Is my grandmother's condition simply a cumulative result of her CHF or something induced by her lifestyle over the recent days?

Follow
Share

My grandmother is 95 with CHF, atrial fibrillation and now pneumonia. She is in the hospital receiving care since she was having heavy palpitations, again. They discovered the pneumonia. She lives on her own, still drives without a license, is a stubborn woman, and has been able to manage on her own for the past three years since her 95 year old husband passed. Her doctor tells her she's amazing. Many of us believe she puts herself under a lot of stress by doing too much, entertaining others, constant housework... and this leads to exhaustion. Does the activity actually help her or hurt her? She just had a 2-day visit with family, a grandson, and a few dogs, which resulted in two days of obsessive house cleaning after they left, and now she's in the hospital five days later. Any suggestions? And what likely is her prognosis now that she's in hospital with CHF and pneumonia at 95 with heavy palpitations? Many thanks for your thoughts.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
20

Answers

Show:
Interestingly I've learned she may not have had pneumonia at all... An ER nurse may have let it slip that in order to admit her to hospital from the ER, they had to write down a diagnosis of "pneumonia." She was complaining of heavy heart palpitations and had called 911. She is a CHF patient with atrial fibrillation and has been having some coughing in recent days. So I just don't know the truth of the matter. They gave her IV antibiotics and sent her home after three days as she is up walking around and showering and no other heart tests or even a recommendation to see her cardiologist. The hospital did send out a woman today who apparently is a Hospice nurse for an evaluation to determine eligibility to possibly sign her up. I spoke with my grandmother today briefly by phone and she is seemingly reluctant to accept these type of services. I'll be visiting with her next week to see her through a few doctors appointments and hopefully get a better handle on this. I live about 100 miles away so it's not as easy to ascertain. My concern now is her continued care, her desire to live on her own, and how her health is realistically going to progress with the CHF with a 95-year old who insists on living independently, the continued driving, etc. I question whether she's making the right choices so she can continue to stay in her home. Such difficult decisions and she's not always very rational thinker. She canceled her medical alert device so she can feel more "free" and she's got a cell phone she can use.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Winks, How is your mom fairing. Sounds like she is a strong woman. Infections hit the elderly real hard. When I worked in ER I saw a lot of elderly women near death and it was only an urinary tract infection. Its amazing. As we get older it takes longer to heal mentally and physically. so if she is as busy and strong spirted as you say she may be up and about in no time with aggressive treatment.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Luckywinks your mom sounds like an amazing woman. I am sure she has seen a lot of history. Longevity is a blessing.She must be a beautiful person.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

DDDuck, Good advice for us all. We always tell each other we love each other. She's been especially good with this in recent years, and that has allowed us to become closer. No issues there. When the doctor tells her "she's amazing," they are referring to her overall health, her blood panel always near perfect --- everything except her CHF, of course. To look at her you would not see a 95 year old woman, and she puts on a good face when not feeling great.. Her internal drive remains so strong, it just keeps her going, going, going, like an Energizer Bunny! I'm glad saying we love each other has brought us closer together through our challenging times -- it's not always been this way. It will be less difficult when she does pass.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If your mom is 98 years of age, I thing you should seriously prepare your self for your worst fear. My mom will be 80. Sometimes when she dose off I get scared because the posiblity is always there for her me you and everyone. It doesnt matter the age, or the condition of heatlh. True these are major factors but death is a reality for us all. Im in my late 50s. I got pneumonia a few years ago, a cuummulative effect from volunteer at the WTC. I almost died. It had a profound effect on my life and how truly vulnerable I am in life and to death.I would focus on giving her love and letting her know how much you love her so that when that day come you dont regret saying and telling her something like how much you love her. You sound like you kinda feel that way but want an option to be in denial. My father died in his mid forties. Stroke. I didnt go crazy cause I let him know I loved him. Im feeling real sad about what I am saying to you. I sincerly hope this helps youl
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Golden, it's a difficult and delicate situation. There is extreme dysfunction within the family, enablers and even sycophantic friends that encourage her driving! Some of these so-called "friends" clearly are not really looking out for her best interests and my relationship with her is already extremely challenged that my concerns are often misunderstood by her as is often the case with the aged. This is why I wish that governmental agencies would take the reigns and put an end to this kind of abuse, and not expect families and individuals to do the difficult work of policing our lawbreakers in the family. The DMV refuses to issue a license with her current vision (even though corrected) so hers is now expired. But she still feels she is a good driver, with no accidents, or issues, and refuses to accept that she could have a problem. She's living in denial, and sadly, perhaps, I suppose this is part of her reality that she's not fully accepted her medical condition or truly understands it. I've tried discussing her condition and other serious topics at appropriate times with her and often times she just says she doesn't want to talk about. It's a no-win situation her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There are a few other ways to view persistence in doing things that are too challenging for an older person:

He/she can view him/herself no longer as a “doer”, but rather a manager and delegator. Apply management principles; someone who climbs the business ladder might start at the bottom but as progression occurs, so does responsibility, and chores that can be delegated are in fact delegated.

Your grandmother could see herself as having climbed the family corporate ladder; now she can delegate cleaning and chores to others, and spend more time relaxing and enjoying herself.

Doing things that aren’t healthy doesn’t prove just that someone can still do them; it reflects that the person isn’t willing to make a good assessment of his/her skills, and isn’t thinking wisely. I've seen others who feel they need to "prove they can still do it."

Sure, she can still clean in 2 days, but at what price? And it doesn’t mean much if it compromises her health or endangers others. Nor does it demonstrate a realistic assessment of what "proving" means.

Accepting help graciously isn’t an overnight achievement. If the pros and cons are weighed, the con is not that she’s admitting she can’t do it. It’s rather that she’s recognizing others can do it more easily and efficiently (variation of a basic economics principle), and that it frees her up for other activities that aren’t as challenging or health threatening.

More importantly, it’s a recognition that in order to maintain the health she wants, it’s important to be realistic. And sometimes being realistic is one of the hardest things to be.

I've had a hard time accepting help clearing the walk. I've always enjoyed snow shoveling - it was a quiet, peaceful time. But as I grew older, it became more of a burden. It wasn't peaceful, it was cold, noisy as traffic increased on the street, and eventually I recognized that help from a neighbor not only made him feel good about helping an old lady, but it also meant more time for me to read or do something which had become less pleasurable.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

several things here I can relate to.
My mom ended up in the hospital with CHF and pneumonia.. 10 days there and a month in rehab, with follow up home monitoring/aide for about a month. She was 82, and still chugging along.
She is also still cleaning, but she does only do part of the house at a time. If your Gma is OCD about her cleaning, a service will not cut it...LOL My mom used to clean before they came, and reclean after because "they didn't do it right".. Never ended! This is just the way she is.
She may have some years ahead of her yet, don't give up!! And the offer to the visitors to clean up before they leave is good. just don;t expect her to "not clean" anyhow.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Lucky, I'm thinking that perhaps you or another family member might casually let it slip to one of her treating doctors (privately) that she's still driving. They might admonish her, but they're also mandated reporters. I don't know, however, if that includes illegal driving. If it does, they would contact the DMV or the agency responsible for issuing licenses, possibly even local law enforcement.

I completely missed this when I first read your post but am glad that Golden caught it.

The stubbornness could gradually diminish, once alternate plans are put in place and she's begun to accept them. But, in my experience, this is more like a longer period of time (monthly or yearly) rather than quickly.

If finances are an issue, someone should explain to her that all of hers could be lost to a lawsuit judgment if she causes an accident and is sued.

Sometimes elders segue into a stage in which they have to prove to themselves that they can still do what they've done for years, and just refuse to accept that they can't.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

GardenArtist,
Thank you for the discharge instructions -- very helpful. That is extremely helpful to me. I live two hours away and from what I'm reading she'll need some assistance. She's refusing any rehab facility at this time as well.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions