My 88 yr. old MIL was hospitalized last month, after a fall, and becoming super sleepy and unresponsive. (UTI, gout, severe osteoporosis) She stopped eating and drinking and after a week, was too weak to walk. Then they switched from one antibiotic to a better one for her raging UTI, and she came back to life. Upon waking, she was hallucinating and delusional, but that also was transitory. We transferred her to the Nursing Home across the street from the hospital, and she stayed there for three more weeks. Last week she was assessed as being strong enough to return home. After 2 days at home, she has wrenched her back and cracked a rib while on the toilet (?). She was bedridden at home, unable to do minimal self care. My husband has tried to nurse her, but he can't do it, so we have arrangements to move her back to the nursing home today.

The sad part is that she feels we are betraying her. She says she HATES it there, and we should just dump her on a plane and send her to her daughter in Florida (who has her own medical issues, and MIL can't travel)... She told me some mean things, and now is saying mean things to her son. I know she's angry and lashing out. We've assured her of our love and done everything we can think of, but WHAT do we do if she resists, physically?? How do you override an elder's personal freedom and MAKE them go into care?

My stomach hurts.

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I hope it went better than you feared, TrinidadLady. Please update us on how she's getting on.
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I’m sure this is very scary for her. Visit a lot. Will you be able to take her on small trips, like lunch or the movies? You’re not being mean. You’re making sure she has the best care. I hope you write back with an update. Peace.
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Thank you so much. I have seen the most thoughtful, well written answers on this forum. It is amazing.

Trinidad Lady
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If she’s had a recent assessment by her medical doctor, solicit that input and place the blame for your actions on the doctor.
Although you are lovingly assuming that her cognitive status is what it had been previous to her hospitalization, you really can’t be sure, especially in light of her unexpected anger/lashing out, and her inability to comprehend the seriousness of her situation and inability to travel. She may or may not be experiencing the symptoms of early dementia, and you may need a 3rd party (geriatric psychiatric/psychological specialist, social worker) who can interpret her behavior and if necessary recommend a small dose of medication.
Although undertaking a reshuffling of your plans would be awkward and inconvenient you are aware that if she were to resist agreeing to the present plan she might injure herself in her attempts to remain in her present setting.
My own tiny LO fought like a champ, and a VERY small dose of a tranquilizing antidepressant has allowed her to become a much more comfortable resident of a pleasant AL near our home.
This is brutal stuff to deal with, and your compassion is evident in your comments. There are times when we must suffer with our LOs while at the same time getting them the care they need, while even as we are doing it, having to observe their distress.
Sometimes, safety, comfort, and care have to override personal freedom, and when that happens we do the very best we can, in the most loving and well thought out way.
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