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My mother is ill with a variety of illnesses ranging from arthritis to diabetes to heart disease. When my husband and I are at work and my children are at school, it's difficult to keep track of how she's doing. I've considered hiring a visiting nurse, but I have trust issues with that. I call periodically and when the kids are home from school, it's easy for them to monitor her. What are some suggestions on what to do in a situation like this?

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Please don't feel guilty. You did the best you could and that is always good enough. Many many elderly people pass away from infections usually urinary or pneumonia. If a loved one is subject to frequent urinary tract infections you can ask to have her urine tested on a regular schedule about the frequency you expect an infection. Cleanlines of the genital area is especially important with women as the tube(ureter) that connects the bladder to the outside is only three inches long and it is easy for fecal matter to enter the bladder. if the person has an indwelling catheter the danger is vastly increased and attention to handwashing and cleaning around the catheter are vital. Change wet diapers as frequently as you would for a baby and use wipes and lotions to prevent rashes and bedsores. if a loved one can not move around try and change their position every 4-6 hours. Many elderly people have health issues that can be considered life threatening so consulting Hospice early rather than later is a good option and even if they don't consider a person to be appropriate at that time they can suggest trusted resourses that can ease the burden of caregiving.
Estelle please don't continue to beat yourself up. I am sure your mother would not blame you in any way and loved you dearly while she was alive for the wonderful are and companionship you gave her
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Mom's appetite had waned at least two weeks prior and I thought it was just a phase she was going through. Although she had a pain in her side from arthritis, it had become intense. Five days before she went to the hospital I had the doctor press on her side, and she screamed terribly. He xrayed for possible hip fracture, but I'm sure now it was pain from her bladder and a simple urine analysis could have saved her. What hurts so much is two days before she went to the hospital, I had taken her to a party with her friends and our "potty schedule" got goofed up. As soon as I got to work, she said she had to go (urinate). She was fixed up with Depends and that was not usually an issue. I intended to come home soon, but it was four hours from that time before I got here and she was basically dry. Perhaps if I had come sooner and realized there was urgency without much result, I would have connected that something was wrong. The next day she said she didn't really want me to go to work and because of deadlines, I went even though it broke my heart and I told her so. I was away at least 6-1/2 hours that last day although was here midway to make her lunch. When I called that evening to say I was coming home, she said she had been sick. I could tell she had been agitated and apparently was too confused to call me. I believe now she had her first attack from the sepsis (Ecoli poisoning in her blood) while I was gone that day. Had I seen that attack, I would have taken her to the doctor right away. We had dinner, watched TV, and when I put her to bed around 1:30 a.m.,, she was taking short quick breaths which I interpreted as shallow breathing. I put her C-pap mask on and at 4:00 a.m., when I checked she was perspiring heavily and her pulse was out of control. She was in atrial fibrillation. The rest happened in the hospital. I thought she was recovering, but between the sepsis and the effects of the antibiotics, she passed six days later. She was a joyful spirit until the end, and I still can't believe she could slip away so quickly. The signs to watch for are cloudy urine (she only had one episode of that), confusion, loss of appetite, urgency, and not being able to urinate. She even was having trouble with her teeth feeling that something wasn't right. Apparently, there is not always a fever, so as many times as I took her temperature, it was always very close to normal. I can't tell you how guilty I feel for not being able to see what was happening and not staying right with her when she was feeling well. So many regrets and no way to let her know how sorry I am.

Take care of you and your Mom - Estelle
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Estelle- I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm very close to my mom too. She also battles UTI's. It is a constant struggle to figure out when they are coming on.
Could you tell me how your mom acted when she got the one that was fatal. I worry about not knowing the signs. Hugs
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I loved my Mom dearly and have always lived with her, but continued to work over the last two years when I should really have been here. There were many times she didn't feel up to moving for fear of falling. I came home everyday to fix her lunch and called her severaly times a day just to make sure she was okay. I worked full time until mid year of 2011, then reduced hours so I was gone more like 7 hours total still with the midday break. She came down wiith shingles this spring, We got the antiviral in time, but she still had the pain for four to six weeks. I consulted the doctor and he said to make her comfortable was about all I could do, so I still worked. I was winding everything down to be able to spend a nice summer with her this year, when she contracted a UTI and passed in May just a couple weeks short of the time we had planned to spend our time together. I wish I had known about the camera options and all the extras offered on this site. I never had time to check things out while Mom was here. My regrets are unbearable.


do, so I still worked
I felt I was accomplishing it all, but now feel unbearable
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Make sure you get a system that is in your community local. Some systems are impossible to git rid of....
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Meals on Wheels is a good venue. They will deliver the food and also check to be sure the person is ok. Life Alert works well too. They have an automatic button if the person falls it goes off automatically. We also have a security camera installed. It is a Q-see system and it is great. We can monitor from our smart phones and also computers all the time. We put them in rooms where he spends the most time and also one for the doorway in case he tries to wander out. They are not expensive and as a working person these are very helpful and give me peace of mind. I can watch any time of the day or night to make sure he is ok. Of course my dad only lives in an apartment with us on the second floor so he doesn't have much room to wander around and the 4 cameras work well for us. You can also get a system with 8 cameras that you can put in every area. Good Luck and give it a try. Costco or Sams
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My parents had Lifeline with a local service provider, then AmericaConnect. If you can get Monitronics, complete with a home security & fire alert system, I recommend them. They are the FASTEST by far in call responding to any problem signal sent. If I forget to disarm when I head out the door, for example, they text me and call within a minute. Check response times of your options. AmericaConnect takes quite long - consistently.
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I do not know in which state you reside, but in Maryland, the Dept. of Aging has volunteers who both visit and/or provide telephone check-ins, support, etc. They match like-minded people with your parents and more often than not, end up being angels in disguise. The Dept. even has a shuttle service to pick up your parents at home and return them when they are ready after sharing activities at the Center. They are even fed there.
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I use Life Station, which I found to be quite affordable. They also do an excellent job, as I have been called on numerous occasions, and they kept my mother talking until I arrived. I also had a name bracelet made by Never Lost wristbands (http://www.neverlostwristbands.com) with all pertinent contact information as my mom had left her home on several occasions. Something else I did which really helped.... I took away all of her shoes. Now she has to "think" before she leaves and really has not left her home since. And like you, I prepare drinks, food and clothes both at night and before I leave for work in the morning.
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I have been considering installing a camera system and the only problem with that would be that if something happens to her, in an area that isn't monitored, it wouldn't be dealt with right away. I'm thinking of getting a medical alert system as suggested by openheart2. I'm still looking at brands. I'm not sure which I want to go with yet...any suggestions?

Also, preparing things before hand was another great idea. Thank you all for these responses. I'm going to tie together the bits and pieces that will work best for my mom.
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There are several "high-tech" innovations available today to help provide peace-of-mind for caregivers who find themselves geographically separated from those they are caring for. They run the gamut from remote ADL & "all is well" monitoring services, to safety & security products including solutions from vendors such as GrandCare, Sonamba, Independa, BeClose & SurePod to name a few. Often these products/services can be cost effective alternatives worth considering & also can help delay the difficult decisions of having to consider other forms of institutional care - which can be costly to undertake. I truly believe you will see more or these types of products coming to the marketplace to encourage aging-in-place more independently, safely & responsibly. Hi-tech will supplement not supplant, the hi-touch approach to caregiving as provided by friends & family caregivers and the healthcare professionals who support them.
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You may want to see if you can locate a system similar to Skype that will allow you to have audio and video access to your loved one. It does require that she be able to respond to a tone and activate the system by pushing a button. You might want to check out http://www.carecamera.co.uk as an option. I don't know anything about the system but I used to use a system from Caregivertech.com but I believe they no longer exist. It was wonderful and helped me stay in touch with mom any time I wanted.
Probably the most valuable service is a personal care aid that will come to the home daily - maybe mid-day. Our company offers care for just 3 hours so it is very affordable and brings a lot of peace of mind. We have engaged one of our personal care aids for 5 hours a day to come to our home for my 93 yo mother in law. She makes her breakfast and lunch, does light housekeeping, shopping, companionship, bathing, etc. She notifies us if there is anything unusual. Major peace of mind and much less cost than an assisted living for now. Just be sure to find a reputable company.
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Adult day health care. In my area they pick them up, provide a snack and lunch, and the social interaction is priceless! There are also professionals around your mother for a second par of eyes! Most seniors are resistant to day care, kind of like preschool anxiety! The progranms have 2 days, 3 days, and 5 day attendence schedules. Remember she'll need extra emotional support when starting. But by her 2-3 week she will begin to have some comfort. There are different social economic centers around so do your research until you find a comfortable match! Take care of all of you...good luck!
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One thing I have found useful is adult day care. There are programs where nurses are on staff and where they have all sorts of interesting activities available to do. Also, it is not so lonely to be with others. You can hire a "babysitter" to stay with her (does not have to be a nurse, just someone responsible).
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Sorry - my post was intended as a new question. Please remove this & my "response" posting.
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How do I get an elderly parent to use soap after toileting, etc? I even have antiseptic cleaners in pump containers positioned around the house, but he dismisses sanitary measures.

I plan to call his doctor's office Monday to ask for more home aid/nursing since he also does not wash with soap. This led to bedsores before.

Oh, and he lies to me even about simple things.
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First of all, I have a medical alert system installed for anything of an emergency nature. They are inexpensive and give peace of mind. Secondly, I continually asked all of my mother's health care providers for recommendations for aides whom they knew until I found a real gem who both calls and checks in on my mom on a daily basis. She believes that the aide is her "friend", so we leave it at that, especially with her dementia. Even if it is four 3-4 hours per day, it is worth the peace of mind while you work.
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hello.
in my experience with monitoring my mom, I always prepared her meals,breakfast lunch and dinner the day before. her meds in med boxes. I always made sure wastebaskets were emptied each night. That way I knew what was thrown out. I only asked her to eAt her breakfast, washing dishes were not necessary. She lived in a senior housing apartment. a neighbor would look in on her. Eventually I hired my friend to stay with her a specific time of the day. Like lunch and dinner. Also, if you decide for a visiting nurse,primary dr writes up an order for a nurse to visit. it would occur for my mom after a hospital stay. When you invite help into your home sombody needs to be there to leave that trusted adult in your home.
I was there for the initial visit, and the nurse would call to let my mom know what time she was comming. She did well with that. Then I would ask the nurse to contact you or write her notes in a journal of her visit. I did the same with my hired friend. I had a journal of all that was done during her visit. What she ate, drank, activities, meds. Mood, bathroom events etc. It was so helpful.
Hope this helps.
Take care
Equinox
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What about a surveillance camera inside your home? I've seen that kind of stuff advertized on TV.
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