My Mom (87) is in a nursing home and is extremely depressed. How do I help her?

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She's getting worse everyday. Her husband visits everyday for about an hour but belittles her. He has gone on a spending spree since he put her in the nursing home about 6 weeks ago but won't give her $13.00 to get her hair done. I don't know what to do to help her. She cries every time I call her. I live in another state.

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Have you considered taking your mom out of the nursing home and placing her under different care? Maybe she would be less depressed in a different atmosphere. Clearly her husband visiting and emotionally abusing her is making an already-existing situation worse. Is she capable of living at home with a constant caregiver? Already Home Care offers everything she would need including meal preparation, transportation, grooming, hygiene, housekeeping, and even companionship.
Although it is good for elderly people to get out and participate in activities or play games at their nursing home, there are other options for companionship. This is not referring to a romantic connection, but simply finding a friend that has similar interests or experiences. A good visit seems like it would do her well!
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I would recommend calling your local adult protective services agency, meet with them and discuss the situation and how its affecting your mom. Seniors have rights and we are all obligated to protect them, especially at this stage of their life when they cannot do it for themselves.
I am an Administrator for an assisted living home and sometimes we the administrators are the biggest advocate for the residents, when it concerns their safety and well being. The administrator can reach out to the company attorney to seek advise for your mom, they can also call Adult protective services on her behalf. Your mom has the right to her finances and you could also apply to become her POA and or the legal guardian. Documentation is absolute key to any of these types of situations. Have the administrator document his visits, what happens, what he says and how if affects your mom.
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Researching options when seeking care for an elderly loved one can be both overwhelming and puzzling, particularly when the needs of that loved one exceed those which can typically be met through assisted living; typically does not offer assistance with “ADL’s” Activities of Daily Living i.e. Hygiene, incontinence, Grooming, assistance with dressing and mobility. Nor are they equip for folks that need attentive supervision due to cognitive impairment, Falls or assistance eating due to Memory impairment.


There are options other than Nursing homes to help those who need a higher level of care. Micro-communities are known as “AFH”Adult Family Homes.

For many this is a viable alternative to nursing homes, hospice facilities and Alzheimer’s care communities, adult family home model, which allows a maximum of six residents.
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Lynn. sorry if what I wrote sounds scary and bitter, but you love your mother, are concerned for her, so you should realize how helpless a woman can be when involved with a man like that. My stepfather hated me because I stood up to him. When I visited, he would stay in the room with us, or he would hide around the corner and listen in to our conversations. If I took her to lunch, she was afraid to be gone more than an hour because the first thing he said when she walked in the door was "where were you, why were you gone so long". Arm yourself with knowledge and a lawyer if you need to. It sounds like you have relatives who live near her - maybe they can help lay some of the groundwork for you.
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Lynn2020 - OMG - your stepfather sounds exactly like mine! He was not grandpa to anyone, nor a loved family member and probably yours isn't either. Unfortunately yours has compete control because you are far away. Thank God mine got sick and died before he could kill my mother. And he wasn't mentally ill - he was simply an arrogant, mean, biggoted, misogynist and he was mentally cruel to his first wife, and his children too. Like your mom, Mom had panic attacks after she married him, she kowtowed to him, she ate what he told her to, etc. Doctors and nurses hated him. She ended up on anti-depressants. Clearly your step-father is causing a good part of her problems and she is under his spell so it is up to you to intervene. Can you find out if all their accounts are joint? Can you get your mother to give you POA? I would start by making an appointment with a social worker and explain there is mental abuse going on, etc and see what legal action you can take to keep him away from her. Is it her money, or theirs? (just so you know what that kind of man is like - mine took Mom to a lawyer and had living trusts drawn up, he got her to sign everything (which she didn't understand). She signed away her rights to the house (which was sole survivorship) and put it in HIS trust which he left half to his children, although she had put a lot of her savings into the house. The trust said she could live in the house (but pay the mortgage) but if she got sick and did not live in the house for three months, the whole thing went to his kids) You need to do some snooping and find out what he is doing and get control of your Mom, because he has already written her off.
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Lynne2000 - Babalou reply on point.. i am dealing with this situation long distance..our prayers go out to you. the social worker at the facility can only help to a certain degree. the monies s/b available for onsite hair, nails etc. Have mom visit him in public area of facility, i bet he will cool his jets (smile) bullies dont like to do their dirt in front of people. also consider ombudsmen they are your mom's advocate if soc wkr cant help. also if no dpoa or poa exist she can also have her monies transferred to an account he does not have access to. Talk to Mom,tell her not to live in fear, these facilities have activities as the soc worker or case manager to see that she participates. Wishing you the best as you ride this out. One last note: in our situation mom was playing both ends against the middle. she chose boyfriend over us. we had to walk away from this situation sometimes our seniors can be manipulative and one has to make very tough choices..we check in quietly with staff to follow her progress.we went through this for over a year disrupting our lives receiving daily crap faxes and threats from boyfriend to us and to our employers.
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Dear ole grandpa needs to be set straight. Is there someone close to the family to go man to man with him? I'm not suggesting physically, but have a stern discussion/warning with him. Grannie needs help and care and this guy is clearly the problem. Is a protective order possible? There must be some way to get this jerk (I wish we could be profane on this site. Oh well....) out of her life.
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Sounds like step dad is mentally ill. Can he be seen by a geriatric psychiatrist for appropriate meds?

Does grandma have any money in her name? Is she on Medicaid, in which case her "allowance" should be going to to her account at the nursing home? When you say spending spree is he doing a "spend down " to become eligible for Medicaid? Have you asked the social worker at the facility to help resolve this?

Who is grandma's POA? If it's her husband, can she change it to one of you?
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From the day I met him my step father has always been a miserable, hateful person. Most people are afraid of him because he yells at them for no apparent reason. One of the nursing homes my mom was in packed her stuff & called me to pick her up because they could no longer put up with the crap he did while there. The nurses & cna's were literally petrified of him. My mom gets panic attacks because she is afraid of being kicked out of the nursing home she is in. She wants to go home but he won't let her. I have told her, numerous times over the years that she can move in with me but she won't leave him.
The point is I don't know what to do to help her. Her depression is getting worse. Family members are afraid to visit because they don't want to run into him. She is on antidepressants & they have increased her dosage. I am at a loss in how to help her.
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OOOOH it sounds like grandpa is depressed too, he is just expressing it a different way. How about some anti-depressants for both of them?
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