Strung Out and Hung Out to Dry

by Charlene
(Spokane)

I have an elderly parent who has severe Alzheimer's/dementia that I helped care for in her own home up until recently. This is my Mom we are talking about here. So as you probably guessed by now, a very emotional roller coaster ride since we have always been close to each other.


Alzheimer's has destroyed this once confident woman and reduced her into a small child scared of everything and it cuts me deep every time I see her struggling so. My issue these days is the home we had her placed in brags that they specialize in this particular care but they just don't seem to give a darn about the residents.

They started off acting like she would be so entertained and busy with all of these bustling activities and that the nurse to patient ratio of caregivers there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 to 1. We were impressed, but not anymore. Just a few months into her residing there we have found we must be there every day to make sure we give her a shower, dress her out and dress her for bedtime, make sure she gets three square meals and her medications.

It seems crazy to my friends that we are there so much but I have told them if we weren't there we would find her still sitting in her old clothes, hair not combed, no shower, and more than likely hungry! I'm disgusted with this place and the phony helps response when they see us coming....they act so happy to see us and act they like really have spent countless hours taking care of my Mom.

This is NEGLECT as far as I'm concerned. I have contacted the area ombudsmen service for elder care. In the meantime I am looking for other alternatives for her including coming to live with my family and me as I think she will be better off in the long run.

Part of the reason she was placed in this wonderful facility was to free my sibling and myself up from her care full time as neither of us were able to keep up the care 24/7, but this is ridiculous! Any suggestions out there from other caregivers?

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Thank You Leasa and Renat
by: Charlene

I just wanted to say a big thank you to the both of you for your comments and kind words. I have set up an appointment with the care facility manager to discuss what's working and what isn't for my Mom.

I think its time they heard from our end that we are still doing everything for my Mom's care like when she was at home. They probably won't like what I have to say to them but its way past time for this conversation to take place. I thank you both for your kindness and sage advice to my sister and myself.
Warm regards,
Charlene

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Keep that Wheel Spinning!
by: Renta

It makes me angry to hear that these 'care-givers' would actually leave the care of your mother - which they are expected to do - to you.

My friend, they are. I don't believe they have any intention of doing it to the degree you are nor at all - especially if you are doing it! Find another place for her.

If you decide to keep her, then make the necessary provision, i.e., safe environment, where she can't harm herself by falling, etc.,visiting help for the evening shift or the morning shift and ensure she can't wander off - away from the house.

You are discovering that you can still do more for your mother, and a better job than the 'care facilities' proclaim. A word of advice, I think that no facility will adequately match your standards. This happened to me also. So change your view of the use of a care facility... use them for a break! Don't arrange to leave her there for long periods of time, say, 1 month at a time - when you need it!

Don't set anything in stone right now, as your needs may vary from time to time you may need more help with your Mom - notice I said 'your needs', that's because you are standing in your Mother's shoes: you feel for her and defend and protect her - good for you - you have received her in this time of her life, like your own child!

Keep looking for and trying out new places until you find one that you are happy with - one that works best for you or where their care priorities are similar to yours. You should talk frankly with a care provider about how realistic your expectations might be - but you don't have to drop your standards.

Some people might make friends with the staff and pay them extra to do what you want for your Mom... yeah disgusting I know. They should be ashamed to accept more money for a job they are already paid to do - I don't recommend this approach, instead maybe a nice pie? Or a little token of appreciation like a slice of their favourite cake (if you have at home or can pick up on the way) might do the trick.

Maybe target the person in-charge of the Facility, then see if they don't treat your Mom a little better - not neglect her needs. This worked for me.

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Questions?
by: Leasa

I feel for you and I know exactly what it's like to see your mom since into that confusing scary world of dementia...my mom just passed away this May.

I have a lot of experience looking after Alzheimer's patients as I used to work in a nursing home.

You've done the right thing in going to your mom to check on her care there. I do have a couple of questions:

Have you made an appointment with the director of care at the facility regarding your mother's care? Make sure you list your concerns and document it.

Are you documenting it?

Could it be that the nursing staff are so used to you doing everything for mom that they have come to expect it, so they don't do it?

I would advise against taking mom home. I tried it and even with my nursing background, it almost broke me. Resentment will build and you will get extremely tired and then you will feel so guilty for it.

Also, it is difficult to keep an elderly person safe at home. You see them on the news all the time as 'missing'. There are so many dangers as well in the home....

Take care, Leasa


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