Am I making the right choices for my mom? - AgingCare.com

Am I making the right choices for my mom?

Follow
Share

Here are the details: Mom had a stroke on 3/3/2017 at age 59. The stroke was a blood clot that occurred because she hadn't managed her type 2 diabetes in a number of years. It has left her right side weak and very little movement in her right arm.


After two months in the hospital and short term rehab, insurance said it was time to go home. We all knew she wasn't ready, but had to give it a shot. We set up her apartment with a bed rail and extra hand rails, moved furniture, made sure the place was spotless (not her normal style of living). My sister planned to be there daily for a few hours to help. As well as a visiting nurse and PT/OT.


But it was a five day disaster.


Mom had zero will to take control of the situation and manage any of her care. Something that the doctor and OT said she should be able to do. She told the visiting nurse in her assessment she would need ALL DAY CARE. She said she wasn't safe to stay by herself for more than four hours; as well as someone to handle her medicine, PT/OT appointments, her upcoming doc appointments; cleaning her apartment...all of it. And my sister and I had to "handle" the rest. From paying her bills, going to her doc appointments, cooking, laundry, etc.


The visiting nurse said that wasn't in their level of care and didn't admit her into their program. The social worker gave me a few phone numbers to call for meals but didn't know what to do about nursing care. And my sister nearly had a nervous breakdown after three days of managing her kids and my mom.


So I contacted a near by long term nursing facility, explained the situation and two days later; admitted her.


What else could we do? My sister and I each have three kids. I live 1.5 hours away, full time job and my husband travels for his job. My sister doesn't have her life together and is barely raising her kids. Neither of us can handle this level of care my mom is requiring.


The only way to pay for this is to apply for Medicaid. All of her money will go to the nursing facility, except $52 which legally the State has to leave her. Thus she will have no way to pay rent and lose her apartment. Her moving expenses/labor will fall to my husband and I. As well as storage of her belongings until she is ready for assisted living.


Did I jump the gun? Could she have eventually managed living in her apartment? Or am I just fooling myself. She wasn't taking care of herself before, why would she start now?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
7

Answers

Show:
If she had one stroke, she is very likely to have another without proper care.. and I mean taking charge of her own health. You are doing the right thing!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thank you everyone for your kind responses!!!

The hardest part of stroke recovery is all the 'unknown' stuff. How much will she regain? How much will she decline? How long will it take for her to swing in either direction??? And as I mentioned her life was a mess before this happened--it's why this happened. So, I'm trying not to be naive and expect her to get her own life in order. But it's not my responsibility to make her life choices either. Hopefully I'm taking the right measures to ensure we can all get to a calm life again...and maybe avoid a future catastrophe like this one.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It is very hard to tell what is going on inside your moms head.

But, understand, the damage goes far beyond just the right side weakness. Part of her brain is dead. This is going to effect many other things.

For each stroke victim it is different, because each stroke does not hit exactly the same areas.

Some, like my Mom, have a very strong will and will not allow themselves to become an invalid....not that she really had any choice...but..she is a fighter!
Some, like the fellow I took care of a couple years ago, feel that society owes them...and they will not or cannot help themselves. In His case, I think the damage included some of the parts of the brain that included rational thinking. He wasn't like that before the stroke

Your Moms level of disability might improve. There just is no yard stick that can be used to everyone in her situation. But, that she is not working hard to get back what was lost does not bode well for recovery. These first few months are critical to rehab. If she doesn't work for the recovery...it may just be the damage done that effects that part of the brain too.

Entering NH with Medicaid means she will not need to keep paying rent...she won't be there any more.
I wouldn't keep her things in storage for more than a few short months...by then you should be able to tell if she is coming back from this enough.

But, don't hold yourself hostage to this situation. If ever there was a time to apply the words of wisdom..."it is what it is". This is it.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

So far it's unanimous- yes, you did the right thing.

If the stoke was brought on by your mother not taking care of herself- having you and your sister stepping in to take care of her and all the details in her life -well, it certainly won't give her any motivation to start looking after herself now. Mom would only become more and more helpless and dependent on you. And frankly, she's way too young to be so dependent on her children.

It would be a different if mom was elderly and had dementia and/or the steady physical and mental decline that typically comes with old age. At 59 your mother ought to be able to show improvement- unless her doctor has said that is not going to happen. So, given the fact that improvements are possible AND the fact that your mom could easily have another 20-25 years ahead of her - with proper attention given to her medical conditions - its WAAAY to early to become completely reliant on others. It's not good for her and it's not good for you and your sister.

Visit your mom, call her on the phone regularly and encourage her to do the things she needs to do to get better and to be able to live as independently as possible.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

Sadly, you did the right thing -- really, the only thing. You know that your mother is safe and well cared for. Take comfort from that.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Justrelax - that's a good name for it, for a start! - you have not jumped the gun, you have done the right thing.

Your mother couldn't cope on her own because only two months after a stroke resulting from self-neglect (she already wasn't coping, then) she is nothing like ready. And being asked to stand on your own two feet, even with a certain amount of support, is incredibly frightening. That, on top of the fall-out from the stroke, makes the idea of her being at home a non-starter. As you found, after everyone had done their best.

Also, your mother is very young. She may yet make enormous improvements; and if so, and all is well, she will be able to start again from a much, much better position with a much better chance of success. It's a shame that she'll lose this apartment, but hey! - there are other apartments. She'll be known to and in touch with all kinds of professional support services and organisations who can assist her with re-establishing independence, if that does become a possibility.

But in any case, only two months in, you are making the right decision. The level of care your mother needs, especially in the short to medium term, make all the other options impractical.

Who knows what the future may hold? But right now, you're doing the right thing. Go easy on yourself. You haven't condemned her to institutional care forever, and there was no other realistic option.

Best of luck to all of you, and may the whole family see things getting much better and more manageable very soon.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Dear Justrelax,

I know you love your mom and want to do the best for her. You did the right thing. From everything you wrote, you made the best decision for her. I know its hard and we all second guess ourselves, but it was for the best.

My dad also had a stroke because he didn't know he had diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. Even after the stroke, I tried to manage his care but it was very hard. In hindsight, I think I should have admitted him to assisted living. He might still be alive today if I did. He was so stubborn. Maybe an outsider, a nurse, or another caretaker could have been more assertive than I was in his care. Trying to appease him was my downfall. It lead to fights with the siblings and increasing anger and resentment.

I think as along as you continue to visit her and check on her care, you did the right thing. She is lucky to have you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Related
Questions