This past Friday, my Mom's daycare (which also provides her health care and serves as her insurance, through Medicaid), called me to say they'd taken her to the ER, because she was listless and couldn't stand and when they stood her up, she fell over. I rushed over to the ER, only to find that the pneumonia that they'd said she had but were treating with antibiotics had gotten worse, and an x-ray showed not just the pneumonia, but also possible cancer (this has since been verified with a CT scan - she has nodules throughout her lungs and a mass near her heart). She was admitted to the hospital, where she's being treated for pneumonia. Obviously with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's, we're not going to put her through biopsies and surgery/chemo/radiation for the cancer.
After 6/1/2014, she won't be with the daycare place that (A) failed to properly diagnose or treat her pneumonia and (B) won't give me enough home care to provide for her while I'm working, and she'll be going to a long-term care facility (to be named - the hospital's case managers are helping me find a bed for her by 6/1, to coincide with her discharge from the hospital). She'll start with some rehab to get her strength back - so she can get up out of bed or a chair by herself and stand, and hopefully walk, perhaps with a walker. Then, she'll move to the long-term care floors, either for dementia or cancer, whichever condition is creating the greatest need for care, and then, depending on the path the cancer takes, she'll go to hospice. All of this could take just months, or if the cancer is slow-growing/spreading, it could be a year or more.
Of course, every day when I visit the hospital, my mom is begging me, hourly (and sometimes more frequently) to take her home. She cries “I hate this place. I want to go home!” and it’s heartbreaking to hear. She’s so truly desperate and sad, but she can’t leave the hospital until the pneumonia’s cleared, and then she clearly can’t come home because she’s too weak and needs 24/7 care.
I have told her over and over that she can't go home until the pneumonia is cleared up and she's got her strength back - and for that, she'll be going to rehab after the hospital. I've never outright said "And then you'll come home once you're stronger," nor have I said, "And then you'll live in a nursing home, because I can't take care of you at home anymore." I would NEVER say the second one, and I don't want to tell a bold-faced lie and tell her the first story, either. The truth is, however, she’s completely incontinent (and has been, from the Alzheimer's) and with her increasing weakness, she’s not just a fall risk (as she’s been for some time due to a wobbly gait), but a fall-out-of-bed risk. She literally can’t be alone for any length of time, and I work 60+ hours a week.
SO MY QUESTION IS THIS: In the experience of those who’ve had to place someone in a nursing home, and the person was cognizant enough to know where they were and that home was someplace else, how long did it take for them to adjust to/accept their new circumstances and what did you do to help that adjustment happen? I’m planning to just keep extending the “you need to get stronger, so you’re still in rehab” story for as long as I can, and hopefully she’ll completely lose track of time (which she already does to some extent) and think it’s only been days or weeks and will stop begging to leave. But she very well may keep begging and crying, and believing that I’m the one “doing this to her” when in fact, the doctors have said she’s not a home-care candidate unless that care was 24 hours a day (which Medicare/Medicaid does not provide). We do NOT have the money to hire homecare workers on our own.
Any suggestions? I’m open to bending the truth, but I want her to believe what she’s hearing and not feel betrayed by the only family she has (me). I will visit daily, and hope that not being the person forcing her to change her soiled clothes, etc... every day (which she resents and literally fights) will help our relationship. I appreciate any feedback you guys have!