Feeling a little down

enjoyingspringMay 8, 2013

My 92 year old Mother recently had a heart attack, they discovered that she has "aortic stenosis", the main aortic valvue is nearly completely blocked and 8 of her arteries are blocked. There is nothing they can do for her because of her age, just give her medication. She has always been so fiersly independent I just hate to see her like this. The strange thing is, is that she never had any indication of a heart problem until the heart attack, you would think that to have so many blockages that she would have had some symptons.

She is still in her own home, my brother and I take turns looking after her needs, she does not want anything to do with a nursing home. We are at our wits end with worry.

Just needed to vent this, thanks for listening.

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So sorry to hear it. Let's face it, you are doing all that you can do. I have come to believe that keeping our elders happy is more important than keeping them safe, as long as it is not killing you in the process.

I'm sorry your mom is not doing well. My mom is 95, healthy for her age and also very independent. She had minor surgery on her hand (carpal tunnel) and I have been helping her more and more. It is so hard for her to accept help, but she has no choice. I dread the day when she needs a lot of help. She will be miserable.

I guess you just have to take each day as it comes. Thinking of you and Mom.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Having just recovered from a serious fall where I had many caregivers visiting me in my home.... I would hope that your area had some kind of "Senior Services" that would visit on a regular basis. In addition to my family helping, I had a social worker, nurses and therapists seeing me on the road to recovery. Very successfully, I might add! And in two months, exactly.

There are many programs available that will help keep seniors in their home which is so much more preferable to being in a nursing home. I hope that some are available to you and your Mom.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:01PM
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92? 95? How lucky you both are to have had your mom for so long and in seemingly good health. Count your blessings and enjoy each day as it comes. Enjoyingspring, there probably were some signs of this along the way and your mom just chalked it up as "getting older" God bless her for being able to be so independent all these years. I had a friend whose mom lived to be 101 and their biggest fear was that she would outlive the both of them and then who would take care of her. Enjoy her remaining time and consider it an honor to be able to be there for her in her time of need.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:02PM
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My mom is also 92 and living in her own home alone. She has all her wits about her, but her body is letting her down. She is easily tired and is coming to terms with giving up driving. Today I will take her to a store so she can buy cards. Tomorrow I will take her to her hairdresser and she will go out to lunch with a friend. She will be exhausted but she still has a will to live and a lively interest in everything. Sorry you are feeling down.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Get Help! There's no law that says you should exhaust yourself because Mom is afraid of change. It's also counter-productive. This stage could go on and on -- or not.

Worry never helped a thing! Exactly WHAT are you worried about? Can you get some of the services Nanny mentioned? Surely your mother doesn't want to be a burden to her 'kids'. (Guess you and your brother aren't exactly young-uns.)

The goal is to keep ALL of you as comfortable as possible.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:19PM
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Enjoyingspring, God bless you! I know something of how your mother feels about remaining in her home, not living in some kind of facility. It's more than resistance to change, it's loss of privacy, loss of dignity, so many things. Please do what nanny suggested and see what services might be available to your mother in her home.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:09PM
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((((enjoyingspring)))) It is hard when our parents age, isn't it? Hugs to all of you!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:10PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I know that I'm lucky. My mother is 90 now, but over ten years ago she decided, on her own, to move into an assisted living facility. I was home visiting at the time, and she simply asked me to go with her to visit a few places. She drove!

Once she made her decision, it was a 'done deal '. She's nearing the point where a real nursing home will be required and that change will be difficult for her.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 3:37PM
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There's something about the age of 92, I guess! My mom is also this age and slowing down considerably. She has to take Ocicodone around the clock for her restless legs, (nothing else works anymore and they are bad,) so it's hard to say how much of the fatigue is her and how much is her medication. She is also in her own home and up to last year she was fretting hugely about keeping up the garden--it's basically 'unkeepable' without a gardener, whom she will only use to mow. It's sad to see her not care about the weeds anymore. Talking her into once-a-month and now twice-a-month cleaning was a big deal. She's always been VERY independent since my dad died many years ago, but recently she's been happy to let my sister do much for her; I'm very lucky my sister lives so close as our other sister and I live a state away.

If your mom is agreeable, I'd definitely hire someone from a well-know organization for some care-giving to save you physically and mentally. My sisters and I feel we're on the edge of needing to force mom into a "home," but the idea makes her very sad. It's almost like her house has become as beloved as a spouse. I too feel most fortunate to have had her this long! As my dad used to say, it's the sh*ts, getting old.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Rhizo, you are so lucky your mom made the choice to go to assisted living. I wish my mother had done that. It would make such a difference to have her where she would be taken care of if the need arises, and take the burden off the family. The time to move to one of those places is before you need it. We should all learn from her example.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:39PM
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I too am sorry to hear of your mothers ailment. My Dad is also (well almost) 92 and two weeks ago moved him to my home. As much as I love him, it is so very difficult. He has always been extremely active and drove up until Easter this year. We are not sure why his health suddenly tanked, but in the last week is almost back to normal and has NO desire to live anywhere but here. I could not have made it through this without outstanding home nursing care. They have made this so much easier for my DH and I. I don't know all the circumstances regarding your mother but please reach out for some help as it is so important for not only her but for you as well. It is so easy to get wrapped up in doing your best for your parent that you end up neglecting yourself, your other loved ones, your home etc. Get some help for all of your sake.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:47PM
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Gosh my mom is a youngster - she is "only" 84 and still going strong. But I feel for you and your concerns. It is so hard to know what and how much to do for them. My mom has made it clear that she wants to keel over on the 9th hole (she doesn't play 18 anymore) and I hope she gets her wish.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:21PM
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We do have some home care coming Mon, Wed and Fri, only for an hour to help her bathe otherwise she is on her own. My Mother drove her car up until she had this heart attack.

As someone said, their home almost becomes as important as their spouse. My Mother just loves her house with all her "things", I just feel very said if she has to leave it.

Thanks for all your advice and similar stories, it is nice to know that I am not the only one in this situation.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:59PM
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It is hard to see our loved ones, to whom we looked up, many years ago, and, often, more recently, as they deteriorate before our eyes.

And as we contemplate the future ... being without them ... it is hard to bear.

I hope that you will find grace to let it happen, and help where you can, without overdoing it or becoming too upset.

We rejoice in new births ... and to see young people grow in knowledge and emotional situations as well as size ...

...but our deterioration and finally departure, in physical terms, is part of the bargain, as well.

((((((enjoying spring ... and Mom and family))))))

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 3:48PM
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Nicely said, OJ.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 6:45PM
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enjoyingspring -- I'd say you need to up the home care, if you can afford it. I doubt your mother wants you feeling 'chained' to her or worried about her every moment she is alone. She does not have to love a caretaker to manage to tolerate one -- for YOUR sake.

My widowed maternal grandmother lived with my mother and me from age 60 to her death in her nineties. My mother was a RE broker. When I married and left home, Mom had to overcome Grandmother's resentment about having a housekeeper -- and her Scot's *frugality* about paying someone. She just had to adjust, and she did. (It was harder keeping help who would put up with her.)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Both my parents are still with us, 86 and 82 respectively. My mother has wanted to go into a residence for years, my father wants to be buried in the back yard in 15 years or more. The big " argument " is the move. Mom's doctors, and she has about 8 of them, told her she needs full time care 2 years ago. Dad doesn't trust anyone and anyone we get into help quits after the first few visits. Mom is demanding of all of us I believe as a ploy to get Dad to change his mind. Only 1 of the 3 of us brothers live in the same city, my other brother and I live about an hours drive away. The brother that lives in town is left with the brunt of the driving them to appointments and shopping etc. He lived on the west coast for the last dozen years and I tell him it's his turn, he ready to move back I believe.

I try as much as possible but am at a point where I think we are enablers if they can depend on everything from us when it comes to our 86 year old alcoholic father. I knows he's afraid to move because his drinking and access to alcohol will be limited. Please don't suggest AA he knows he hasn't a problem, having been raised in Europe it is normal to have a drink with everything and celebrate with a shot for any reason from eating breakfast to getting the mail. Rather then to enjoy them in their golden years we have become resentful of them and cringe when they call because I know they need something. I am dealing with my own physical issues from an athletic career, a pituitary tumor, bladder cancer and Diabetes if that's not enough at 58 and simply end up paying someone to do the things my father can't but need to be there as he will drive them nuts if I'm not. My wife loves them both but is also resentful knowing their demands adversely effects my health badly then she has to deal with me belly aching about it all. Maybe I should go into the retirement residence instead, I like that idea!

I give up and feel guilty about it.

Wow that feels better. Thanks.

This post was edited by SouthernCanuck on Fri, May 10, 13 at 13:20

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 1:11PM
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I'm so sorry, spring.

I cared for my 86-year-old friend for the last months of her life;
she too had major heart & artery blockages,
but I don't think she, or I, believed the doctors when they said "6 months, tops".

She was just functioning too well.

But her heart was working itself too hard to keep up that functioning, & the time came when it just exhausted itself.
The decline, at the very end, was pretty fast;
it was like,
everything's fine,
everything's fine,
everything's fine,
where'd that brick wall come from?

My free advice to your mother and to you is to consult with attorneys to be sure that she's covered all the bases as far as staying at home/going to a nursing home, when to go to a nursing home or hospital if at all, calling the ambulance or not calling it, burial or cremation arrangements, *including a contract with a service provider & the paying of the funds to that provider*, will, power of attorney & when it is to take effect, medical power of attorney & when it is to take effect, do not resusitate order (dnr), dnr to be effective if she's not in a hospital (they post it above her bed), physicians' directive, etc.

Since Sally stayed at home & used hospice, I'll also throw this in:
you can't take it for granted that hospice is the answer or has the answer to all questions.

They will assign a nurse, social worker, aide, etc.

The thing that you have to guard against is their tendency to assume that they know best, *& that they are entitled to make decisions*.

For instance, when a new medication gave my friend some very bad side effects including hallucinations, I had to battle the nurse to get her to even talk to the doctor about it (nurse's comment: "it's the natural progression of the disease", doctor's comment "yes, this medication does have some bad side effects; we usually start with a strong dose & then reduce it when the patient starts hallucinating").

& the first social worker she had tried everything in her power to get my friend into a nursing home, even though the reason my friend was using hospice was to guarantee that she could die in the home she'd lived in for 55 years!

I'm sorry;
I've babbled.

My main message is that, regardless of how well your mother is functioning now, her heart is 92 years old & it's doing a job that it *cannot* keep on doing.

Be sure that your dear mother doesn't arrive at the point at which she can't get things done & regret, or be frightened about, the things that aren't already done.

I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 5:00PM
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Great advice from everyone, thank you.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 7:32AM
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