My husband and I went to see her right away: my husband stayed a week and I stayed 3 to help out. Mom recovered physically amazingly well except for a lot of weakness. She does have some increased memory issues, and is aware of that. She now has 3 home health workers (including a speech therapist who is working with her on memory issues) visiting weekly through the end of this month, a helper once a week for a couple of hours, housekeepers every other week, and meals on wheels. She refused to go to a rehab facility when leaving the hospital, and in retrospect, that was a good decision since it seems to be care facilities that have been hit hardest by Covid-19. Both the states we live in have asked all residents to stay home to minimize the spread of the virus. My mom has lived alone for decades but I'm still worried about her: whether she's taking medications, etc. She's very comfortable in her home and refuses to move anywhere and safe there, but I'm still worried. She was improving little by little each day while I was there, but couldn't see it herself. Also, even after that relatively short period I've time I was there, I was exhausted, answering the same questions multiple times and being "on" 24/7- I really feel for people that care for family members for years. The home health therapists told her she needed to start doing meal prep herself before I left, and specific exercises each day, but she wasn't interested. I realize there's a certain amount of coming to terms with having had a stroke, as I had one a few years ago, so I think that's part of what's going on. I know objectively that she doesn't need someone with her 24/7, but I still worry. Any advice?

Csoward ,
Maybe ask the medical professionals that are working with her for their opinion.
It sounds as though she is going to need full time care in the not to distant future. It's so hard when they don't want to leave their home. You may want to research "therapeutic fibbing " before the time comes to move her whether it's to your home or assisted living.
Hang in there!
God bless!
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Reply to xrayjodib

Does your mom have A-Fib, e.g. she would be at a greater stroke risk for another one? She may not be able to do meal prep. Prayers sent to you.
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Reply to Llamalover47

My fiancé had a stroke in 2016. It was on the right side, and therefore affected the left side of his body. One thing I've learned about strokes is that afterwards, people don't always make good decisions. This is particularly true for strokes like his: His focus is on how to accomplish the particular task at hand (physical movements are largely controlled by the left side of the brain), and he can't always see the big picture (judgement and evaluation largely controlled by right side). The reverse is often true for strokes on the left side that affect the right side of the body. The physical symptoms may seem greater, but decision making and thought process doesn't seem to be affected as much.

If balance is an issue at all—and it probably is—then your mother will not be safe if left alone. She may swear she is, but she isn't. If she is taking blood thinners after the stroke, then even a minor fall can cause internal bleeding that might never be visible but can kill her if there's no one to get her to the ER asap. And if she swears that she only needs a cane to walk, when she really needs a walker or a wheelchair, then the inevitable fall can easily turn into a broken hip. Peripheral vision also becomes a problem, as does distance perception, and a host of other things that can cause accidents. Even a person with the best intentions can take care of herself so well that she accidentally takes two days worth of medicines in one day. I speak from experience with my fiancé on all of the above situations.

Is there any way that you can go get her and bring her home with you for a few months? Then you can evaluate the true situation and make your decisions with real knowledge, not just what she tells you. If not, it is probably imperative that you make arrangements with a local home-health company that can send people to visit her several times a week.
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Reply to craftslady1

OK, here are some objective questions:
Will your mother take her medications without supervision?
Will you mother prepare and eat healthy diet every day?
Will your mother complete all hygiene needs for herself without prompting: toileting, changing clothes, daily bathing, caring for her hair...?
Will your mother care for her home without assistance in a manner to keep is clean and not become a health hazard?
Will your mother self-isolate to prevent contracting disease?
Will your mother utilize online shopping or having others shop for her to provide necessities?

If your answer to every question is a resounding "YES!," then she has matters well in hand. If you are not sure, then it would be worth the expense to have daily caregiver coming in for at least a portion of the day. Your primary job is to make sure she is safe and cared for. Your secondary job is to be a social contact so she isn't socially isolated.
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Reply to Taarna
Isthisrealyreal Apr 5, 2020
Safe and cared for doesn't mean that you have to do the hands on care. Just wanted to clarify that.
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It's one thing to know the situation objectively; quite another thing to accept a situation emotionally. We all worry about various situations in our lives, but does worrying change anything? I don't believe it does. We can't predict the future. The best we all can do is deal with the present. So keep in touch with what is happening, speak with the physicians and therapists if she allows it, and offer her emotional support and encouragement. I say the Serenity Prayer frequently when I'm faced with anxiety provoking situations. Maybe you can try something that calms you too. Good luck .
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Reply to Peanuts56

After what your mom has been through, I find it hard to believe she will be okay on her own. I'm helping my mom after her illness as well. I'm with her everyday and see how she has really slipped over time. My sister who rarely sees her thinks everything is okay because mom is so delighted to see her that she is able to covers up her dementia with lying and tricks of hers trying to show that she has not forgotten and sister falls for it hook line and sinker. She actually thinks mom can cook her own meals, pay her own bills and do her own laundry etc. She can't... I'd get someone in to help her on a daily basis until it can be100% determined that she is okay on her own. I hope she's not fooling you like my mom fools others. Good luck to you!!
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Reply to Flowerhouse1952

My mother had a VERY severe hemorrhagic stroke at age 85. I spoke to her on the phone late on the afternoon after the stroke had happened, and there was clearly an issue with her ability to communicate, but knowing her as I did, I didn’t take any action until the next day.

When she answered the phone the next day, my husband and I went to her and managed to get her to the hospital. In spite of the stroke, the doctors taking care of her said her health was far better than a woman her age would be expected to have.

She refused to cooperate with the speech therapist who was sent to assess her, and after 2 nights, told her doctor she was going home, and did.

Walked in the door, and except for some language issues, she resumed the life she’d lived before the stroke had happened, cooking her own meals, doing her laundry, everything. No sign of confusion or depression or forgetfulness.

In your situation I don’t think I’d feel quite as comfortable about your mom as I did about mine. Do you have any options for getting someone into her life on some kind of schedule to make sure that she’s ready to get back to being her independent self?

Hope this works out well for you both.
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Reply to AnnReid

My mother had a series of strokes, starting with smaller ones like the one you described with your mom. Please don’t assume my mother’s experience will be yours, many people who have a stroke do not have more. With my mother, after the smaller ones we also saw quick physical recovery, with speech returning fine along with other skills. But she was left with a certain apathy she’d never had before, wasn’t interested in doing suggested follow up activities, didn’t participate in things as before. When I suggested the possibility of depression, she was very offended. Looking back, I wish we’d done more to treat this. Not saying the situations are the same, but be on the lookout for this as you mention your mom not being interested in doing activities. You can hire a helper to manage meds and whatever else needs doing, we have a wonderful now with my dad, it’s not full time and she’s not medically trained but has proven to be a huge help
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Reply to Daughterof1930
NeedHelpWithMom Apr 2, 2020
My dad went through depression and anxiety after his stroke. You bring up very good points. Not being able to articulate his emotions very well didn’t help.

Strokes are so interesting. Situations are individual according to the severity of the stroke.

Speech therapy did help my dad but he continued to mix up his words from time to time. That was so frustrating to him.

At one time, he said, “I am stupid.” That broke my heart to hear him say that. I told him that he was not stupid, that his brain had been damaged and that’s why he was mixing up his words.
I'd be worried, too.  Like what's slipping through the cracks when I wasn't there.  Is she remembering to take meds, taking too many, paying bills, able to fix any meals (even just warming up food) without burning things up .. just so many things.  Maybe she does need someone 24/7.

You said you're exhausted, answering the same questions multiple times .. dementia?  I'm no Dr.  But dementia often becomes more evident the more time we spend with and observe our loved ones.  And our loved ones don't realize how bad it is either; they think they're just having 'senior moments.' 

Wondering your mom's age.  Maybe she shouldn't be living alone with memory issues, compounded by her other physical limitations which have worsened.  She may no longer be able to make the best decisions for her care and safety.

Is there anyone who knows her well who can live with her? stay with her 24/7? observe what all's going on? even for a little while? to determine just what's gong on and if she needs more help than anyone realizes.
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Reply to lilhelp

Today I am dropping a Grandpad off to my mother who lives in a local independent living apartment. The facility is allowing no visitors--including aides, PT, visiting nurses who go to more that that client. She has been on her own, literally, in her studio apartment for 2 weeks. I can already hear some changes. The idea is that with the Grandpad I could see how she is doing.
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Reply to MaryNTN

Of course, you will be concerned about her. Yes, it is good that she recovered quickly. Yes, rehab is done in a facility and they have been hit hard. They do suggest rehab for good reasons. Same with home health.

My dad had a stroke. He did rehab and home health. They work best together, back to back. They would not have suggested rehab if they felt she didn’t need it. Still, under these circumstances I totally understand your concerns about her safety.

The choice has already been made so be at peace with it. You aren’t going to change your mind. How do you feel about FaceTime? Does she have a smart phone? Or even installing a camera that you could watch the footage and see for yourself.

How was she doing with her therapy program? What did she have? Speech? Occupational? Physical?

Can you give us a few more details please?
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

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