OT- Moms

I've been away. When I got back, Thunderbird told me that there were over 2100 messages in the Wreck. So I took the easy way out and clicked on "Mark All as Read". I'll likely pick up threads as they continue.
This is a recurrent thread in here because I think many of us are within +/- 10 years of 60. Which means our parents, if still alive are beyond the "golden age" and approaching the age where they need care.
My dad died on an operating table a year and a half ago. It was a shock, but he was mostly able both physically and mentally all the way to the end.
My mother, who survived him, has been going downhill ever since. The past couple of weeks (the reason for my absence), my sister and I moved her into a retirement home, but now were questioning whether she needed to instead go directly into a nursing home. Shes 85.
She suffers from a variety of ailments, one of which is going to take her in the next few months. This is life, and this is death. No amount of railing or complaining will change that. For me, Im glad I have known this woman; shes the best Mom anyone could ever have hoped for.
After my father died, I encouraged her to keep her house, keep her large dog, and keep her lifestyle as much as she could. I said those things to her to so that she could continue living as long as she could. In retrospect, that may not have been as wise as I had thought at the time.
She started to get sick about a year ago, and spiraled down quickly. It was too fast for me, and certainly too fast for my 3 sisters who live out of the country. Now were playing catchup, and we seem to be losing. The place weve moved her to doesnt seem to give enough of the care she needs.
Im telling this story because Ive heard it from other people in the Wreck, and I thought I was prepared. I thought our family was prepared.
We werent.
No matter how honest theyve been all their lives, they learn to lie to you at advanced age. Thats cause theyre scared: scared of moving, scared of losing their independence, scared of the unknown. So they tell you all is fine until you realize that not everything is as it should be. Its not conscious, its not malicious, and its not being mean to their children. It just is.
And its our responsibility to try and see through that. And treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
It doesnt matter how prepared you think you are. You probably arent as much as you need to be.
--

Tanus

http://www.home.mycybernet.net/~waugh/shop /
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"Tanus" wrote:

<snip>
<snip>
I can totally relate.
My mother turned 103 in April and cashed in her hand the end of June this year.
I made a post "star 9 is retired" documenting events in early July.
I was very fortunate to find a nursing facility that gave great care and stayed in contact with me providing updates on a frequent basis.
Since I was 2,500 miles away, and the only sibling, this was very reassuring.
One of the things that kept mom going was a phone.
Programmed her cordless phone with the people she stayed in contact with, and kept it bed side.
Since she could no longer see, the staff would dial a stored number for her, hand her the phone, and she was off and running.
I was also able to stay in contact with her this way.
Something to consider.
Ohio has a web site that rates nursing facilities thru out the state.
Since you are in Canada, don't know what's available, but you may want to check it out.
We all make this journey, will be thinking of you and yours.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

I read that post and was one of the many who responded to you. It was a lovely tribute to a grand old lady whose time had come.
<snip>

I'll check the site out. In the town she lives in, there are quite a few, but I also have some recommendations from some of the local care workers. The place she's in now has a wonderful atmosphere, good location, etc. etc. If they offered just a bit more care, or a lot more care, I'd be satisfied that she's in the right place.

Thanks. We all do. As I said in the orignal post, and as you spoke volumes with on your "Star 9" post, they deserve our love, respect and their own dignity.
--

Tanus

http://www.home.mycybernet.net/~waugh/shop /
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Tanus wrote: ...

That's been my experience almost universally -- imo it's almost impossible for these place to be able to provide the care family would think routine at home simply owing to cost and the number of caretakers and time/caretaker/patient it would require. That said, some are far better than others and experience is the only true way to judge between those that are recommended--even a place that gets a high rating from the regulatory folks can have troubles.
If this is an "assisted living" type of place you may need a new evaluation of the level of care required/desired. Their general modus operandi is to try to provide care at the level required but for the resident to be as self-sufficient as possible. If their initial assessment of capabilities was above actual abilities to perform, she'll be on a continuing level of monitoring that may not be enough until that is changed and the only way it will change is when another assessment is done either by you asking for it or when the next scheduled routine assessment is due.
It is difficult, indeed, and there's virtually no way to be able to monitor as much as would like even when living within ten miles as we were w/ mine. And, of course, every situation and individual is different in specifics even within overall generalities.
--
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My best wishes for you, Tanus. As Lew, I have been there. In my case, Mom went first and Dad stayed. In the end Mom was rather demented and very demanding, although she seemed physically OK. One night or early morning she sat up in bed and fell over, dead. I took the first plane I could get over to Holland and helped as much as I could. Sis came from Paris before me.
Dad stayed in the house and with the help of the neighbors had about 4 more good years. Sis and I visited often (she more than I for obvious reasons). Then Dad became more and more frail, at first rather imperceptible. He had a colon operation and a hip replacement. Finally he fell in the shower (and could have been there until the neighbors would have checked if not that Sis was visiting and heard him fall). He had to be hospitalized, and was on the long, long waiting list for a nursing home. I visited often before and especially after that fall. In my mind it was not often enough, in part because we were told he was very strong and could still live for years and years.
After that it actually was only 4 1/2 increasingly miserable months of declining mental and physical state before he died. In part the decline may have been accelerated because he did not go to a nursing home (or whatever) in time to get acclimated, and in the hospital he was so out of it. Unfortunately, he would have had to have 24 hr care if he was to go home, and that was not feasible, definitely not if it was to last for years. Last time I visited him for a few days was just before I had to go to Sardinia to a meeting. I was planning to go back to the US and then visit again in 3 or so weeks, but that was not to be. At the end of the 4 day meeting, I had to go to Holland rather than the US.
I wish you and your sisters all the strength necessary to get through this period. Consider yourselves among friends who think of you and your Mom.
--
Best regards
Han
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Han wrote:

Thanks Han. You and Lew dealt with distances much greater than mine, although mine are considerable as well. For the first time in my adult life, I wish I lived much closer.
<snip>

This is something the family is finding both online and off. We've talked to a great many people who have either been there, or can easily relate. I haven't talked to one professional who hasn't given me sound advice with good reasons for giving it.
We're lucky so far that Mom, while at times quite confused, hasn't slipped into frustration and lashed out. That may change, but so far it's good.
Thanks again.
--

Tanus

http://www.home.mycybernet.net/~waugh/shop /
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You will never live close enough unless you live in the same house. At least that is what I inferred from the difficulties of others, who were living within a few miles of their parents in similar circumstances. You have to accept that fact, and it is a VEY IMPORTANT fact for your sanity and the parent's acceptance of the help.
I established the routine of calling home every day at the same time (6:30 AM my time, 12:30 PM theirs). The routine was reassuring and I enforced it, since I couldn't afford to be woken up in the middle of the night if it wasn't an emergency. Of course I had the extremely good luck of my parents having very caring neighbors ... I know I can't thank them enough for their help, other than by doing similar things when I (or, mostly, my wife) can to my neighbors.

In my father's case especially, it was deteriorating mental capacities that imperceptibly got worse and worse until frailty precipitated a breakdown. We were lucky that he could mostly manage his frustrations, until they became really bad, like when I entered the hospital roomand found him in a chair chewing on newspaper. It was the antidote to the poison the Germans were giving him (WWII had not been kind on him). Routine is what the elderly really need at beyond some point, I think, to stay (mostly) sane.

You're welcome, and don't hesitate to talk about this as much as you need to.
--
Best regards
Han
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Tanus wrote,on my timestamp of 7/09/2008 8:24 AM:

Amen to that. And I miss both of them terribly... Good luck with your mum, enjoy having her around as much as you can.
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