Mom is a sweet 95 y/o WWII Vet. Husband died in 2003, she is legally blind, has pretty arthritic hands and is seemingly more and more confused as of late. I'm getting her tested for a UTI tomorrow. She lives in a 3500 sq ft two story home. Her bedroom, bathroom and laundry are all upstairs which causes us all concern. She has missteps on the stairs once in a while but has luckily been able to catch herself. I have installed wi-fi cameras so we can keep tabs when we're not with her. My partner calls her as soon as she gets up in the morning to orient her to the day, she makes and takes her lunches and dinners up to her. I help Mom with showering, laundry, hydration, incontinence issues, appointments, etc... My sister comes to hang out with Mom and pay the bills 2hrs midday twice a week and 1hr in the evening twice a week. We just hired a companion / reader 1-1/2 hrs twice a week. I'm finding that I need Mom to have additional care but she says she doesn't need it. We all love Mom dearly and want her life to be as fulfilling and safe as it can be until the end.
Any ideas or commiseration?
You've gotten some good answers already. I just wanted to say that your family sounds great - an independent-spirited mom and children who are sharing the responsibility and doing their best to keep her independent. You don't see those kinds of things on here very often. Your parents sound like fantastic people (truly The Greatest Generation) who have raised some terrific daughters (and your partner sounds like a gem as well). Your mom is a lucky! woman
My personal suggestion, if there is a bathroom and spare room on the first floor, make the spare room Mom's new bedroom. Involve her in choosing colors and decor. Even if the bathroom does not have a tub, she can spongebathe in between the days you come to give her a full bath or shower upstairs.
As your mom is getting more and more confused can you gradually increase the time the companion spends with her? Ninety minutes can become 2 hours and see how that goes then increase it again the next week or in 2 weeks, ever so gradually that it's not very noticeable. I do home health nursing and I've done this before. Or I'll say, "As long as I'm here why don't I (fill in the blank)?" Then the caregiver can do some laundry or sweep the patio or do whatever you need her to do. But caregivers only do light housekeeping so whatever you need the caregiver to do most of her duties need to be centered around your mom. A caregiver could get your mom out of the house. "Let's take a drive." Or to an Dr.'s appointment. It doesn't sound right to use your mom's increasing confusion to your advantage but you would probably be able to increase the in-home assistance because of your mom's worsening confusion.
I had a patient who had Alzheimer's. She lived with her husband and I was asked to "visit" in street clothes as opposed to scrubs. I rang the doorbell and this beautifully dressed woman with full makeup answered, invited me in, and led me to the den where we sat and watched C-Span. She didn't ask who I was or wonder what I was doing there. She made intelligent comments and asked me if I would like something to drink. It was a very surreal experience and it was only when I had been there for a while that I began to see the cracks. But my point is that she didn't question my being there, she just accepted it. And while she was confused she was a lovely hostess!
How about a little 'rearranging' of the truth? Find someone to 'assist' mom, however, put it to mom that 'your friend needs help because she's/he's homeless' ! That way, mom has help & you have peace of mind.