I'm soooooooo confused now more than ever now what do I do

mikeandbarbSeptember 30, 2008

I called the nursing home to see how my dad is doing today and they said he's fine but really wants to talk to you and is very worried about me. So I caved in and talked to him, I could tell by his voice that he's really stressed out, his voice is hoarse from crying so much. I asked if I should come over to see him and they said it would be ok.

His mind seems clear as any normal person and to top it off I got to talk to the person in charge of the home and she said she wandered why he was even in this home. She said I'm no doctor but he does not seem like someone with dementia.

So I told her of his problems one being that his potassium being really low or completely depleted.

So what does one do in this case. The thing's that dad has done or does isn't clear thinking full time but when his mind is clear there's no problem.

Do I find another home for him say assisted living? He still has the problem of take medicine he does not need, flowmax and he's had problems with taking new medicines not remembering when to take them. He once lost his high blood pressure medicine and he keeps all his medicine on the kitchen table and he's the only one at home, all I do is fill them once a month.

I need more help with what dad needs are, where the heck do I turn?

Thanks, Barbara

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The person in charge of the home may only have business experience with little or no medical experience. Please don't let her opinion worry you. Your father might be her first experience with someone with slight dementia. She may not realize that they can seem perfectly normal at times and then within minutes be unable to think clearly.

Anyone, such as your father, that cannot seem to understand the need to take medicines as prescribed, needs to be where there are qualified people to administer those medicines to him. He needs to be watched for unusual side effects.

The most unfortunate side to your father's condition is that it is really impossible to say how much of his problem is due to medication.....either too much or not enough...and how much is really dementia. Even Alzheimer patient can, in the early stages, have periods where they seem completly normal. Their true status can change quickly.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 10:14PM
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Talk to his doctor. Get his opinion and go from there. Is one of the new medicines something to help with the dementia? Maybe it's working where assisted living would be adequate.
When we checked into assisted living, they gave the people their medicine and made sure they took it. They contacted the family if any changes in personality or problems of any kind. AL facilities offer different things. After talking to the doctor and AL is recommended, then check them out.
Don't put guilt on your shoulders, you have enough responsibility already there.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 10:49PM
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Barbara, I know what you're going through. Any transition is going to be hard on your father. His adjustment to his new circumstances will take time, and he may never "like" his situation.

Going back to your earlier posts, you seemed pretty positive about this facility. Has anything happened to make you change your mind?

It's obvious that your father cannot manage his medications himself. Nor can he manage his general physical care. So he needs to be in a place that will administer his medications and check him for swelling, etc. AL's do manage meds but they usually don't do more than check blood pressure if ordered by a doctor. They don't perform the thorough medical oversight of a skilled nursing facility or special care unit. They have a larger staff to resident ratio, so some resident concerns are overlooked or not noticed. In a more intimate setting, the residents get more attention.

I know all the crying is tearing you up inside. But you are doing a good thing for him, getting him care. It may not be the ideal situation in his eyes, but you really are taking good care of him. Don't panic and rush to change circumstances. Take your time.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 11:56PM
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Lynn, I wish dad had a good doctor but the one he goes to is a quack. This doctor could care less about helping my dad in fact his doctor gives my dad ANY medication he ask for. I don't know of a good doctor to take dad to. How does one go about finding a good doctor?
Dads heart doctor could not or would not look me in the eyes when he was talking to me after dads surgery, this left me with an uneasy feeling.
Yesterday left me with a panic feeling that I've done wrong placing dad in a memory care center but knowing what I've gone through with him and knowing how he is at home I know he still needs help and does not need to be home alone. There is a lady that holds meetings at this home once a week I have gone to meeting that she holds at a church but I want to go to the meetings at the home to ask questions of the ones that have loved ones in this home what their views are of this home. Fran said it's a good place that is what lead me to place dad in this one.
There is a man at this home that pee's everywhere and he looks like he has a metal problem rather than a memory problem. What can I say or do about this?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 4:59AM
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First you need to settle down a little. You did do the right thing, your dad needs more help now. As for the doctor most nursing homes have their own doctors that come in, you need to find out about this since this doctor would be more familiar dealing with older patients. Second, go to the home and talk to some of the other family members, find out names of doctors they use and what the family thinks of them. That way you will have choices.
With his problems he can be "right on" one moment and totally out of it the next, you need to understand this as it then makes it easier to deal with. In your dad's case it is his memory, in my brothers case it is PD, but in both cases one moment dead on, the next can't do a thing.

As for the guy that pee's everywhere you need to not worry about him, the home is aware and will deal with him. I am sure he does not have a clue what he is doing, there again, try to find out more about him, who he was before, what he did, talk to his family...........why? because it will help you to understand what a pity it is that this man is now in a state of mind that he does not even know what or why he is doing things. Bet he was not like that before.........at least I hope not.

I guess I am just trying to say that as hard as this is you have done everything right for the safety of your father, do not second guess yourself every step of the way or you will end up in the bed next to your dad well before your time.

Hang in there, trust in yourself as well as God.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Dealing with AL homes can be a nightmare. I am sending you hugs for your decisions. Here in ND we are so lucky with the quality of places available and the help. In most of them they give the meds, sometimes the cost of doing so is built into the monthly fees, sometimes extra. They have several great units and those in the units can be changed to other rooms/areas depending on the level. As to the DR. talk to the supervisor of the home, relatives of other clients, volunteer people and I am sure you will find the right DR. As to his heart DR--look him in the eyes and ask him to give you the right/correct/ decision. Tell him you ARE NOT a child and you deserve adult answers. Some Dr's, especially specialty ones seem to forget us humans need simple and positive answers.
As to the man who pees all over, let the supervisor know this makes you very uncomfortable and it spread germs. Here if it is not controllable, they make the family find a facility that handles these types of problems. Or maybe it is not as bad as it appears to be.
Are there any support groups you can attend? Or does the AL organization have a person/or group you can attend/talk to.
I wish you the best. Remember YOU can only do so much and sometimes we need to talk to a Higher power for strength.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 6:31PM
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Barb, something just occured to me. You speak of how dissatisfied you are with his doctor and then you mentioned his heart doctor. He has two?? Perhaps this may be one of the problems with medication. Doctors seldom if ever disagree to the family about the type of medication, even when they don't like it.

I would talk to his heart doctor and ask him if he can suggest someone else to take "The Quack's" place. It should be someone that he regularly works with. Also, the home may have a list of physicians that see a lot of their patients. Tell them that you are thinking about getting someone else to treat him. See what they suggest.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 7:36PM
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I know it's me but I would take the recommendation for a doctor from my mother's care facility with a grain of salt. I don't have confidence in them.
Doctors do not like to express opinions on medicine prescribed by another doctor in order to avoid any confrontation. I discussed my husband's condition with the cardiologist and flat out said I need help. Was any of the medicine he was on contributing to my husband's mental status. Got an opinion and medication was changed by me. I weaned him off the methadone to half of what he was taking. We now have conversations, less depression where he laughs now, and doesn't stay in bed all the time.
I'd approach the doctor even if an appointment has to be made to discuss your father's condition. Ask him how to find a good geriatric doctor and can he recommend any? Sad but I find for specialists, starting with a compliment such as, "I appreciate so much everything you have done but I need your expertise." Then go into the questions.
Right now your dad is safe. Let go of beating yourself. List the info you know as to his needs. List his medicines and look them up on the internet at webmd or another site to look at the use and side effects. Then go see his cardiologist with info in hand.
When you have all the info, including the results of him seeing another doctor, then you can make decisions, change any medicine, have him put on anything to help with the dimentia, place him somewhere else but where he has supervision or whatever.
Until you have all the info, quit blaming yourself for trying to help him. You did the best you could with what you knew
It's alright to cry. If that doesn't release some of the stress, take a broom and beat the stew out of a rug!
Take care

    Bookmark   October 1, 2008 at 10:08PM
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Thank you all for your support it means the world to me. I've always been the type to beat myself up for not knowing how to do the things just right.
It would not be so bad if dad's mind wasn't clear as a bell right now.
His abuse of his medicine is a real concern for me. I got a call from him today saying he needs his antibiotic for his sinus, well he'll only take one or two and he says it cures his sinus. You and I know this isn't so and even if it does help it's short term, taking the antibiotics like that can cause harm but no one can get this through to my dad.
I have had so many problems with doctors in my past that I don't trust them easily.
It was me that saved my husband from a possible stroke, his blood pressure was high and I could tell when it was up but with the sleep apne he had to take showed how bad it was. They could not get it down all night so I marched into our dr.'s and told them about this and they looked back at his chart and seen that it was high everytime he went in for a check up. Now why don't they pay more attention to this?
This is why I fear looking for yet another doctor. I have no luck with them.

Only once did I have a wonderful doctor and within a year my insurance changed and he didn't take it :(
He was the one that listen to me about my weight and took test finding that my thyroid was bad. I went through years with a sore throat and my throat closing up at night in my sleep, waking up unable to breath for 10 or so seconds but felt longer and didn't know if I'd get my breath.

If it's wasn't for y'all I don't know if I'd be able to be strong for my dad. I never knew it could be so hard. I look at pictures of my grandparents, dads parents and talk to them and wishing they were here. They had a hard life and I can just image that they went through just what I am now.
They took care of my great grandmother for 17 years then told my grandmothers brother it was time for him to care for his mother and give them a break.
Great grandmother was called little granny and I never seen pictures of her but heard great stories about her, I found a picture of her the other day and I'm so happy to finally seen her, she past away a few years before I was born.
Sorry for being long winded.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 12:52AM
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"His abuse of medicine is a real concern for me"

That says it all in a nutshell, he is in the right place, his meds will be controlled and he might actually do better because of this. His mind might be clearer because he is not over medicating, but he still needs to be there for this very reason. When one first goes to a home they go through a "grieving" process for the life they can no longer have, but over time they adjust to their new surroundings and it becomes their new way of life.

Hang in there darlin', you are doin' everything right.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 7:06AM
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Thank you Linda you've been a great support to me and I appreciate your insight into my situation.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2008 at 10:03AM
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I didn't read all the replies, but in case no one has mentioned it, you need to ask for a care meeting. It is usually held with the head nurse over the home and the nurse of the patient's unit. I did that for my husband and it took care of all the things I complained about. They fired on aide.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2008 at 10:50PM
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