No Place Like Home?

by Sleepless in Santa Cruz
(Santa Cruz, CA)

My Mom has Alzheimer's and for a while we kept her living in her own beloved home up until about a year ago. There are five grown children she raised not to mention helping raise several grandchildren who are now grown too.

Out of the five only two have really been there for Mom. That would be my older sister and myself. What I find humorous is we are actually the youngest and it would seem least likely to be her caregivers but we did so while she was in her own home and we continue to oversee and care for her even now when she is living in a so-called Wonderful Alzheimer's Facility that everyone else seemed to think was most appropriate at the time.

My problem is we now have a considerable drive to get to her and still are seeing to the most basic needs such as assisting her with a shower, dressing her for the day and for bedtime and providing her with at least one really good meal since the food at the place she resides in looks and tastes terrible.

What I'm puzzling over is is my Mom really any better off being there or should we have kept her in her own home and hired in round-the-clock care? I realize its extremely expensive to do so but plenty of money is going out every month to this facility that really isn't providing the most basic of needs for her.

I read other peoples comments about how they resent being the "chosen one" but my Mom raised all of us and was a good Mom and most certainly deserves her grown and very capable children to be involved with her care when she needs them the most!

I know we are shaving years off of our own lives, my sister and me but there isn't anything I wouldn't do for this woman. I would really like to have her come and live with my husband and children but am outvoted by the other siblings who say she is in the best place possible and me and my sister don't have to do these things for her.

Are we both obsessed or are we just trying to do right by my Mom? My siblings said we are sick and need to get help and remove ourselves from the situation. They also said we are defeating the whole purpose of having her there so it frees us both up to tend to our own lives. Any thoughts on this or suggestions to my sister and me?

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3 Hots and a Cot
by: Anonymous

We placed our father in a nursing home a few months ago and he is miserable and hard to handle and the nursing staff has hinted that he may require a higher level of care then they are able to provide.

He has dementia and Parkinson's and refuses to stay in his wheel chair without help so he falls quite a bit. He also complains about the food and complains about the attitude of the aids that assist, etc. I think some of it is true as we adult kids go at all hours of the day and night to check on him.

A few times we found the call buzzer in his bed tied out of his reach so he won't bother the staff. We have addressed all of these issues and continue to check on him every day. It is exhausting but at least we get a little sleep at night while he is at the facility.

This is the best facility we could find in our price range, we are paying completely out of pocket. There are nicer/better facilities but we can in no way pay the nearly ten grand a month they cost. Basically the nursing home is three hots and cot (actually a nicer hospital bed) and medicine administration and not much more.

It is up to the family to try and keep him socially engaged and happy and as much as we try (every day visits) it doesn't work. This week I went out and bought some music CD's from his era of music and some calm and relaxing instrumentals CD for him at the Nursing Home. We are killing ourselves trying to get this old man, our father some happiness but I think it would be worse if he was home.

My suggestion would be to visit often and at all times of the day and night so the staff knows you are checking and that you can feel better about the Nursing Home. We started bringing all kinds of snacks, fresh fruit, individually wrapped little cakes and treats and that does seem to help his attitude about eating.

The Nursing Home we have Dad in also offers PB &J sandwiches if you don't like the meal so he is eating a lot of PB&J.

I Did That Too!
by: Anonymous

When my mom first had to be hospitalized, I did the same thing you are doing. I saw the hospital as an awful hell hole, and bought every negative thing my mom told me about the nurses. I saw the food as terrible and looked for dirt. I felt so much guilt for her being there it ate me up. I was obsessed.

So, yup even though it was only me to care for her, I brought her home against the doctors wishes. She couldn't walk, wash herself...she was total care and very demanding. She lived in a granny flat right across my driveway on my farm.

I was there for 5 to 9 hours a day...depending on what was going on. She started drinking heavily(again). This lasted for two months. I was on the verge of going insane and I was exhausted. I still had my own business to run, house to keep and family to look after. When mom almost died at home she had to go back in to the hospital. Then I saw it for what it really was.

The food was actually okay. The nurses were great and the place was clean. I realized that half the stuff mom told me was not true (they showed me the charts). Once mom's attitude changed...the nurses actually started to really like her. Best of all, I could visit her and just bond with her and just love her.

At first I only went up every two or three days to allow her to settle in. Then near the end of her life, I did go up every day for that month, just to hold her hand and let her know I love her so much. Try not going up every day. Go up to see her every three days for a while. The nurses will do their job if you aren't there looking down your nose at them and 'taking over'.

If it truly is a 'bad facility' then look for a different one. I know we all think at one time that no one can do it like we can, but that's not true...they can do it better. Good luck.

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