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Old 01-12-2011, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
3,294 posts, read 4,374,077 times
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I apologize if there is already a thread on this subject. I also apologize if I posted one in the past - I searched but couldn't find one.

My father, who is 85, has some dementia, mild incontinance, etc., and has steadily been getting worse for the past year or so. My brother could not handle his care anymore - I really thought I could and brought him to live with us a few months ago, but it is just too much stress on myself and my kids. Right now, he is in the hospital (nothing serious) and has been for a few days, and I know this sounds selfish, but it has been such a "weight" off of us. I have to make the decision now whether to go ahead and place him in long-term care or bring him back home here with us.

I love my Dad, and he was a good father, but in many ways, the "Dad" I had whose company I enjoyed, is long long gone. He just stares into space most days, complains about aches and pains, and apologizes for "messing" up the bathroom.

I would like to hear from people who finally made the decision to place their parent in a nursing home or assisted living facility, even if their parent would have preferred not to go.

What were the final "straws" or signs that persuaded you that it was the best thing for everyone concerned?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:13 PM
 
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
2,160 posts, read 3,113,167 times
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I know some "homes" have terrible reputations, but there are some good ones out there. My mother in law was placed in a home after her dementia became too dangerous for her to be alone. When we visited I was amazed to see how happy she finally was, she felt safe, had a "boyfriend", was on a welcoming committee and had people who really took care of her. For her it's been a good experience, hopefully your Dad will be comfortable too.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:31 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
16,472 posts, read 31,224,125 times
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Ask the social worker on his floor for recommendations. To be placed directly from a hospital, even if into rehab place, is usually easier than bringing a person home and then trying to place him. And rehab may be appropriate and be able to him him and you have him at home again. But call first thing tomorrow to get the ball rolling. It also makes a difference in Medicare payments, to go straight from the hospital - or maybe to qualify, can't remember.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:10 AM
 
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Wow.. I feel your pain! We had to put my Gram in this year.... and she did that thing for years where she swore up & down she would never go into a home..... well, guess what.. if you live long enough and start losing it.. your closest family members or those who take care of you get to make those decisions. And some put their parent on a redestal like you shoudl sacrifice everything for them... well, guess what-- it "ain't all about them".. and that's OK!... everyone's needs are equally important. No one would have to be a martyr or sacrifice their own lives just because your parents/grandparent doesn't want to go into a home. It's something we all have to accept.. try to prepare for it, if you are financially sound enough to have some choices, then plan ahead of time what you want before others have to decide for you, when it's too late. If you don't have financial means, then realize whatever happens happens. That's life.. and we don't always get the perfect happy ending.
As for you- the caretaker & one who has to make the awful decision... give yourself some credit and know that your Dad is lucky he has someone to care about him!
But to answer your question... I would say the signs are there:
dementia/confusion (when they become danger to themselves & others and need to be watched constantly, not just occasionally.. and are needing help with every day tasks), incontinence, their old personality is largely gone, when they can no longer drive, if they are having health issues they need more immediate support with (instead of many long, traumatic & expensive trips to the ambulance).... I would say that's mostly it. What did it for us is that G got sick a few times and kept having to be rushed to the hosp.... so one of the last times, we just took her to the home & that was it. Much better if they are already there if/when they need help.
Also the structured social activities are good for them, physical therapy, etc... as opposed to staring into space, or watching endless hours of TV.
DO NOT feel guilty-- the whole thing sucks and it's hard but you are not being selfish!! People who attempt to take care of a parent at all costs often get severe burnout- and it's a strain on their family/marriage, their health, and they are not happy & neither is the parent, who feels like a burden. Once they have their basic needs being cared for by professional, that doesn't mean YOU can't still care for them! You will have much more energy to go visit, bring them their favorite food, books, pictures..., maybe take them out, and just sit with them & listen (you'll be doing a lot of that). Trust me that can be exhausting & depressing too..... but at least you can leave and go back to your life!
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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I think the biggest question is - can your parent afford to be put in an assisted living, or long term care facility?

Its not like an unwanted puppy that you can simply drop off at an animal shelter - there has to be a way to pay for the care. That might mean medicaid, or a ltc policy. It will not mean medicare, as medicare only pays for the first 20 (maybe 30, my apologies, its been a year since we needed to use this) days at a rehab center and then a diminishing amount for the next 80 days (100 total/year).

Medicaid will pay for Nursing/LTC type places, but only if the patient is medically determined to need it.

And of course - the patient has to qualify for medicaid.

That's not to say that you have to take care of your parent for the rest of your life, that's a personal decision to make. But besides the emotional implications, there are serious finanical implications as well.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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I take care of My mother who was diagnosed (pretty early) with dementia she has had it for 8yrs now- she is going to be 78. Only in the past 2yrs it has become full blown she has Severe dementia now, she cannot speak and is literally like a 3yr old child. almost 2yrs ago my sisters talked me into putting her into a home in Greenwich CT. this was a cream of the crop facility, Very hard to get into etc. they grotesquely drugged her up and alot of horrors I came across, Needless to say I took my mom out of there in 2wks and will never look back. Yes it is VERY hard for me and I needed to adjusted my life and lifestyle (I am only 41) But I will do it. Even one of the nurses told me with severe dementia no one can care for you then your own family. This is a decision that only you yourself can make from your heart. Good luck
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:57 AM
 
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I think the decision has to sit with every family. We have my mom and I thank God everyday for how stingy my father was when I was growing up (he saved and invested every other paycheck) because I can hire help to help us care for her.

The short time in the nursing home after the stroke was enough to open my eyes, but I cannot judge any one for making that decision. It is still very very tough on us and my mother has two live-in caregivers who alternate duties.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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My mom lived on her own until she was about 81. I lived across the street and took her dinner every night and did her other shopping for her. My brother and I shared taking her to doctor visits and hair appointments. We visited an assisted living place once and she did NOT want to go there.

I was worried about her eating enough because she only ate what I took her and not much of that. She barely bathed or changed her clothes. My husband and I talked and were on the verge of moving into a bigger house so that she could move in with us. When I told her that, a light seemed to go on for her and she said she was ready to move to the assisted living place. This was about 1 year after our original visit.

She did move there and that worked well for about a year. Then, though, the staff was telling us that she wouldn't go downstairs to eat or really get out of her room at all. I would take her snacks and she was living off of those--primarily cheese and crackers and Hershey's kisses. She ended up getting a urinary tract infection that landed her in the hospital. It became clear that it was her dementia that was keeping her from eating real meals and doing her other self care. Even if I called her and said "It's lunchtime, you need to go eat" she couldn't remember long enough to actually go.

When she was released from the hospital I found a private residential home run by an R.N. The owner takes care of 4 elderly women and they receive nursing-home level care. It's expensive, but not as expensive as a nursing home. My mom will stay there until her funds run out (approx. 5 years, I hope) or until she passes away. She receives excellent care there.

To the OP--it's never an easy decision, but there are good places out there where elderly people receive warm, loving care. When your parent is receiving care from someone else, you're free to visit, take them out, laugh with them and love them without feeling the resentment that often comes with being a caregiver. If you decide it's time, find the best place you can and don't beat yourself up over the decision.

If you're looking at nursing homes, medicare.gov has some excellent information and rates homes. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:05 PM
 
3,392 posts, read 8,134,500 times
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I will say one thing. The days of transferring assets to avoid loosing it all to go on medicaid are long past.

Medicare only covers so many days in a nursing home after a qualifying hospital visit. When we were fixing the house up to accomodate my mother, a basic decent nursing home cost us $160 a day. (And that is in the southeast where rates are lower)

I probably pay close to that to have unqualified (but I don't need certified staff; I trained them) help living in my home when you take into account taxes (I pay SSec and Medicare and state unemployment) and room and board as well as workmen's comp (not required to pay but think it is a good investment to protect assets)............
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
3,197 posts, read 6,037,185 times
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When I placed my ex into an Assisted Living two years ago, it really was the only choice left. She can't be left unattended for any length of time, and requires help with almost all of her daily activities. Even though she's by far the youngest person there, she took to it quite easily, enjoys the activites, arts and crafts, music, and whatnot, and has recently actually thanked me for placing her (whew!). Yes, it left me impoverished and homeless, but any other scenario was just not sustainable for any length of time without severe ramifications on both of our lives.
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