Update - my mother is now in nursing home -long

garden_wenchApril 14, 2006

I had a previous post "my mother had a stroke - what are the choices for care" and thought I would post an update. She had fallen a few more times at home and I had said next time she falls call an ambulance. And she ended up in a hospital for a few days, then went to one of the better nursing homes in the area. Mentally she has good and bad days, the physical therapy isn't as intensive as the re-hab center but I don't think she can really get back on her feet. She was struggling with a walker before the stroke, but mentally she was sharp.

I now have power of attorney and it was emotional, writing that 1st check for her. And seeing her last entry in checkbook the day before she had the stroke was emotional also.

I know she never wanted to be in a nursing home but at least I know she is being well cared for 24/7 and it is a good place. She recently went to the hospital for evaluation and the CT scan was ok, and they changed her meds some. The Dr. phoned today at 6:15 am and I thought the worst, but it was just to tell me she was being discharged, and to answer questions. (that was another thing I didn't expect, her regular GP doesn't see her anymore) Basically she has some heart weakness now and the confusion is from scar tissue in the brain. I asked that she be walked more with her walker, which I wasn't sure was happening.

Assisted living is out because she has gone downhill some, can't check her own blood sugar etc.

I guess I am looking for ideas to make her life comfortable and happy. I am wondering what others did in this situation. I mean, honestly, this may sound silly, I'd like to get some nice comfortable clothes that are easy to put on and remove. She will need help with that, but ease of use would make life more pleasant.

I will have to arrange a phone and TV, now that she is in 'regular' part of home.

Dealing with the finances has been difficult, she could have been more open with me about things. I have to take care of this, on top of my own grief about the situation. But I am soldiering forward, and have come to accept that she has been really damaged by the stroke, and her life cannot go back to being close to what it was. I'm not happy about it, but I have come to accept it as an unhappy, cold, hard fact. Luckily, my husband has been very supportive, although he gets frustrated that there is something to deal with daily. I am trying to distract myself with some gardening projects, that and the nice weather has helped - but just a little.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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Oh my! I understand the roller coaster you're on, garden wench. Mum had a stroke in July 04 and is back home with me, mercifully. It's difficult to watch a parent struggle with things that used to be reasonably simple. It's difficult to be "in charge" of not only care and medical decisions, but finances, as well.

Clothing: pull on pants are WONDERFUL! I bought 4 pair of the pull on, stretch cordouroy ones that were in the Lands End catalogue last fall. Mum LOVES them; they wash and wear like a dream, and they fit her well. I had good luck with LL Bean in fall 04, buying slacks in a heavy-weight knit AND buying the coordinating tops, too. Mum has trouble with buttons, so I try to find things that pull over the head and have buttons as a pretty detail, or a pretty neckline/collar. I've had great luck at Eddie Bauer, too... lovely cotton sweaters and stretchy turtlenecks. I generally order 1 of something from a catalogue, once it's been tried on and receives the thumbs up I get right on line and order several. Buy things that will tolerate the industrial laundry service at a nursing home. Mum lives with me, so I am able to spend time with stain removal and the few "handle with care" items she has in her wardrobe.

I was trained as a tailor, and I sew for a living. I do all the required alterations myself, saving snippits of the fabric to take with me when I stop by a store. I'm able to match things and get wonderful bargains. I insist that Mum have socks that match her slacks, lol, I insist the woman who helps her bathe use them, too! Mum was very fashionable before her health crashed and I have maintained that aspect of her life for her. She has pretty scarves, nice accessories, and they are all there for the "bath lady" and Mum to peruse and choose. I have patterned things that she likes particularly well, and have made new ones for her in new and exciting fabrics.

I have found several stores where the saleshelp is patient and fun. I scout the stores for "good stuff" and then take Mum OUT, we go midweek when things are not very busy; we have a blast. I find shopping for shoes to be particularly trying. She is incredibly fussy, and she has to have "good, sensible shoes". I have to take her shoe shopping again, and I dread it.

I take her for a haircut every 4 weeks. She has great hair, and gets a stylish, short haircut (easy to maintain and style), and has her nails trimmed, shaped, and buffed. I refuse to allow her look "shaggy", sloppy, and "old". Even her eyeglasses are fashionable! and we have to address the need for some sunglasses, a new wallet, and a "user friendly" handbag, too. Ugh...

The helpmeet is often frustrated by our lack of freedom, too. But he is wonderful with Mum. I get her up in the morning, make sure she's washed and dressed and at the breakfast table. I usually see that she has taken her morning meds. and has her bowl of fresh fruit and a cup of tea/coffee (decaf. only). He takes over and prepares her an egg, pancakes, french toast, etc.. He returns home for lunch and sees that she has lunch with him. I'm home in the afternoon and see that she has a snack, water, and goes outdoors for exercise. I do the lion's share of her care (urostomy changes, and requisite daily maintenace), involving her as much as is practicable, but he is wonderful with her! good humored and patient beyond measure.

I have to do her finances tonight, as a matter of fact. It always seems worse than it turns out to be, but it does add an additional 1/2 hr. to what's already been a long day. I understand. Hang in there; you will find a way to make it all work, but it takes time, patience, and sense of humor.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 5:53PM
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My Mom is totally handcapped - think quadriplegic (although it is due to very advanced MS). She still lives at home with my Dad (he's 92) and help 24/7. I have found wonderful clothes for her on-line and have a favorite seller in my state.

just google 'handicapped clothing' ... Mom needs clothes that open down the back because it is impossible to get anyting over her head and you just can't manuever her if it buttons down the front

In addition, I sew (but not for a living) and have made her wrap skirts (when she was less disabled) and caftans (opens down the back)...I am making one soon for Mother's Day.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 6:57PM
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Thanks for your replies, it means so much to me to hear from others who are in a similar situation. It has been difficult, as I live 4 hrs away, but at least my aunts who live in same town as my mother are doing some things. Thanks for the suggestions. I believe it is important to keep getting the hair styled and other grooming also. I think some newer clothes might be a boost.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2006 at 7:20PM
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I didn't read all the responses, but with my 100 yr old MIL I use elastic waist skirts and easy to put on pullover type knit tops. We have given up on bras, she doesn't mind. She was a skirt wearer all her life, so that is not a change (I know lots of folks these days wear pants.) She is able to put the clothes on by herself, which I lay out for her on her walker as she is sitting on the can. I help her with her Depends-type under wear (Walmart equivalent). I also put her slippers on for her. She can't reach to do it herself. The reason I took up Yoga was to maintain my range of motion. The example of not having it was staring me in the face everyday when I looked at her.
I find that the cotton knit skirts from Lands End work fine.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 6:51PM
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Venting is why were here!

A friend told me this weekend that his grandmother recently entered a nursing home in which all residents are required to wear sweat suits. IÂd never heard of such a thing before, but it makes sense. Give your mom as much input as you can, and stay as close to her existing wardrobe as possible. Has your mom become one of the people who is always cold? I canÂt get my dad out of his jacket unless itÂs close to 90 degrees. He doesnÂt have many short-sleeved shirts now. We also found that clothes with big, floppy sleeves get soiled much more easily and may impair movement.

Not having time to grieve has been hard for me. My dad was officially diagnosed with AlzheimerÂs three weeks after my mother lost a long battle with cancer. Every downturn has been accompanied by so many things to do that IÂm not sure IÂve really processed whatÂs happened. You have to remember to take care of yourself, too. Designate a "mom-free" day every week. Join a support group. Pay someone else to cut your grass or clean your house. And do not feel guilty!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 1:31PM
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Scotland, I think the smartest thing I've done is to hire a woman to come in thrice weekly to help Mum bathe. She is reliable, unafraid of the dog (he's big and loud), and it's fun to see what outfit she and Mum select. Mum always looks so pretty when they're finished.

I deal with Mum's urostomy twice weekly and that's enough "intimacy"... I prefer knowing that someone else deals with bathing. Whenever there is a long weekend or a day off is requested I have NO problem stepping up to the plate. I spend a lot of time using the loofah, and making sure lotion gets on her back. I trim her toenails, fuss with her hair and try to make it "spa treatment".

gata, you are wise, indeed, to keep limber and moving. I'm fortunate in the respect that Mum is nimble and capable of great range of motion. She tends to "neglect" her left side, but she has control over it and the more she gets outdoors and KEEPS MOVING, the less the "neglect"! She can be pissy about getting outdoors routinely. I'm glad it's springtime now, makes it easier and more FUN for her. I looked out the window a few minutes ago and she is "bushwackin'"... cruising through the woods that fringe our property, lol. She's been checking on the progress of the ferns and the ephemeral native bulbs. Part of me wants her "stay on the lawn!" but what the hell?! If she is excited about going outdoors and continues to use the same cautious approach she's always demonstrated, then I'm NOT gonna say "musn't do that!". Life is for the living, and we have several paths in and around the yard. I'm Ok with it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 2:04PM
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Warm up suits are another good idea. There are some snazzy ones available. Unless you plan to take care of her laundry, make sure whatever you get can be washed with other things in a big washer with HOT water. Elastic waist skirts are easier to get on than pants. Skirts can be put on over the head. Sometimes stepping into pants can be a problem. Skirts are easier when going to the bathroom too.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 3:01PM
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