My sister and I provide caregiving for our 96-year-old mom in her home. We split the week every week. She’s always been adamant that she doesn’t allow “strangers” in the home. Up to now it’s been possible to manage without outside help.
But this past week she’s weakened, she’s more unsteady, losing her balance, barely making it upstairs with help.
I am absolutely certain that she will continue to vigorously oppose anyone coming into the house to assist her.
But separately from that, I am so afraid of Covid. My sister and I have insulated her from the public since March 2020. Despite her vaccinations, I think she would die from covid quickly in her current state.
Does anyone else share these fears? When does the need for care override the risk of possible infection?
I realize there is no one solution that fits everyone. I’m just reaching out.
If you have mother's bed moved into the living room, she can no longer 'refuse' to have it moved into the living room and will have no other choice but to begin sleeping in her bed located on the first floor. Climbing the stairs every day is a recipe for disaster.
If you hire help to come into her home, PERIOD, and give her the choice of having help or being placed in managed care, she may just accept the help, miraculously.
IMO, it's time to use some well justified Tough Love with your mother. She no longer gets to call ALL the shots in her life b/c her reasoning skills no longer make sense. What SHE wants and what's best for her safety are two different things right now. The main goal is to prevent her, as much as possible, from falling down the stairs by placing her bed somewhere on the first floor. By bringing in help to relieve you and your sister and to help mother bathe, prep food, etc. Have the help wear a mask inside the home if that makes you feel better. Then let the chips fall where they may.
If it makes you feel any better, my DH & I have been in and out of hospitals for the past 18 months, with him being admitted 3x and spending a week or more inside a hospital each time. With me visiting him; with me getting 3 procedures done myself, endless appointments, etc. Neither one of us has contracted Covid, in spite of ALL the interactions we've had with the medical community, in hospitals WITH Covid patients present, etc. We've also been going out to restaurants every week (after he recuperated) and he's been to concerts, I go shopping all the time, and life has gotten back to normal for us. And still no Covid. I think it's unhealthier to live in fear of what might happen than it is to get back to living life. BTW, my mother is 95 in Jan and lives in Memory Care AL and has not contracted Covid either. NOBODY in the entire ALF of 125 residents has even been to the hospital for it, and nobody has died. The oldest resident is 102.
Wishing you the best of luck looking at the big picture of you and your mother's needs rather than the small picture of a virus with a very high survival rate.
I am a 57 year old woman, now charged with keeping another person safe.
If she weren’t my mother, I wouldn’t fear her reactions. I would just keep her safe.
Maybe tell the little kids inside of you and your sister that you’re adults now, and have to keep your “client” safe. Then, just do your job.
She can’t put you in the “naughty chair” any longer.
It’s an awfully difficult shift in thinking, and it takes some time, but it’s VITAL for you to make.
You are now at the point with your mother that her safety and well being must override anything else that is going on. And if that means bringing in some outside help for her, then so be it. You may have to tell her that if she doesn't agree to that, that you and your sister will have to start looking for the appropriate facility to place her in.
And whether or not she likes it, if she continues to stay in her home with outside help, she needs to have a bed now downstairs, so she doesn't have to climb her stairs anymore as she is now a fall risk. You can also put a bedside commode next to her bed so she doesn't have to travel far to use the bathroom.
You and your sister will now have to be the "bad guys" and put your feet down as to exactly what needs to be done as far as her care is concerned, as like I said earlier, her safety and well being must be your number one priority.
I wish you the very best in getting everything figured out.
As far as mom---she can REFUSE all she wants, but sometimes you have to treat your parent as you would a small child. They just HAVE to go along with the plan and deal with the tantrum that may follow.
At 96, yes, your mom is high risk for covid, but with proper vaccination (which she would HAVE to have to move into a NH) she would be OK.
We're 'there' with my mom, too. She's slipping, slowly but surely. I await the call that she's fallen and broken something--I feel it coming. That will be the factor that takes her out of her apt. and into a NH.
Put earplugs in and ignore her tantrums. Do what needs to be done and move on. Closing off the stairs is a great idea..kind of a out of sight, out of mind thing.
I would think facilities will love this, as they will be able to foist their duties off on the family members.
Move in with you or your sister
or move into Assisted Living
or allow someone to come in and help her 24/7.
The next thing that will happen is that she WILL fall and that will result in a hospital stay then a stay in rehab. (if she survives the fall and or surgery)
You can try to make the house safer.
Move her bed down stairs so she no longer has to climb stairs. Convert a dining room or living room into her bedroom. If you have to close off the stairway so she can not go up stairs.
If there is a bathroom downstairs that becomes he main bathroom. If it is a "powder room" and no shower look into having one put in or you begin bed baths.
My reaction is: So? She doesn't know and doesn't care that she working her two not so young daughters to an early grave. That is unacceptable. She doesn't get to decide, not even a vote.
My mom was that way, too, but she came around.
I started out gently. The first time I had the newly hired caregiver come, she came only for a short visit, as a family friend, and gave my mom a small gift, to buy her good will. The second and third time, she came to offer to take us all out for a short shopping trip. The fourth time, she came and offer to take only my mom out for a short trip, etc. Eventually, my mom got used to her. It wasn't all smooth sailing though. My mom started refusing to go with the caregiver after a month or two, so we stopped for awhile, then started again, and now she likes the caregiver.
You can slowly introduce your mom to the new caregiver as a friend who comes over for social visits, then slowly assists her with small things, then more and more. Your mom will come around.
As for your fear of mom catching covid, have everyone wear masks, wash hands, etc.
Suggested resources: Department of Aging for your state or local
Department of Health & Human Services
Seniors Helping Seniors
A Place for Mom (they were wonderful)
In the interim you and your sister could take turns giving each other a break every once in a while. I wish I had that. BE BLESSED.
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