My 86 y.o. mom has health issues and vascular dementia. We tried to let her stay in her apt. but she kept firing caregivers. We brought her to live with us and while my husband and I loved having her and she seemed to do well, every day (except one) for 2 months she asked to go home. When she started getting very agitated and threatening to do something drastic if she didn't go home, I took her home with nurses, case managers and caregivers all set up. This lasted less than a week. She called to fire the caregivers every day and also became agitated. I flew out and brought her to our home and then we put her in a nursing home 2 days later. She was not cooperative about this and was so upset they didn't let me visit for a week. Then everything was going well, she ate in dining hall with others, she wasn't mad at me anymore. Now after 2 months she is not eating, is down to 79# from 90# and may need tobe hospitalized because of dehydration. She cries that she misses me and now wants to live with us. My husband feels she should be in the nursing home and though I visit daily, sometimes twice a day, I feel incredibly guilty and am considering taking a leave of absence from ny job so I can take care of her at home. What should I do?
The fact that she did so well and now has slipped makes me wonder about her medications. Maybe an adjustment could be made. Maybe she needs an anti-depressant. If she hadn't done well for awhile, it would be a bit different, but something has changed and a doctor should look into it.
You also have to consider what taking her back home would do to your marriage. Think carefully before going back to where you were before. Get medical advice for her, and perhaps for yourself. There must be a reason for this change.
Also, see if she favors a certain caregiver in the home, or seems afraid of anyone particular, just in case there is a personality issue. Fear doesn't necessarily mean abuse, but a certain personality may remind her of something in the past, so perhaps the home could see if changing her caregivers would help. With her history of firing caregivers, I would be careful to not imply that someone is abusing her (but it happens so you need to be aware).
Please check with the doctor about medications and see if something changed. That could be the key to the whole issue.
She has been in the nursing home for 1 year and it has been a struggle to contend with her crying and beggin to come back or go live with my sister or brother . Her hallucinations got so bad and her cryling, that they called in a psyciatrist. He prescribed a daily patch and changed her antidepressant and she is much better. I only go once a week to visit. That is all I can take. The staff tells me she takes part in the activites and seems to be doing OK.
Maybe you should cut back on your visits and let the staff know that. Hopefully they have activity directors there who know how to interact with the residents and encourage them to be less dependant on you. And yes, she may need some medication. Don't neglect your marriage for your mother. And your own health suffers when pulled in to many directions.
She is pleasant, kind, and very grateful for everything we do for her. I personally try to take her out at least 3 or 4 times a week and go to a movie (which she can still see) or just run around doing dumb stuff. She likes that. She also goes to church with us every Sunday, and afterwards we come back to our house and I make a big breakfast/brunch for us. The one time my husband gets poached eggs during the week. He likes that. ha.
I, for the most part, like spending time with her, but it's ALWAYS nice to have her go back to 'the home' as she calls it. We thought and planned on building onto our house at one time, a separate apartment for her instead of asst. living. But that still wouldn't solve the problem of her not being alone when we were out of the house. She needed 24/7 care, so we went with asst. living. She falls a lot and has already broken her hip. This site has put into perspective my relationship with her, and someday my folks. It's all relative (no pun intended) I guess. What is torture for some, is a walk in the park for others. Either way, getting old sucks, and dying... well from the time we're born, we start to die. So knowing where we spend eternity is the only thing that makes this worth while, and gives a person anything to look forward to. At least I do.
Keep in mind my Mom is physically able to do anything and constantly trying to go home!
I have real scenerios that may help you:
When Mom first needed 24/7 care due to her confusion and getting lost, she lived with my Boyfriend and myself
in a Lake community, the lake was directly across the street behind the house accross from mine. One night I had a feeling she was in wondering mode (her bed was on first floor) so I asked her if I could cuddle up with her thinking this would keep her from wanting to leave or at least if she did I would know. Well she waited until I was in LALA LAND climbed over me, opened the window climbed out(I had doors booby trapped) I woke to a phone call from the police 12:30 AM (well aware of her condition due to prior incidents). She was in her robe which was wet to her chest. The police told me the man across the street woke to his dog barking and he saw her in his back yard(lake front). She says to me very calmly, " I was walking home" (an hour drive thru mountain roads) "Oh and I was in a puddle thats why I am wet...it was a big puddle." She was in the lake and didn't know it. Thank GOD dogs!
She was in the lake but clueless about it and the distance of her house and all the dangers!
One day she climbed out window again trying to go home, she faked me out, knowing I would stop her, she acted like she was going to the bathroom closed the door and I was clueless. When I realized she took off I called police, it was maybe 10 minutes she was gone b4 I noticed. Then we search all over town I had joggers, dog walkers, kids playing outside, landscapers looking for her. After about 1 hour I started freaking out, then I thought I saw her but it was a woman who from behind looked like her, so I explained to her what was going on in hopes she'd seen Mom since she was raking her lawn and just then a woman pulls up to say hello to her, so the woman explains what I was doing there to the woman in the car and she says OMG she's at the library she thought she was in her home town library. How she found the library I'll never know but it is located right next to Police station. Thank God again!
I could go on n on with these storys but you should get the point I'm making. I must say that once Mom got used to the routine of the NH she accepted the change and with daily routine and stable unchanging environment she is alot less stressed. In fact she is so much happier that she dosen't have to be directed by me anymore. In fact at the NH she does what she wants, goes where she wants, and the staff cannot by law force her in anyway or give her zombie pills unless it is rightfully justified. The only thing they have to do is give meds needed for her best quality of life. Sometimes she tells me "I'm going out tonight" I say "oh ok have fun." In her mind she works there and the entertainment time is like a night out.
She rants on and on how much she hates it. But when I pressed her about 'why' she hates it, I found out what she really wanted was a time machine. She wants to go back to when she was happy, with her husband and boys, and when life was 'good'. Her old home represents the memories of that happy time, that's why she 'hates' the place she's in. I told her I wished there was a time machine, that would be wonderful.
I"m not a therapist, but if this guilt immobilizes you much more please go see a qualified therapist about it.
I don't now your age or how close you are to your own retirement, but considering that and today's economy, I would not a leave of absence from your job. You need a life, but you don't need to visit twice a day. Your responsible for her care and her safety, but you can't be responsible for how she feels because those are her feelings. If we let our own emotions go up and down according to how happy someone else is, then we will constantly live on a roller coaster.
My mom raised me to believe it was my main job in life to make her happy and to always put others before myself for I had no real self apart from her. That belief about destroyed my adult life.
Now, my main job as her adult son is to make sure she is cared for and safe. Sometimes that means having to stand up to my step-dad and he gets very angry over me having medical and durable POA, but he must deal with his feelings, plus he's a drunk and you can't reason with someone who is drunk. I never let the nursing home or my mom or step-dad know when I am coming so that I can see how the CNA's most of whom are experienced adults and the nurse is functioning.
I am sad that lhardebeck's only seen some of the worst NH, but in my county even the poorest NH operates better than the one she's talking about.
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