What do I say to her?

Pearl53April 18, 2005

Today I took my Mother to the doctor to get the paperwork and necessary tests for putting her in the nursing home. She got upset and did not want a chest xray. It took quite a bit of talking to get that done. When they pricked her arm she hollered several times. Said we were trying to do something to her and that she didn't give permission for that to be done. She had blood work done a couple of weeks ago and hardly said a word about it. The doctor gave me the necessary paperwork and I am ready to put her in but how do I do it without upsetting her?

My nerves are frazzled. I am feeling physically sick and ready to throw up. The nursing home is waiting on her and wondering why I didn't bring her today. She seems completely confused today for some reason. Talking to herself about all sorts of things. Why couldn't this have all gone smoothly? I feel like I am being put through a torture test. For what?

I am hoping she will be in a different frame of mind tomorrow morning but what if she isn't? How do you tell an elderly person you are taking them and putting them in a nursing home? Mother is very smart and senses when she isn't being told things. So I don't know what to do.


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Tell her honestly that this will be her NEW home now because she needs more help with everyday things. She will pout & maybe throw a temper trantrum BUT you have to deal with her like you would a 3yr old.

When we had to put my MIL in the nursing home she was all upset at 1st but we told her she needed more help than any of us could provide. Took her to see her new room & all was well until that nite & we went thru it again.. Went thru this for 2 days..

Homecare staff were quite honest & just said move her & let it drop. Wish we had of listened to them..

We brought along her favorite things & in a couple days she settled right down.

Wish there was an easier way.. Lots of luck!!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 7:19PM
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Pearl, I can only imagine how difficult this is for you...I wish I could send some concrete insight...perhaps you can tell her this is temporary, and that you need some rest and see how it progresses from there? Would she understand if you told her you were worn out and it was affecting your work? The fact that you are almost physically sick from this is not good, and can't be healthy for either you or your Mom. When you look at the possible outcome for your Mom, what does your heart tell you to do? I wish I could be of more help...I am dealing with this issue also...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 7:31PM
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Trying to explain in a way that she will accept is impossible. The easiest way is simply to put her in the car and drive. When you get there, tell her that you want her to go in with you and then introduce her to everyone. Don't even mention the words "Nursing Home." They will know what to do to get her settled. Take a days change of clothing in a little bag. Then, tomorrow take her things. Don't stay long. Maybe even make two or three short visits instead of one long one.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 7:33PM
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Here when someone is put in the Home, the family is advised to NOT visit for any where from 2 weeks to a month. That way, the staff can work directly with the person and it seems to work quite well.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 7:58PM
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I agree with PeeBee4 - don't tell her anything. If she understands, she'll be furious, and probably won't go with you, and it's she's confused, it won't matter what you tell her. The staff at the nursing home is well equipped to deal with her, just smile, help her settle in, and go home and have a good cry - the shower is a good place for that.

As far as visiting - see what the staff suggests, but trust your instincts, too. And make them special visits - bring lunch, or cookies for everyone, or take her out for a walk or a drive to a favorite place and a meal. Just don't take her home, at least not for a while. Make sure all her friends know where she is and encourage them to visit, too.

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly she settles in and feels at home. That was the hardest thing for my father to adjust to when my mom went into the nursing home.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 8:05PM
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Pearl, whatever happens, do it tomorrow.... nothing is forever, and if you don't try (with all this fantastic advice you've gotten here), you'll never know. If you give it two wekes and it doesn't work, then back to the drawing board. But start out tomorrow AM knowing that this is the day to do it!

ANd know that there are some great friends here to back you up.


    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 9:46PM
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I don't know -- I think I would have a hard time just putting her in the car, driving her to a new place, and more or less dropping her off without much of an explanation. I think I would just say something like "the doctor thinks you should go into a rest home for a while." "Rest home" is a term that many elderly folks use, I've noticed. It seems less harsh than "nursing home." But don't phrase it so she would have an opportunity to say no.

Getting her there will be the most difficult part. Once she is there, she will probably acclimate quickly. In her confused state, she may forget that she didn't always live there.

Is there anyone from the nursing home who could come out to your house and help to ease the transition? A social worker, perhaps? Surely they've dealt with this sort of scenario before.

Sometimes we do have to lie to our parents when they get to this stage. I found that one of the hardest things, because I was brought up with the fear of God in me and I NEVER lied to my parents. No matter how old we are, we are still their children and those values that are ingrained in us and have served us well are hard to override.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2005 at 10:30PM
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Pearl, having just gone thru this a week ago, I just want you to stay strong: for your Mom, your Dad and your family.
Unfortunate as it is, they can't make the proper decisions now, and it's up to us to make them safe in a place with staff who are trained to care for them, and who have been through this with many families before. Trust them.

Just tell her exactly what the other gals here suggested: that her doctor wants her to get more help with her health, wants her to get a good rest. Don't tell her it's temporary: just say it's up to the doctor, who knows best what she needs. By all means, visit her in the next few days. Bring favourite things, photos, her favourite comforter from her bed (makes it also easier for her to find her own bed), her pillow, afghan...anything that you feel will support her emotionally and physically. Visit at different times (lunch times to see if she can feed herself, what the food is like, for instance), observe how other residents are treated by the staff...Yes, she'll rant and rail against her transition, but when you see her finally settle down and interact with the staff and other residents, you'll know you made the right decision. I can't for the life of me understand how some homes suggest family stay away for a while! That, imho, tantamounts to dumping them off...! Try not to be anxious during your visits: be up-beat, tell her how much better she'll feel soon, and that with Mother's Day coming, going out to brunch with her will be wonderful, or, having a celebration there, if that's what the rest-home plans. Your being anxious and worried will be picked up by her, and you want to avoid that. Smile even if you're crying inside: been there done that, and I know it hurts so much.

Don't back down: like I said before, this is not irreversible: if it doesn't work out in a couple of months....ah...it will! You're doing what's best for HER, that's what's important here: we have to stay strong.

Blessings, Pearl

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 9:51AM
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Pearl... I don't know what to say. I'll probably be in your shoes within a few years. My heart goes out to you.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2005 at 10:28PM
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