22 answers

Sensitivity to Telling Mom She Can't Stay Home Alone Anymore

Mom is 82 and slipping in memory...she has recently been recommended to benefit from "assisted living". I DON'T need ideas on how to keep her in her own home. We have exhausted ourselves providing company of ourselves which include her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, life-support lines, meals, cleaning and shopping, medical appointments, writing her bills, etc. In-home-health or assisted living is the next best thing...but it won't come without breaking my heart and her's. Please don't suggest she come live with one of us...she did when the hurricane displaced her and she was miserable. I need suggestions how to be kind, but firm that she needs help...more than we can provide with her medical needs at this time of her life. She has CHF and COPD and is down to 70 + lbs. She has a nurse coming weekly and physical therapists, and occupational therapists, too. What do you say?? thank you for listening...G., too

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for so kindly responding. All of you have had some input that I have been trying
to take in consideration. I called my mom just now to touch base and see if she'd eaten and
taken her meds, and a nurse was there to do another evaluation. We talked about how she'd had
a bad day yesterday (forgot her meds after taking them out of her pill box to take and not put-
ting up a homecooked meal in the fridge) even though she'd had several visitors. I particularly
liked addressing her fears and hopes. If she has a relatively long time at this stage in her
health--maybe going to an assisted living facility would be best. But, if moving her would be
more upsetting and add to her demise, why bother? I'll give an update after I talk to this
nurse. Thank you all again, G.

Featured Answers

Perhaps if you put together a couple of different options and present them as choices for her, she won't feel like she's completely lost control. She is lucky to have you looking out for her.

1 mom found this helpful

TO ya'll,,,
Have the DR. tell her he can do a much better job then anyone ,,,because noone wants to be there but they have activitys hair-do days lots of lil extras. BUT please find a nice clean home ,,,,some are really bad smell knock you down so do research visits homes near you.
Good Luck L.

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I don't know cost on the assisted living homes but my neighbors parents moved into one that they loved. They still had their own apartment but there were nurses on staff and there were actually different levels of care from doing everything yourself all the way up to those who couldn't take care of themselves at all. There were a lot of activities, they could plant their own garden and I beleive all meals were included. She can still have the assistance without feeling like she is being cared for. I can find out what home it was but I know depending on how much help they needed determined what section they lived in.

2 moms found this helpful

My heart goes out to you because this is a very tough issue to deal with. It sounds as if you have exhausted all possibilities, and you know that in your heart. I think you have arrived at the place that says it's time to make a tough decision. You will need to gather info on all available options-openings, cost, services, etc. Some assisted living will only take people who are 100% independent. Once you gather data from all the options then you and siblings need to sit down and decide together, and then you need to tell mom, with love that it is a decision based on a quality of life issue. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know-I am just trying to reassure you that although this will be tough you can get through it, and it is the right thing to do. Strong but loving, this action will NOT be a reflection of how anyone feels about G.-it is with loving kindness that you want her to be as well cared for as possible and for her to have a good quality of life. You are not giving up on her and you are not abandoning her-you are simply making a change in living arrangements. You will be there to support her and encourage her and visit with her-but she has to be healthy and comfortable enough to enjoy life.

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There are several things to consider. How many children does she have, are they all involved in helping to care for her and do all agree that she needs to go into assisted living? If not, those who say no should be put in charge for awhile. Secondly, has she ever signed over to anyone a Power of Attorney to handle her affairs? This is the first step. She needs to assign that to someone while she is still in fairly good memory health. If she is not agreeable to this, explain to her that when she does become incapacitated or dies, the state will take over, and she certainly doesn't want that to happen. If all the children agree that she must go to assisted living, then you have to show her you are all unified and have found a facility nearby so that you can visit often. I've never seen it fail that once someone gets settled in they love it because there's always someone to visit with. She'll cry and you'll cry, but you will both get over it. If she's getting forgetful, she could burn the house down trying to cook (my mother ruined a complete set of pans by leaving them on the stove cooking and forgot about them). It's a hard decision that people have to make every day, and I've never heard of an easy way to to it short of a doctor telling her she has no choice, and you won't find one who will do that. GOOD LUCK

2 moms found this helpful

you could try hospice. they come sit with her 8 hours a day usually. I feel for you I went through it with my father he had copd and it was not good. he was on oxygen, it came to the point he couldn't be here with us and a nursing home was set up. was not what he wanted but i had small children in the home and it was the end and i could not bare to have a child find him gone one morning. he understood that. Also he did not want us to change his diapers-so it left him with some dignity in the end.
If she has alot of time left or unknown-ask the dr to give her appetite pills- they work it helps them to be hungry,and she may gain some weight. God be with you. I spent 8 hours a day at the nurseing home he was afraid to be alone and did not want to pass by him self. With one sister and the help of hospice and myself he was able to cope with not being at home.
I'm sure she is scared- as my father was. If you have a paster (or such) they may be able to help.
Bless your family and my prayers go out to you.
V.

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You just answered your own question. You--with all the love-- tell her you are not able to provide the help she needs for her health issues. You will be there always and you love her and this is the best option for everybody. My Mom was 68 lbs when she died. She had COPD, renal failure and conjestive heart failure and has all the agencies coming in to take care of her. I lived down the street and could go there several times a day and we had a lady come in daily for 5 hours that washed and cooked breakfast & lunch. I told her I loved her more than anything and we would have to make some changes soon. My wonderful Lord would answer my prayers and took her home before I had to make the change. The elderly have a fear of being alone.

Remember the role reverses you become the parent and they become like children. Pray for patience and enjoy every moment you have with her and yes your heart will break when she is gone.

Blessings---

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First off, all the love in the world to you and your family for doing as much as you have already. Second, use the resources of her treatment team. If you do not feel that you can handle this conversation alone, have some of the therapists and/or nurses have the discussion with her. Also, use the resources of the assisted living place.

You said that she has recently been recommended, by whom? That person may be an excellent resource to explain to her why this is a necessary change at this time. However, depending on her mental status, she just may not be able to truly understand.

I do like the idea of asking about her fears that was suggested below. I would also add to ask about her hopes. What would she like in a facility? When we had to move my grandfather, he had some very specific things that he wanted in his life, so we found a place that could accommodate those desires. But, we had to make it very clear to him that staying alone in his house just wasn't an option any more.

It's ok to be both strong and vulnerable, it's all because you love her. If you want to talk in person or over the phone, I would be happy to--just let me know. Also, my mom had to bear the brunt of this with my grandfather and I know she would be happy to discuss with you.

All love.
megz

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We all know that day is coming for everyone and she does too. Even if her brain isn't just right. She can't expect the whole family to live just for her & I'm thinking you just need to lay it on the line. She needs care that you all can't provide but make sure she knows that you all will visit often & make sure the home is caring for her. And, do that because they don't unless someone visits often & knows how to pitch a fit if they are not cared for properly.

1 mom found this helpful

TO ya'll,,,
Have the DR. tell her he can do a much better job then anyone ,,,because noone wants to be there but they have activitys hair-do days lots of lil extras. BUT please find a nice clean home ,,,,some are really bad smell knock you down so do research visits homes near you.
Good Luck L.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello,
Oh how I feel your pain. I am 71 and rapidly approaching those days myself. Looks like you have done all you can for your Mom- perhaps you could find a "live in" just to keep her in her own home. That is her comfort zone and if you move her away from that she will surely decline further. Assisted living is great, but not for everyone so perhaps a live in would be better for her at this time.
God Bless and good luck with your Mom

1 mom found this helpful

If you have siblings, get them involved. It is a family affair. All of you go and visit places with Mom. Let her pick. She will benefit from being in a community with people her age that are going through the same things. She will be scared at first but be supportive. She may be angry once in a while but it will pass. Don't take it personally. Good luck to you and I will pray for your Mother's peace with this decision.

1 mom found this helpful

Perhaps she would be more comfortable in a personal care home--just a house in a neighborhood which has fulltime care provided for the residents who live there. We had to find such a place for our daughter due to an illness that we are unable to best care for her. I googled Houston Area Personal Care Homes. We made over 100 phonecalls, very few had openings at the time, and then we visited about a dozen. There is a great variety of facilities. Some homes provided individual bedrooms, some had 2 per room, some actually smelled good, others did not. This is just another option to consider, and some are cheaper than assisted living facilities. Most importantly, make visits with her, address her concerns, and go with your gut in choosing a place that you feel has caring attentive staff.

1 mom found this helpful

The suggestion of having a meeting with her doctor is excellent.

My thought was also "Mommy, you know how you took care of us and made decisions about our health and well being? Well, now it's time for us to take care of you and your health and well being."

And make sure to point out that it's NOT a nursing home. She won't be bed bound, there will be activities and outings, people come in to play music, she can take her meals with other people, etc. The facility my grandfather lives in in California is like resort, I swear! *I* want to live there. They have an ice cream bar that's open 24/7.

Wow, big hugs to you!

1 mom found this helpful

We went through this with a grandfather who was 101! He had been able to stay in his home till we just could not afford to pay for all of the care and also maintain his home properly.

The thing to remember is that, you would NEVER do anything to hurt your grandmother. You love her and you are making difficult decisions to help HER. You want her to have the best care possible and that is not something you can do. This is not a failure, it is just not your profession. Just like I cannot do surgery, I also cannot totally care for an elderly person who needs total care. That is not my profession. She deserves the best care and the best care is some sort of assisted living.

You need to figure out what her biggest fears are. You will be surprised they are not always what you expect. Our Grandfather was mostly worried he would not be able to watch "his" news programs and he was worried about his modesty being respected.

We thought he would be upset about sharing a room with a stranger or having to move out of his house, but these were the 2 main concerns.

Once we worked out a way to make sure he had his own television with cable and asked that his bed be closest to the bathroom, he was fine. We also gave him many robes and nice PJs so that he was never out of his own clothing in case of accidents.

We were also fortunate enough to all live in town so we set up a visiting schedule and a phone call schedule so that he was seen or spoken to almost every day at least once. It was such a joy to be able to see him taken care of. It still was a lot of work to make sure that everything he needed really was being taken care of. We checked his records and we dropped in unannounced many times, when we were concerned. But it all turned out just fine.

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Tell her that the nurse is going to be there full time. God bless and just let her know that the nurse is going to be there to help her make it seem like she is the boss.

1 mom found this helpful

I know how hard this is, especially with some one who is determined to hold on to that independence. She will probably continue to be upset about it no matter how you handle it but it is best to be honest and firm. Tell her that you love her and that you cant bear the thought of something happening to her all alone in her home. Reassure her that she and all her belongings will be treated with the utmost respect. Come and visit her as often as you can and try to get the rest of your family to do the same. Come and get involved with her in some of the activities they have going on so she isn't intimidated. My father's home would let you come and have dinner with them so I had a standing lunch date every Sunday. We came to every party and event and tried to make it as fun for him as possible. She is going to be upset but, you and your family just need to try your hardest to let her know that she hasn't just been left some where and forgotten. I think that it was best for my father because he got way more visitors in the home than he did in his house. He never had a chance to get lonely. We also had people from our church writing him cards and visiting him. The children came to deliver little gifts. He was surrounded by people to talk to all the time. His quality of life improved so much, but it was hard for him to admit that he needed that. Good Luck!
Krisitn

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Okay here is my take on the matter....In the past my mother in-law and I called Bingo and several of the local nursing homes. We had a great time doing it and I got to see alot first hand. I feel that going with your mom each day to "visit" the place you have choosen will help her, and you transition into her new "home". She will have a chance to met the staff and get familar with the residents that live there, and also she can see that the activities are quit fun..better than being all alone. With you or someone taking her each day and then leaving each day, she will have less stress and feel more at ease in the big transition. I wish you the best of luck. God bless you all.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi G.,
My heart goes out to you. My mom is 86. Perhaps if you begin by imagining her new room with her current bedspread, her own chair, throw, pictures of her family, other personal belongings. Imagine her happy and well taken care of. All of her therapists seeing her there, 24 hr care available as well as furnished meals.

I wonder if you are sad about the changes this will bring to you. Though it is difficult to consider, determine that it is best, then act on that. If you had a child with a broken leg which required surgery, though you were distressed and sensitive to the child, you would do what needs to be done for the best outcome, though the child were scared and reluctant. Your conviction would see that he received the necessary care. Now substitute your mother in that scenario. Change is often difficult. Change means different, not bad. HTH. Peace, C.

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Perhaps if you put together a couple of different options and present them as choices for her, she won't feel like she's completely lost control. She is lucky to have you looking out for her.

1 mom found this helpful

wow, that is so difficult. we persuaded my mom to move as she saw how hard it was on my sister to be caring for her long distance and she lived in a remote area. you can phrase it as, "I need this, Mom, please just try it for the weekend and I will respect your decision". Most assisted living places have an apt where you can spend a few days to check it out. If one doesn't work, try the second, third. Family included.
If that doesn't work, your next best bet is getting someone to live there full time. A friend of mine got women from her church bulletin who needed extra money, one for days and one for nights. If you live near a college, a student nurse might be willing to stay with her in exchange for room and board. A student who has put in all the work for the prereqs isn't likely to disappear, but I would remove all temptation (credit card bills, social security docs, jewelry etc).
I know this is a really, really hard decision and I hope we will make better choices for our children.

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First off, my mom lived in a assisted living community for awhile before she passed, and at the present time I am a co-manager of a senior independent living community. My suggestion would be to take her to a couple of the assisted living communities, take a tour and talk with the people who manage the community. If you can get her involved in the process perhaps she might see the benefits of living there compared to where she is now. Please let me know how this turns out.

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I'm not sure where you've looked or what your moms individual needs are, but my grandparents live in an assisted living center in FL, but they have an independent apartment. The apartment building they live in has some assisted living floors, some nursing floors and some independent apartments. They have activities and a full dining room for all the seniors. My grandparents love it because they have their own space, but still have medical personnel close by. Of course this give us peace of mind too.

If your mom is still fairly independent I'm wondering if there is a similar type of senior community that may be a good compromise for you and your family. Once you've done all the research sit down and talk to your mom. Be completely honest and show her the options you've found, then as someone else suggested take her for a tour and allow her to be part of the final decision.

I'm sure you will find a good place for her. Good luck!

I've just gone through this same thing with my Mom. She is 85--and it took us about 5 years to convince her that she needed to live in a place where she could get help at a moment's notice if necessary. (She almost died from a respiratory infection this past summer before any of us realized how sick she was!)

I would have a family meeting with your other siblings and her. I would be in agreement with everyone before approaching her with the suggestion that she needs to move. Coming from all of you, it might carry more weight. Be ready for much resistance--my mother fought us like a wildcat!!! It is so hard to admit when you get older than you need to give up some of your independence. I think fear plays a big part in that.

Anyway, tell you Mom that my Mom is SO HAPPY that she moved! She lives in a reitrement apartment (not assisted living because her health is pretty good), and she has made so many new friends. I haven't seen her this happy in a long time.

You might suggest to your Mom that she accompany you to visit some of the places, and let her choose which one she likes. Make it clear to her, however, that she MUST choose one. NOT choosing is not an option!

God bless you all. It's an uphill struggle, but something you MUST do to care for your parent.

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