Very stressful. We have no family nearby and trusted long time friends have passed. Where is support in a hospital setting? We experienced none.

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I'm not sure what support you are expecting. No one is going to come to the house to help unless you hire someone yourself. Most hospitals have a Social Services Department that might help you get started on where to look for the kinds of help you may need. Look for community Senior Services agencies which might have resources or referrals for different kinds of help.

You will gain experience at being something of a "general contractor" finding and arranging for the help you and your husband need. No one is going to swoop in to take over, but don't panic. Address one need at a time. Each problem you solve will give you some encouragement.
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Reply to RedVanAnnie

There are many programs and services to help. Start with your insurance company and your primary health provider.
I learned a long time ago to never count on anyone. I have always planed on ways to take care of myself.
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Reply to Sample

It is really not the job of the hospital to provide support. They are there to take care of sick patients. They are usually short-staffed, so just getting someone to answer the bell or bring you to the bathroom is an ordeal. In my experience in the hospital with both my elderly parents, I had to take charge and request thing be done, otherwise, they do nothing but the basic care. You could ask the doctor if there is anyone to help you, but usually it has to do with transfer to a rehab center, or at home care services. Maybe there is someone in the hospital administration that can offer assistance, you need to ask for help as they do not automatically offer it.
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Reply to HanaLee

Welcome to the forum! Wow, did your husband have his FIRST ever hospitalization at 86 years old?! That's amazing! What happened that you did not feel any support at the hospital? I myself always felt the need to be there with my parents when they were hospitalized, as their advocate, because it's hard to navigate the system alone. My daughter is an RN and has helped my husband with numerous health issues over the past couple of years and I can honestly say that she saved his life by going to bat for him over a heart catheter procedure his doctor ordered for him but the ER doc did NOT want to do; his 'test numbers simply weren't supporting the need for it'. Meanwhile, he was about a day away from having a massive heart attack and needed triple bypass surgery. So 'support' in the hospital can be non existent these days, that's for sure.

Tell us what happened, if you feel so inclined.
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Reply to lealonnie1

I would contact your local Dept. of Aging - They should be able to help you/ Contact an elder care attorney to get Will and POAs [financial and health care] if you don't already have these. If your husband is still in hospital ask for Social Worker -most hospitals have one and they can be very helpful. You might consider having a counselor for yourself to help deal with your situation. Your husband's doctor[s] would also be able to help direct you on some resources- you need POA for them to really talk with you about your husband's conditions - he can also give written permission. I take it from your note that you do not have children? or relatives able/willing to help. If you do, talking with them can be very helpful
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Hi Nell,

If your husband is still hospitalized, find the nurse in charge or ask if there is an intermediary nurse and talk to them... they will know more about your husband and his condition than all the expert doctors because nurses need to know it ALL whereas doctors usually only concentrate on their area of whatever they are specializing in. Found that out when dad was hospitalized for a month... the intermediary was absolutely wonderful and always took the time to explain things to us (she's the one who told us to always talk to an experienced nurse because they know the big picture).

If it's emotional and/or spiritual support, ask to speak to a minister or counselor. Most hospitals either have them on staff or are open to having outside clergy come and talk to you. You don't need to be religious, either... people called to ministry are by nature good listeners who love people and usually that's what we need most, just someone to listen and comfort us.

And it's never too late to establish community-based 'family'... senior centers, churches, crafting circles, emotional support groups, etc. Making friends is never easy at any age but I think once you find things in common with a group of people- in our case, aging and all the struggles that go with it- it becomes easier to find others in the same boat as you that are willing to share their own experiences. Have you considered Meals on Wheels once a week? They do more than just provide you with a meal, their visit means a wellness check on both you and your husband.

And lastly, I would highly recommend calling your health insurance provider and find out if your coverage will provide for any kind of at-home services and equipment. **Call and speak to an actual person** who can help you navigate your benefit package. I was shocked at how much help my dad was eligible for under his VERY basic Aetna/Medicare plan. The angel at Aetna that I spoke with was on the phone with me for nearly an hour, LISTENED to me, and provided immediate help with arranging home nursing and getting medical appliances. She was the most compassionate person I could have ever hoped for to help me.

Good luck to you, Nell... I know you will find helpful answers on this forum. It's helped me tremendously over the last 5 years with my parents when I was scared and had no idea how to help them. They are both gone now but I still read the forums nearly every day because I'm looking ahead to a time when hubs and I will be asking the same questions for ourselves.
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Reply to TekkieChikk

Sometimes, you have to ask for help...a Social Worker, a Patient Advocate, a Clergy, homegoing assistance ...hospitals are not always the caring place you think they should be. Fill out that homegoing survey when you get it in the mail, and be honest. God Bless.
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Reply to oldthing

Please tell your Dr, social worker, a nurse your clergy…whoever you see in a position of authority and tell them you need help finding resources to assist you. Try and be clear what you are wanting…caregiver support for yourself or help for your husband (assistance w/his showering, feeding etc).

if you are online (and you got on this forum, so I assume you have access to internet), go to You will see links for support. Google your state and then caregiver support, you should see links for what’s in your area.

Support and help is out there. However they won’t come to you…you have to initiate it.

Keep us posted if you can. That way others in your same situation can see what you did and what was helpful (or unhelpful) for you.
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Reply to Donttestme

I may be wrong, but are you asking where your personal support system is? What kind of support did/do you require? Hospital staff are happy to ask chaplains and case management to talk to you and arrange help... but you need to ask for it. Do you and your husband have "younger" friends or belong to a community of faith? Again, people are willing to help, within reason, if asked.
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Reply to Taarna

I had a BUNCH of tests this week on my heart. After I was done, (and I felt awful, just awful) the nurse walked me to the door and wished me a good day. (Too late for THAT!) but there was no offer of help or support going forward. They didn't even ask if I had anyone at home to 'watch me'.

If I had been having chemo or something, I would have established my own home care if necessary, but it would have been up to me. Yes, I have a DH at home, but he doesn't 'do' sick people and cannot handle it when I am sick.

Perhaps you need to hire some CG's? Someone to help you out in your general day to day. You don't indicate if you have family, but frankly, my family is so busy with THEIR own families, I don't bother them.

We recently moved and don't have that close a relationship with anyone yet, and may never have it. We lived in the same neighborhood for 43 years--and moving has been hard.

I am fully aware if I require anything 'surgical' for my heart, I will need to reach out and get some help, whether from family or close friends. Hospitals just cannot provide any care after they release you. I'm sorry you had a hard time.

I'm very active in my church and my 'church family' is fabulous--I just don't know them well yet.

I wish you luck. If I lived by you, I would have happily helped you out--and I think that is the case a lot of the time--we assume neighbors won't want to help, when the truth is far from that! It takes a VILLAGE to raise a family and a VILLAGE to care for us as we age.
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Reply to Midkid58

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