldn't be happening if she had been in charge. Wrong, of course, but maybe this is a good time to be gentle with each other. Perhaps it would be best to focus your contact mainly on your brother, and elicit his help in dealing with his wife.

It is not surprising that Mom is confused. It would be (in my opinion) a disservice to place the decision all on her. Hospice care will be a comfort to all concerned. It does not hasten death, but it helps everyone accept the inevitable as a natural part of the cycle of life. If there is anything that would make Mom more comfortable, Hospice will be able to provide it almost instantly, without needing appointments or going through insurance red tape. Hospice is a great help, both on a practical level and emotionally.
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Thank you for your answer, perspective on hospice and support. I feel strengthened by your kind words. It's hard to be put down for a job that was really hard and took a lot of growing and learning and sacrifice. I know in my heart I did a good job. I regret having a lot of resentment at first. I was ill too, and the job was too much for me. I really did try hard, and I mended a lifelong schism with my mother which has meant the world to me. Bless you for answering. It is hard to be alone, and you have helped.
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We had hospice for my father's final month at home. They were a wonderful group of individuals and are there to help YOU go through this process and to help your mom to cross over peacefully. They will be very helpful in supporting you in how to deal with your SIL. They have seen it all.
If you do not want your SIL there for private moments ask her to leave the room. Each person should have their time with your mom, as should she.
Your mother should not have that negativity around her and the hospice nurses, counselors, etc. will help you if you ask them.
Bless you in having taken care of your mom and being there for her when she needed you. Know that you have done your best and that your mother has made it to 97 years old with YOUR daily care and support. Know that in your heart. Don't let anyone take that away from you.
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