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In August, my mom fell in her apartment, that she's been living in alone since my stepdad died. At first, she refused to go to the hospital, but I finally convinced her to go. Good thing that she did go, because she had a pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, blood clots in both legs and COPD. She also suffers from lupus and ra, plus needs a hip replacement, that she refused surgery years ago. In the hospital they suggested that she go to rehab, and at first, she refused. Luckily, my son convinced her to go, and she's been there ever since. My husband and I work full-time, plus my mom can be a handful, she was diagnosed bi-polar years ago. Serious mood swings.
In rehab, she wasn't making much progress, and not able to lift herself; bedridden. I decided to have her transferred to long-term because she had plateaued and still not able to transfer herself, and this decision was made after her Medicare denied her claim for another month. The thing is, is that she wants to go home, because she hates the nursing home, I think she hates the idea of being in the nursing home. She can't live alone anymore, and she needs the 24-hour care, and plus I had to give up her apartment to pay for the nursing home. That was the only way to pay for her care was to get her on Medicaid, because she was already on Social Security
I have been following the advice of others on this forum and trying to avoid the guilt and hoping and praying that she would adjust. I set boundaries with the phone calls, because she has really laid on the guilt these past weeks. My anxiety and stress levels have been through the roof.
I thought I was finally making progress, when I spoke to her Friday, and she was telling me about her new friends, and how good the food was at the NH. But my problem is the outside. Out of town relatives that are calling her. She was talking a lot to them, when she was isolating herself in her room. I spoke with the NH social workers and nurses about getting her out of her room to socialize more with the other residents. My mom is very social and talkative, a true extrovert. But since she is not in her room as much, I'm starting to get phone calls my relatives and my mom's friends, because I was setting my boundaries, she was calling them, complaining about the NH. Which is a shame because the NH staff have been very helpful and accommodating. My mom accidentally called my voicemail and I heard her in her room and how helpful the nurse was with assisting her with her cell phone. Mind you, this was during the time she was complaining about the staff, she doesn't know that I heard her conversation.
But I digress, as I said, she was complaining to relatives and now I'm getting the phone calls. I know my mom asked them to come get her from the nursing home, and some of them gave her false hope of letting her live with them.


Friday I spoke to her and she said she was making friends at the NH, soon as I thought I could be at ease, another relative called today and said that she's been trying to call her, I told her that she was probably socializing out of her room, and she was okay!


But the thing is, I'm afraid that my mom is going to start back again about how much she wants out of the nursing home if they keep calling. I'm trying to be nice, but I think I may go off, and if another one of them ask why she can't live with you, I may scream! I get their concern, but I work full-time, and honestly, I can't handle the lifting and changing of diapers, and my mom’s personality. Also let me add, that I'm an only child. Any advice is appreciated and thanks for the vent.

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I went through this after I had to place my dad in AL. I’m also an only child. I had well meaning friends and family call me about similar issues. I would jump each time my phone rang. I finally had to let each person know that I was experiencing extreme stress myself due to this adjustment period. I let each person know I was on top of all happenings at the AL and in constant communication with nursing staff and administrators. I made it clear I was under a doctor’s care for anxiety and stress and doing the very best to make sure my dad was safe, clean, well nourished and on a medication schedule. After firmly stating all of the above...these individuals seemed to stop “reporting “ the latest drama. I don’t have any answers, but sadly many of dad’s friends and family did not realize his level of decline. My heart goes out to you. I truly understand.
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Reply to Sunnydayze
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 8, 2020
Sunny,

It’s so unfair to have relatives interfere in your life that way.

It’s completely counterproductive to your parent’s care and extremely insensitive to your desires and needs.
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Oh yeah.........my mother lives in a Memory Care ALF...............insists that my cousin wants to have her go live there with her, in NYC. You know what I say? GO FOR IT! If Barbara wants you to go live with her, then do it!

That's when the conversation abruptly stops. The subject is changed.

I've spoken to Barbara on the phone many times over the past few years and NO mention of taking my mother in to live with her has been mentioned. "Oddly enough". Ha!

Tell your 'well meaning' relatives that they're MORE THAN WELCOME to come pick your mother up from the nursing home and take her home with them, because it's simply not possible for her to live with you! I guarantee you will NEVER hear any more suggestions about anything ever again.

Talk is cheap. Trust me, I know from where I speak. Pointing fingers and laying guilt trips is something others LOVE to do. When it comes time to putting their money where their mouth is, it's GAME OVA.
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 12, 2020
Great comeback, Lea! Love it!
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Could you be more forthright is simply explaining why it is impossible for mom to live with you? Why she gets better care in the NH than you could provide and much more social interaction? I'll share a story about a great aunt living with her daughter. Finally great aunt demanded to go to an assisted living or nursing home because though she appreciated her daughter's (and family's) efforts, she was bored and isolated in their home. Same old, same old every day, whereas at the nursing home there were things happening, new people to meet, friends to share stories of their lives with, etc, etc. She was with people of her generation every day.
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rlwinche Nov 8, 2020
Thanks Rovana!
I think it's the stigma of nursing homes. I have explained that to them. But I think they're scared to tell my mom that. My mom is a force, and she's prone to go off and start the guilting.
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Since there are quite a few people mom is trying to manipulate, I suggest you write them all a letter. Explain how the staff are caring and kind - mention the "butt dial" phone call as an example. Tell them know how mom is getting out of her room more often and making friends. Let them know the specific issues that make it very difficult for you to care for her in a home situation. Lastly, let them know that she hit a plateau in rehab that was below what was needed for her to "go home" and that this option was what her insurance covers. Suggest that people be "kind" when they talk with her but not to offer the "hope of going home." Conclude with that you love each of them and will answer their questions about this over a stated period of time (2 weeks?) but that you hope your conversations with them will be to deepen your relationship with each of these people.
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JColl7 Nov 12, 2020
This is a very good idea. Daughter must be firm but kind and state the facts. There are always outsiders whether family or friends who offer advice when they don’t know the real deal. I love your suggestion of a letter, she controls the narrative and also timetable as to updates.
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Write out a short, simple, straightforward statement about why your mom needs to be in the NH. Put it by each phone in the house. Read it to people who call. For example, "Thank you for your concern. As you know, Mom has multiple illnesses that need specific care and also is not able to move without help. Being in the NH is much better for her than being alone in an apt. or our home during the day. My husband and I cannot afford to stop work, nor are we physically capable of lifting and moving mom. We really need your support to make her happy where she is."

That is it. Say it over and over. You know that you are doing your best.
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eyeager Nov 12, 2020
Wow-- that is fantastic.
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I am so sorry that you are struggling with your relatives interfering in your mom’s personal business. I hate that they are misleading your mom into believing they will allow her to live with them.

Plus I seriously doubt that you want your mom to live with them when she is being cared for by an entire staff and among people to socialize with. Of course, Covid has changed things quite a lot for now. Hopefully we will get a vaccine soon.

I understand that you have taken time and energy to select a suitable facility for your mom and your relatives should respect your wishes.

Correct me if I am wrong but it seems as though they may be pacifying your mom. That’s not helpful at all.

This behavior from your relatives is also causing you a great deal of stress and honestly I would be upset and disappointed with their actions.

You have every right to tell them how you find these phone calls counterproductive to your mom’s needs.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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I think that your Mom will do this NO MATTER WHAT the friends say or do. She will be back and forth and all over the place. Was there a time when she was NOT that way, given the condition she has?
Your own feelings of guilt (which I hope to convince you is another G word, GRIEF) play into this as well. You are desperate not to hear the trigger words from Mom that send you into self-questioning.
I would urge to to sit with yourself and say "When was Mom any different in this? When was she happy, satisfied and safe? If I take her out of there and bring her home with me will she be happy and satisfied and safe? Or will she be lonely, without friends, and driving me crazy?"
Now, your Mom may adjust better, or with Mom this may be "as good as it gets". You can't know that. Create a list of friends and family. Check off the calls in which you explain "This is the best that it can now be for Mom; please help HER by being positive. If she is having a hard hour when you call, tell her you love her and will check in soon. I am well aware she is not happy. She has not BEEN happy in her life, and a move now will not make her happy. Not everything can be made perfect. Please don't keep bringing me the same concerns. I have done the best I could and need some peace". When they call and start again tell them that you have listened and you have explained, and that you have to go again; you will not be explaining this twice.
Now on to guilt. We often CHOOSE guilt because guilt gives us an odd "hope" in a hopeless situation. We want to think it could be different. Could be fixed somehow. WE could fix it. Then we understand that it is grief, not guilt, we must mourn it, and is it not worth your mourning, this sad situation? Sorry. It can't be fixed.
You are not a felon. Nor are you a Saint. If you were a Saint likely you would be killed at once in some gruesome way and then we could pray to you for eternity to fix everything for us. It is a dreadful job description with poor benefits.
You are a human being with limitations and you just bumped up to some of them. Welcome to our world.
Come vent any time. Come help others with their own hopes, fears, adjustments. You are very welcome here.
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As mom makes more friends, it will become 'home' to her. For now, she's in the middle of change and it creates a mix of flipping from old to new. Of course, she would like to go home, but the new will become home as she adjusts. I wouldn't worry too much about her conversations with others too much. Just be more prepared when you talk to them.

If they call you about concerns - have things worked out in your mind. Be one step ahead of them and offer up info before they ask: Mom is doing quite well. I talked to her this morning and she has some new friends. I know it's an adjustment for her, but I'm quite proud of her for getting out of her room to participate and visit w/others. I know I couldn't do all the lifting and changes that she requires and since I work full time, this place gives her the 24/7 care she needs. I know she loves hearing from you, too, but she seems to be out of her room more and more visiting with others.
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cherokeegrrl54 Nov 12, 2020
This script might be ok if the OP wanted to sugarcoat her feelings to nosy people. People who have never been hands on or any type of caregiver shouldnt have to justify to anyone why they chose to place their LO. This type behavior,unfortunately, happens, and even when the patient has adjusted to NH and has new friends. they can still complain about the food, people, etc....
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Are they calling her or is she calling them?
Can you block the numbers so the call will not go though?
And notify the staff not to accept calls from these people. At least for a while.
If your mom is making the calls can you remove them from her contacts? Even if she has a good memory I am betting she has not remembered the phone numbers. (We all just hit "Betty" and the phone dials the number, or we hit #2 to get "Betty" no one remembers phone numbers)

I do like the idea that Taarna had and write to them explaining that she really is adjusting.
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Imho, there are always those friends and relatives who put "their 2 cents in," but actually may have no idea of the reality of your mother's care needs. Prayers sent.
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