Nursing Home Feed

Often Surgery Seems the Only Choice, Yet Results Can Devastate

DeathDear Carol: My world changed in an instant when, at age 45, my mom suffered a brain aneurysm. Because of that, she had to undergo brain surgery which left her with dementia and severe physical limitations. I quit my job and took Mom home and cared for her for three years. Fortunately, my husband has been supportive and we could afford it. Eventually, Mom’s care needs were overwhelming me and I had to move her to a nursing home. I haven’t been able to drop the guilt that I feel over doing this even though I spend time with her daily.  Mom barely speaks and she’s in and out of reality. Mostly, she sleeps. The doctor calls this the natural progression of the disease. They gave me such hope with the surgery, but afterward, they just brushed off her dementia with the attitude of “it happens.” That attitude still makes me angry. Could I have done something different? – Trish: 

Read full column on Inforum about how even necessary surgery can have devastating results:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


7 Tips for Preserving an Elder's Vital Sense of Dignity

BicycleRiskFearing that their aging parents could be injured, caregivers can become nagging nannies who try to stop Dad from working in his beloved shop or Mom from gardening. But insisting that elders avoid all risks can compromise their dignity and joy. So how do you find the right balance of concern and trust?

View slideshow on HealthCentral about taking steps to preserve the sense of dignity all ages deserve:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Loving Daughter Views Disease Through a Different Lens Than Nursing Home Staff

CaregiverComfort

Dear Carol: I’m watching my mom decline from Parkinson’s disease complicated by Lewy body dementia (LBD). She has good medical care and lives in a nursing home that has been a blessing to us all. I try to imitate the way that the staff works with her because they seem well trained. The problem is Mom is not just another patient to me. She is my mother. I want to fight what this disease is doing, and sometimes that makes me forget how I should work with Mom’s disease, especially when it comes to her LBD. I just can’t accept what’s happening. I know that my feelings are irrational because her disease can’t be cured. Am I strange for feeling happy with her care on days when she seems okay, but mad at other times? What’s wrong with me that I can’t be like these people and just accept that Mom can’t be cured and learn to help her so that I can let go of my anger? Marianne

Read full column on Inforum about how families must struggle more for acceptance of disease symptoms:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


Transitioning from Hospital to Nursing Home Most Practical Move for Some

Depressionthinkstock

Dear Carol: My 83-year-old mother has lived with my family for two years, but her Type 1 diabetes and lung problems have been worsening. She also has severe pain from arthritis. Mom was recently hospitalized with a respiratory infection and took a long time to respond to treatment. They finally got the bacteria under control but she’s very weak and her breathing needs monitoring. The doctor insisted that she should only be released to a nursing home. I asked if this was just a time for recovery but he was strong in recommending that she move there permanently. He said that she needs more nursing care than she can get at home. We have good nursing homes here, but I’m having a hard time coping with the change. Mom seems to realize that this is best, so I know that I’m the one who must adjust. Do people often go from the hospital to a nursing home as a permanent move? KM

Read full column on Inforum about hospitalization ending in nursing home care:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Nighttime Snacks Stop Some Alzheimer's Wandering

CoffeeGlassesElderly people often eat more food when they are on a program of frequent, smaller meals than the standard three larger meals a day. Available snacks can also help people with Alzheimer’s who tend to wander. An informal experiment at the Parker Jewish Institute in New Hyde Park, N.Y. found that if they provided people with dementia who became anxious and agitated at night with a snack, they would often calm down and return to bed. Aura Gordon, an RN manager, told one story last month at the Aging in America conference in Chicago. “A patient, ‘a lovely man,’ got out of bed around 2 a.m., as was his custom, picked up his newspaper and headed down the hall. He was preparing to ‘go to the market,’ which had been his pattern when he was working.

Image: Thinkstock

Read full article on HealthCentral about how nighttime snacks may prevent wandering:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Is Mom Being Over-Medicated In a Nursing Home?

Medication8Dear Carol: My mother has had bipolar disorder for most of her life, though medications have helped her stay fairly balanced. She also has diabetes and severe breathing problems so she’s recently entered a nursing home. Mom knew that the move was necessary for her safety and started out quite happy. The staff is great and the home offers a lot of activities for when she’s felt up to it. Lately, though, she’s been so lethargic that I’ve inquired about her medications. It seems that the doctor, who is a geriatrician, has changed them significantly. I realize that Mom has a tricky combination of health problems that require medicating, but I’m wondering if they are purposely overmedicating Mom to make her easier to care for. I don’t like being suspicious, but I’ve read so much about this. What’s your take?  - Rob

Read full article on Inforum about medications, nursing homes, and how much is necessary:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


Delirium and Even Death Following Physical Trauma Not Unusual for Elders

DepressionthinkstockDear Carol: My mother, who was in her early 80s, was doing well except for arthritis and high blood pressure. Then she fell and broke her hip. After surgery, she seemed not just foggy but completely irrational. The doctor said that this wasn’t unusual for someone her age considering what she’d been through and that she’d get better. Mom spent several days in the hospital and was then moved to a nursing home to recover and receive physical therapy. The staff was terrific with Mom. When I asked them if Mom would recover mentally, they were non-committal. They didn’t want to say that she wouldn’t but they seemed less sure than the doctor. As the weeks went by she didn’t improve mentally, though she was doing okay physically. The, five weeks after the surgery, she suddenly died. It’s hard to accept. How common is this? – Terri

Read full column on Inforum about the effects of hospitalization on elders:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Hard Times for Caregivers: When Loved Ones Rally Before Death

DeathComfortMany adults sit by the side of their dying loved ones, sometimes for days, working on accepting the loss of their physical presence and what this loss means in their lives. Then, a spouse, parent, child or friend suddenly rallies, becomes more stable and in some cases wants to talk. We grasp at what seems to be a turnaround and sigh with relief. They are going to hang on for a while; or are they?

Read full article on Agingcare about the intricacies of the death rally:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Moving Parent from Assisted Living to Memory Care May Require Creativity

WomenOldYoungDear Carol: My mom has been in assisted living for six years and she’s loved it. Unfortunately, while she’s relatively healthy, her short-term memory has nearly disappeared and her ability to make decisions is negligible. The doctor says that she is ready for a memory care unit, and there’s one in the same facility, but she’s resisting. I know that we have to move her, but I don’t know how to do it without upsetting her. Do we just tell Mom that this is what she needs to do and then simply move her? I’m terrified that she’ll give up and start failing.  Jen

Read full column on Inforum about moving a parent to memory unit:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


Think Carefully About Long-Term Issues before Cohabitating with Your Elders

Family6You're close with your parents and you see them needing help. You've watched their decline, but so far you've handled it and they've stayed in their home. You've hired out the yard work and much of the housework. But it's time now for something different. Dad's often confused and Mom's diabetes isn't being cared for properly. You are wondering, should they move in with you? Years back, having one or both parents move in with the family was relatively common. My grandmother moved in with our family when my brother and I were teens and our little sister was a toddler. My parents built a new home that could accommodate privacy for Grandma as well as a family with teenagers and a toddler. It worked.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the road to cohabitating with aging parents:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman