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Putting a parent in a nursing home

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by TwoGloves, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Well-Known Member

    Anyone have any experience with this? My 84-year-old mother lives with my sister and has basically become too much for my sister to take care of. She fell the other day, broke a bone in her back and my sister is stressing out majorly over having to be with my mom 24/7. She feels like she has no life and doesn't want to put my mom in a nursing home because she thinks it will kill her. But I'm worried not doing it might kill my sister. As you can see, we don't know what the heck to do. Any advice on how to handle something like this? I don't know how to tell my mother we're thinking about it but I don't see much of a choice since my sister isn't qualified to take care of my mom.
  2. Pancamo

    Pancamo Active Member

    Sorry about your situation but all I can say is take a tour of the facility and see if they are warehousing the patients or actually caring for them. I have been in some facilities where you can see 3-4 people in a room and the sole purpose of the place is to generate another monthly invoice.
  3. Killick

    Killick Well-Known Member

    TG - I feel for you, man. My parents are getting up there in age, and I sweat every lost set of keys, every story retold (not realizing they already told me it). Now, for the hard advice: I know there is the end-of-life stigma attached to nursing homes. But the fact is, if you do your homework and really look, there are plenty of facilities that are superb... assisted living centers, where she has her own apartment, rather than a hospital room, plenty to do, lots of well-trained and caring staff. I've seen both ends of the spectrum. My maternal grandmother was in a bad place after breaking her hip. It was basically a hospital room, with a roommate, few activities, little opportunity to still live life. She passed fairly quickly, and I've long thought that place played a big part in her just giving up.

    But I've also done stories on places where the people are very happy, the staff encourages them to be active, and the residents form whole new lives with new friends, a new "home."

    So, talk to your sister. Do the homework. Visit places. Talk to residents. Repeat: Talk to the residents. They'll tell you everything you want to know.
  4. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    2Gloves--I hope your sister can look at it the other way: it might not be safe for your mom to be at her house. Had she been in a good care facility, she may not have fallen and broken her back.

    I understand this too well, having spent much of the last year convincing my mother that her husband--the wonderful Lou of Crossed Giblets fame--needed more care than she could provide him, as the perils and challenges of Alzheimers took over their lives. Finally got him set up in a very nice place, and I think he's actually feeling a little safer and more secure.

    Does your mom need a true 'nursing home' with 24/7 medical care, or could she manage in an assisted living facility, where she might have a little independence but still have 24/7 support and care as needed? Does she have any kind of long-term care insurance? The finances can be incredibly scary and complicated, as we have learned.

    Do yourself a favor, go with your sister to look at a few places, you might find something that doesn't make you sick and scared. Don't discuss it with your mom yet. Maybe talk to her doctor, he/she might be the one to tell your mom she needs more/better care. Good luck, I know it really sucks.
  5. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    Put my mother-in-law in a nursing home a year ago, It's had its ups and down, but she's better off there with 24-hour care than where she was before.

    Unless your family is fairly wealthy, or she has a great insurance policy that would cover nursing-home care, be prepared to jump through a lot of hoops concerning Medicare. We had to basically strip my mother-in-law of every financial asset she had before she qualified.
  6. standman

    standman Member

    The key is how independent is she after the injury or how independent can she be. An assisted living facility can be a nice stop gap if she doesn't need much care. My mother is very independent (she is in there for medication management) and she has been there for five years now. She has a full active life and she gets three square meals a day. Not gourmet, but good enough. And I know I have extended her life in a meaningful way.

    But it is not cheap. My dad did a nice job between annuities and investments, giving her a nice cushion. She also has her pension, social security and veterans fund, helping her. But between that and meds, she spends nears $30,000 a year that comes right out of her pocket. If she does not have a financial cushion, it may have to be a nursing home regardless because most assisted living facilities don't take medicaid and to get medicaid, you basically have to be sucked dry of your finances to qualify.

    Good luck and feel free to ask any questions.
  7. Bud_Bundy

    Bud_Bundy Active Member

    We did this with my father-in-law about a year ago. He was living my sister-and-law and her husband, and the problems he has kept getting worse. The problem is he doesn't understand or accept the face that he has problems.

    What set everything in motion was a mini-stroke he suffered that had him in hospital for a week. The sisters pretty much made up their mind that he couldn't return to the house, so they did extensive research on the assisted living facilities in the area and made trips to several of them.

    We finally narrowed it down to two and moved him to one of them when a bed opened up. We think it's great, the food is good and the care is excellent. But we're still dealing with an 80-something who doesn't think he should be there. I picked him up Sunday for a Father's Day brunch and he was bitching that he hadn't been able to move back "home."

    The biggest thing for everybody now is peace of mind that he is somewhere than when he falls, there are trained people there to help him, rather then one of us.
  8. Mr. Sluggo

    Mr. Sluggo Member

  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Let me give all of you four words of advice:

    Long term care insurance.

    My mother's 24/7 care, plus meds, comes to about $6,000 a month.

    She laughed off the idea of long-term care insurance when I suggested it when she was 80 or so.

    Seven years after her stroke, we have some serious financial issues on the horizon. Do you loved ones a favor and do some planning ... it ain't gonna get chepaer.
  10. bbnews60

    bbnews60 Member

    If/when you decide on a nursing home, stay on them.

    My grandmother was placed in one and as the closest relative in terms of distance. I checked in regularly and attended the weekly or monthly meetings to discuss her care.

    If those at the home think/know someone won't be checking in, that's when thing can go awry.
  11. Machine Head

    Machine Head Well-Known Member

    Lots of good advice so far.

    Look at facilities based on her needs. Some assisted care have transitional facilities so they can be in transitional care until they are medically cleared to move to the assisted living part of the facility.

    Go and look at places and listen to 21 when she says get the doctor involved. It can take the pressure off you and your sister.
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    My father's 80 and my mother's not far behind with the early stages of Alzheimer's.
    I believe the state allows me to leave them at a ER or fire station without fear of being prosecuted.
    That's what I'm couning on, anyway.
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