I recently placed Mom in a Board and Care. She is depressed and says she wants to die. What can I do? - AgingCare.com

I recently placed Mom in a Board and Care. She is depressed and says she wants to die. What can I do?

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I have cared for my Mom for more than a decade in varying degrees. A little over a year ago, I placed her in an Assisted Living Facility. I had to accept it was getting too difficult for me. I have an autistic son and my husband and I own a business. I simply could no longer take care of her as it now full time with no end in site. She loved the Assisted Living Facility. However, she became ill with a UTI and wasn't eating or drinking as she should have been. Then had a fall (already limited mobility due to spinal stenosis). She has been in and out of the hospital five times since January with repeat UTI's. During this time, I moved her to a board & care because she really neeeded more personalized care than the Assisted Living could provide. However, she hates it. I don't know how to get the physical care she needs while providing her with the environment she likes. Help!

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riongan, what a dilemma. I know how you feel, I can see that its possible that in future my situation might not be too dissimilar to what you are now facing. And it is a question, how and why do we carry on when things seem hopeless. You're facing this as truthfully and compassionately as you can - and your Mum is lucky to have a person like you in her life - you are doing your best - and more. My thoughts and prayers are with you - the situation won't last forever - it will change.
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Ah, that makes sense. Perhaps she will get better with a little time. I thought the story of the " rosey road" was charming & helpful. Good luck.
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I have talked with several of them and they have told me that she would be limited on the care that she is able to seek. For example, she would not be able to have outpatient physical therapy. Also, they would not do IV antibiotics. My Mom is extremely sensitive to all medications and does not take any. Our last trip to the hospital was a reaction to the oral antibiotic they had put her on when leaving the hospital the day before. I have checked into Pallative care which allows an individual to continue to seek curative care but still would not enable her to do outpatient physical therapy. I am all for alleviating pain and suffering but she is not in a great deal of pain and currently the only suffering is the loss of her life as she knew it. That is the part I am trying to figure out. What can be done to give her hope again that she may enjoy life until the end.
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Why would hospice not help? My mom has been with them for several years now & they're services have been a tremendous help to her as well as me. Not all hospices are the same, some are better than others. The company we use not only helps people die with comfort & dignity, they also do everything possible to keep her well while she's alive. I do think it's a little odd that we as a society always want to keep people alive even when they are suffering & in pain, it's really kind of selfish & cruel when you think about it. After all death is inevitable & should not be such a horrible scary thing.
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Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas. However, I truly do not believe Hospice is the answer. When the UTI's began in February she was septic and had lost more than 50% of her kidney function. The doctor didn't give her 24 hours. She came out of it and sat up and said "Well I fooled him didn't I?". Her will to live is so strong. Depression is definitely something I have thought of and so asked for a Social Worker to come out and evaluate. He has suggested some counseling for her. She also wants to go to outpatient physical therapy. The dliemma is even if she does begin walking again and continues to improve, she is now afraid to go back to her Assisted Living facility since she now realizes she didn't receive the care she should have and they would have put her on hospice before they even knew what was making her ill. You are right when you say "she needs hope". I just don't know what that "hope" is any more. Part of me feels guilty that I can't bring her home and care for her as I always did in the past. I know she understands but it still breaks my heart to see her where she is at and not enjoying life.
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I feel like I need to share this..regarding the UTIs. I learned some helpful info from the hospital RN the last time my boss was admitted. She told me that many if not most of the UTIs caused in the elderly can be easily prevented. Its a matter of hygiene. A lot of caregivers already know this but, here's for the ones that don't yet. The older the women get, the harder it is to effectively wipe their private areas. Many times they just reach that area anymore or they barely pass the tissue over the area or go from "back to front" (which as we all know is a big no, no, and will cause a UTI) so, the rule is reminding them to go "front to back" or if they are unable to do this themself, then whomever is assisting, make sure they are ALWAYS going "front to back". Also, I have found that baby wipes are much more effective in getting that area cleaner than just paper. They work MUCH better. Since my boss has been following that suggestion, she hasn't had any more UTIs.
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@ FedUpNow, your welcome - yes we do all need hope - and a rosy picture that we are working towards. This am I asked my Mum why she comes back from my Sisters in such a difficult mood? Mum's response was that, "Caro is so unhappy, and it makes me unhappy." So I told her unhappiness can be contagious - like a virus. (I got this from one of the posts on the thread - your post in fact.) Thanks ;-)
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MarkJohn, you offer a very valuable view--that one needs hope. That applies to the caregiver, too. We all need hope. Without it, what is the point of going on? Thank you for your wisdom.
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My situation is not as acute as yours - otherwise I might have posted to. But there may be similarities to my situation this last week. Time will tell if this strategy worked, but it seems to be working for the moment - and it might relate: My 93 year old Mum lives with me (and by the way has had many UTI's but that's another story). I have - moved my office into the basement and not been traveling or camping for the past two years - to care for my Mum. I finally couldn't put off a trip to British Columbia any longer - so my sister took my Mum into her home. When my Mum came back she was evidently depressed - although my Mum cannot recognize this - partly because she has dementia - and was was moody, and more demanding than when she left - and not believing that she could walk a quarter the distance she had 3 weeks before. It was quite a serious decline mentally and physically. What I had realized over the years is that Mum still needs HOPE. So I took her on a walk around a pond, showed her that she was in no pain from walking - and that it was only attitude and a recent habit of limited belief and complaints. I painted two pictures for her - here's the GOOD / ROSY road - and for this I painted the best possible picture - and I said here is the HARDER road - not so good. Then she said, "What do I have to do - to go on the Rosy Road?" And so I had the opportunity to describe the attitudes and habits that I was concerned about. So a few times we've both recalled the Rosy Road and what she needs to do - and so far there's a real willingness to participate and take some responsibility. My Mum has just woken up and popped her head into my office and said - "that after our talk yesterday - she's really dedicated to her walking." ;-) Good luck to you - sounds like some real challenges.
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Ask for a hospice consultation.
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