New to this forum, have ???'s. VERY long

powderooJune 26, 2011

I have privately worked for years as an assistant to an elderly couple. Household & staff management only, no personal care. However, they are at the very top end of elderly. I've figured my duties out on the fly & have no problems w/ my job.

However, my 72 year old mother fell 2 weeks ago & broke both her femurs. Prior med history...pacemaker, 2 hips replaced 6/7 years ago, 1 knee replaced 5 years ago, feet are bad (difficulty walking, wearing shoes) and other knee was looking at being replaced next year. Overweight, single & lives 5/6 hours away from me, but highly motivated.

I am receiving very little info re the rehab process as no one seems to know right now. Surgeon has been great w/ me, just doesn't know. Understandable.

Except, 2 days after her fall I signed, under POA, for her to go into a subsidized seniors unit which she had chosen and was booked into before the fall. I instructed the movers not to unpack as it is on the second floor of a large, interconnected building w/ 1 "lift". I really am not sure she will ever go there.

And, a friend of my Mum's took it upon herself to look after Mum's animals (1 dog, 2 cats) without my prior knowledge. However, Mum's dog was one she was fostering & Mum's friend returned it to the rescue agency. Mum was in the process of adopting it when she fell and begs me not to let her dog go. I will not take the dog as it is a "disturbed" rescue dog & I have 4 of my own that I refuse to be bullied by this dog.

I don't know where to go next with all of this. I know that I have to inform the housing unit that Mum may never go into the apartment, I know I have to inform Mum that she may lose her apt & her dog.

When do you do this? How do you do this? I don't know if I should take a day off this week, drive down & put it on the line, or hold off to keep her in good spirits.

It's her body that's broken, not her mind. Though she doesn't like to hear anything unpleasant. As she said to me this week..."My job is to get better. I don't want to talk about anything else" Well, as I am the only family member she has...that puts everything on me. I had 2 brothers, but they died in a car accident 20 years ago, her parents are dead, no uncle, no nothing, so I am it.

I just don't know what to do next. My net searches of 2 broken femurs turns up a 23 year old cheerleader and a football player.

Can anyone give me an idea of how to handle this? I'd never ask, but I'm lost.

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Her fall was two weeks ago. Where is your mother now? When did she have surgery? Is she still hospitalized? Is she in a rehab facility? If so, have you spoken to the staff?

It sounds like you really need to make the trip just to find out what the situation really is. You don't seem to have enough information to make any decisions. And until you know more, you probably should not say anything to your mother or the senior apartment.

You definitely need to be aggressive about getting information from every person and institution involved with her care.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 9:44PM
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With all your mom's prior problems medically, she is going to have a rough recovery at best. My mom broke her femur few years back when she was about 84 & in good health except high BP which she controlled. She went into rehab which put everyone in diapers if they couldn't get up & walk into the bathroom.(If she could do that she wouldn't need to be there). That brought on number of infections & catheter & finally after 27 days I took her out of there.She was starting to go downhill, dad was healthy & I lived near them, she got well fast at home off the meds. Your mom will require rehab place not just nursing home. At rehab they work with getting them walking again & that is your mom's best hope of living alone again. If she didn't walk well before this happened it will be tough but if she is stubborn she may surprise you. Anyway your job now is to find out what shape she is actually in right now & then go to see her once a month if possible or oftener. The apt has to be on hold until you see if she is even going to be getting up out of bed. Assisted living means they can get some help from time to time but mostly it is so they get meals down in dining hall & there is someone available to call for help. If she can't get around then she will have to go into nursing home after rehab. Out here the hospital usually tells you what is going to happen next, you don't have much say. If surgery was 2 weeks ago she should be sitting up in bed, alert, able to eat on her own, & sitting in chair out of the bed part time, but because it is both legs that will be so much more difficult as they usually have you stand on the "good leg(that wasn't broke)-she doesn't have a good leg. Find out if they were total breaks or fractures, if hairline much better outcome as a little weight can go on it. I doubt that she will be walking in any fashion for some time 1-3 mos. If her casts are plaster or soft, or no casts all makes a difference. You need to get a good outline of what to expect for next few months from her dr. & hospital. Signing was a big mistake & probably need a lawyer to get her out of that & her stuff put in storage or sold. Did they pressure you? How did you sign without being there? Best to handle it now as it will just get worse if you wait. Might be able to get out of it as you were under duress ! Good Luck!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 10:46PM
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Thank you both. The fall was on Tues June 14, surgery was on Fri June 17. As she lives in a small town she was moved to a larger city (4 hours from me) where she had surgery. She is still there but will be moved to a rehab hospital as soon as the incisions stop "weeping". She is sitting up,eating on her own & is being placed in a chair (using a lift) for a few hours a day.

I'll find out for sure if they are breaks or fractures; though I was with her after the surgery when the surgeon was describing what he did & he said "Mrs T., those were pretty nasty breaks...". There are no casts (hard or soft)

I had taken a fast trip to her home on Thurs the 16 and that's when I signed her lease for the subsidized apt. I went ahead with this as it was Mum's wishes that she not lose her place in the building, and also because she had to be out of her apt that coming weekend.

I also took a fast round-trip to see her this past Tuesday to discuss some financial issues but had decided to leave the apt & dog conversations for another time.

My plan was to go & see her once a week (Tues is my day off) but the trip leaves me exhausted for the balance of the week. May have to rethink that.

The staff at the hospital has been good about answering my questions; they just have no definitive answers either. Perhaps I'll have more info once she is moved to rehab.

I can put off informing the seniors housing complex for a little while longer, but also feel that I need to be honest with them ASAP.

Thank you for your great info & for giving me a few things to think about.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 7:35AM
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With her health problems, I doubt if the usual senior housing will be enough. It may be that some sort of assisted living will be needed for a good while after the rehab hospital. You need to start looking for such a place. Maybe nearer to your home.

You said that she is still active mentally. She should be able to figure out that things may be a lot different now. And what she had planned may not be the best way to go.

These will not be pleasant times for either of you. The best choice will be the one that would last the longest.

I don't think the usual senior retirement home would be in her interest now. A lot would depend on what they would be able to do for her. Perhaps a long talk with their management would help you make up your mind. At any rate, it may be that if she requires a lot of help getting around, they may refuse to take her. It depends on the home and how they are staffed. My experience with them is limited. I know that there are a couple in my area that are little more than regular apartments with age restrictions. She will need more than that.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:30AM
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