I'm a very upset and concerned niece whose aunt is in nursing home. I go at least once a week to check in and see her. I'm so upset with her kids and husband (my uncle and cousins) that I could puke. A few months ago she was living at home with falls and husband would call son and son in law who live very close to help pick her up when legs gave out. This was interfering with daughter in law/and sons life that them and uncle decide to trick aunt (who was continent unless leakage and legs couldn't hold her long) into getting on a van, with my poor aunt thinking she was going shopping, and took her straight to a nursing home, and there she's been for about 6 or 7 months to where she has cried that they lied to her, didn't want the burden of her being around them anymore, and that husband wanted freedom. She is 84 he is 93, and ya know what??? This that she feels is the truth...She's supposed to be on hospice, and in my past of 30 yrs in healthcare, I knew hospice to just keep patient comfortable and discontinue her maintenance meds she was always on. Well there's no need for hospice, she had gotten it maybe 3 or 4 yrs ago with a heart attack and they've left her on it, with many, many of her daily meds she's been on for years. She always begs husband to take her back home and he shoots her down quickly due to enjoying his peace and quiet at home. He goes to nursing home to see her and lets her sleep so he can watch her cable tv and run back and fourth to little store in facility buying himself snacks all day. Oh and eats her meals brought to her because she very seldom wants to eat. NOW, all this time later, she is slowly slipping away from us because of her nerves and wants to be home where she could with round the clock care, that was never looked into. She is slowly dying inside and I watch this and it's causing me to do the same. How can family be so sick and selfish!! I have so much hate for my uncle and cousins that I can't talk to them or see them!

I can pretty much guarantee you that nobody living in a nursing home wants to be there and that most of them want to go home - if you've worked in healthcare that is a reality you should understand. It's sad, in fact it's heartbreaking, but some people need more care than their families can provide. I don't know where the breaking point came with your aunt's family; sometimes it is sleep issues, sometimes dealing with incontinence, sometimes the reality that the home environment isn't keeping their care recipient's safe,or that the stress on the other people in the home is leading to them having negative health consequences. You know that nursing homes don't take people who don't qualify for that level of care, so you aunt's needs are documented.
(I'm struggling to find a diplomatic way to say anything that might be helpful to you, so I'm just gonna end it there)
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to cwillie

If you are in the healthcare field then you know that Medicare pays for Hospice and would not be paying if Aunt did not fit their criteria. And like said, you have to fit certain criteria for a NH and for Medicaid for both to except her. Believe me, if she were gone her bed would be filled in 24 hrs.

Think about it, you really think a 93 yr old can care for someone. She falls for a reason. You have to know how hard it is to pick up dead weight even for a strong young man. Not done right you can do a job on your back.
They over feed residents and this is by law. The elderly do not have the appetite like they did when younger. They aren't moving around to use up calories. If Aunt doesn't eat the food, then it gets thrown out. So OK for Uncle to eat I think. And he does visit.

I used to think "why can't people keep LOs at home". Having my Mom living with me I could see why. Not to get rid of them but because their needs are more than a person can manage. Aunts son's are entitled to their lives. They made sure Mom was in a safe place. Maybe Uncle forgot her meds. Forgot to feed her. There could be all kinds of very good reasons.

You have a right to feel as you do. But this is where Aunt is in her life. I would concentrate on making her stay better. When she cries to go home. Hug her and tell her you understand but try to direct the conversation somewhere else. Bring her little "happys" as my SIL calls them. A pot of flowers that can be planted later in the NH garden. A picture book of someplace. If she likes music, a CD. They still make those portable CD players. Try to make her stay is as nice as possible. Make friends with the staff. If you wear scrubs wear them to visit. They are more likely to answer questions.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to JoAnn29

I really feel for you. It is awful to have a well-founded belief that your aunt, especially one you're so clearly fond of, is being short-changed. But. (You knew there'd be a but, right?)

When your aunt, a few months ago, was living at home, how often were you able to visit her then? I'm wondering if her situation then was much more precarious and challenging than you would necessarily have seen.

I don't at all mean "ha! - you think it's so easy, you try it"; but on the other hand, look at the context. Your uncle is *93*. Your cousin and his wife were being called regularly to come round and help after falls. It isn't just a matter of inconvenience - he wasn't able to cope, and they weren't prepared to be the couple's safety net. Their concerns weren't trivial.

Your aunt is lucky to have you; I'd like every person in an NH to have a disinterested advocate. But although it's natural to feel indignation on her behalf at first sight, her heart condition, her mental state, her husband's capabilities, the natural progression of any chronic disease she may have, the quality of support it was realistic for the family to provide - there are many factors that make the decision to place her in the NH seem more understandable. Selfishness may have come into it, in a way, only I don't think I'd call it selfishness so much as self-preservation, maybe. If you can't cope and you're getting frightened, is it selfish to ask someone better qualified and better equipped and better staffed to take over your loved one's care?

The way they went about it I personally happen to loathe; but then I don't know your aunt and I don't know what they were up against. It's possible they were advised to use this approach, it's not an uncommon one (I still hate it).

I don't know how to make you feel better, because no matter what the rationale behind what's happened your aunt is still sad, ill and in a place she doesn't want to be. Would it help to concentrate more on any enrichment you can bring to her quality of life as it is, and try to think less about what could possibly have been managed better?
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Countrymouse

As her niece I think it's nice that you go to visit every week. It also sounds like her husband visits. Is he there every time you go? Just curious how you know what he is doing when you are not there? Also, why does it bother you that he eats snacks or food she isn't eating? Just curious because that really didn't make sense to me. He IS visiting, so he has not abandoned her.

Please try not to judge the family for not being able to do "round the clock" care at home. If you want to know what they were dealing with, you would have to be there 24/7 for let's say-- at least a few good weeks. Has that ever happened? I don't want to sound harsh, but if all you have ever done is visit, then you really have no idea the magnitude of what they were dealing with 24/7.

Have you considered bringing your aunt home to live with you? If not, why?

Or, how about you try to have some compassion for the people who were caring for her 24/7 before it became too much and they had to place her in a facility (which she apparently qualified for)? Again, I don't want to sound harsh, but you are depressed about your aunt, and hating the rest of her support system. If you could better work together to make your aunt more comfortable it would benefit you all. Possibly things like staggering visits, so everyone can take turns, and your aunt will have someone around more. Or coordinating together on what kinds of items you could each take that she would like- a favorite snack, a game or activity she might like, or even something like some fresh flowers. Things to brighten up her room and make it more personal for her.

Just ideas. I can tell you really love your aunt and I'm sorry you are going through this. In my case my mom has dementia, and lives next door to me. It is the hardest thing I have ever gone through and continue to go through daily. Some day I may need to place her too. This disease just SUCKS and it can tear families apart. My relationship with my siblings is beyond strained as I type this. I hope you can get on better terms with your aunt's family. It would probably be helpful for all of you. Good luck. Also, keep posting here, you will get lots of support and suggestions.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to ExhaustedPiper

Is your Aunt private pay at the NH?

How could she afford 24/7 care at home?

Is Medicaid involved?

Is she being seen by a geriatric psychiatrist for her depression?

Are the "facts" you are being told coming from your Aunt, who likely has vascular dementia?

Some more background will get you more answers. I tend to agree with CW above, that there are factors that you are not privy to that makes NH care the right level of support for your Aunt right now.

Are you suggesting that you could take her to your home and keep her there with round the clock in home care, at $25. per hour, 24 hours a day?

Before you do that, please spend at least 24 full hours at the NH and see what level of care she needs.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

You are saying that aunt needs round the clock care - but how is that going to be managed at home? Is hired help affordable? If not, family will have to do it and at some point that becomes impossible for most families. A 93 year old husband sure should not be expected to handle it. There are people who make the sacrifice and let their lives be devoured by providing this type of care, but nobody has any obligation to do it.  Have you considered that aunt may be unhappy at nursing home, but the rest of the family were stressed to the limit when she was at home, needing care that was beyond their ability to provide? They are people and they matter just as much as aunt. No one of us is guaranteed a pass from bad, sad, tragic happenings in our lives.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to rovana

Since you’re so upset and there was no reason for her to go to the nursing home, have you considered checking to see if your aunt would like to come live with you?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to mollymoose

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