20 June 2009

#412423, your time is up...

This had to happen sooner or later. My mom's in the hospital after having fallen at her home the other night. She managed to pull herself to the phone to get the ambulance there, and for now she's ok. It was a combination of low blood sugar, bad circulation, and not being able to see.

Obviously, the current situation of her living independently can't continue. We don't have room at our place for another person, and if we did, I don't think we can provide the proper care. She lives about 100km away. I can't make that commute every day on reduced work hours to stay overnight-every night. As it is now, it seems like all I do when I'm up there is take care of her dog and the two cats. That's going to change. We either find the dog a new home or it's going on its last journey. The dog is 14 and has health problems. It might be time for her, at any rate. The cats are a pain, but cats require a lot less attention-change the litter box and set out dry food and water.

There are some home care services available, and we might explore that option for a few weeks, along with the ever-popular 'I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up' emergency call bracelet to ring up 911 if there's a problem. But she's admitted that overnights bother her now that my stepfather is not there to help.

The rest of the family is ready for her to go to a nursing home. I hate the thought of it, but I have to concur with them. There aren't enough of me to do everything that needs to be done for her to live by herself. My aunt ( her sister) helps with the animals, but she has a semi-invalid husband and a son that just got out of the hospital and is staying with them. She doesn't need one more thing to deal with.

Is this the right decision? With monotonous regularity these days, I find my answer to be "I don't fucking know". I rather feel like I'm sentencing someone to a slow death, but I can't guarantee anything better.

I hope for those of you out there with older relatives, they've helped you make helping them much easier. If not, you've a long row to hoe.

yankeedog out.


  1. my mom is now in a care home. Her Alzheimer was getting worse and worse, she wasn't even recognising my dad anymore, her husband of 66 years, which began to hurt him emotionally. Besides, he's not in the best health either. My brother and his wife live in the same house so they could care for them, but still the time came when my mom needed professional help. It's a hard decision to make, but still has to be done at some time. Since they live in California, and I'm in Germany, there is no way I can help.

    From what I hear, she is doing great there. She plays cards with other patients, etc. so she seems happy.... and she gets the attention she needs. Definitely look into it.

  2. YDog,when they can't manage themselves with some outside help the time unfortunately has come for them to get more full time care.

  3. Yeah my grandma is in that situation. Dementia's made her fairly dependent but she's playing every guilt card in the book to stop the old man and my uncle putting her into care - even though that's the only reasonable response for the benefit of everyone, especially her. Then again if I've put 90 plus years into my life and have to watch it slipping away in front of me I'm not likely to go quietly into the darkness either, I guess.

  4. Aw crap, I was hoping you would get a bit longer than this. I know it was difficult for my Mum and her sisters once my Grandmother got to this stage.

    I don't know what it is like over there, but here the problem is that the quality of nursing homes can vary massively. So it puts a lot of stress on those responsible for the decision.

    Good luck mate, trust yourself, whatever decisions you make will be good ones.

  5. Never easy. The moment of absolute certainty never comes with decisions so make the best you can and be at peace my friend.

  6. Westy-Hey there! The dementia that comes for many is the the real deal-breaker when it comes to caring for someone. I know your dad, the Boatswain, and your mom traveled a lot (he blogged about it enough) and it sounds like they had a good life together-so that had to be a killer for him.

    My mom's mind is sharp but the body is failing. Don't know which is worse-that or the mind going and the body plugging away.

    Bangar-I'm also looking into the local elderly apartments and some home care for her. I figure even the independence and dignity to be able for her to make a few small decisions is worth the risk.

    Yarbo-Oh, those types are the tough nuts to crack. Good luck there. And I think you're right-she ain't going down without a fight. Problem is, that's the type that runs off one day or keeps trying to escape the nursing home.

    Nautilus-Yep, nursing home quality varies wildly here as well. If you have a lot of money, you can afford a good place to finish your days, otherwise...not so good. I believe in quality of life and independence for as long as possible, so I'm scratching for an alternative (see my reply to Bangar above).

    Natalie-Thanks, kid! I appreciate the support. No, there are no easy outs on this one, but we'll do what we can.

  7. If her mind is still sharp then the big question is what does she think about it?
    Altimately she has to agree with it.

  8. Mick-She knows she needs assistance, but her mind is still sharp. And she still speaks said mind...all the time. In some ways, it's harder to deal with then it would be if dementia were involved.

  9. It's hard when it gets to that situation as as much as we want to help it's just not possible anymore, and outside help in a home can be the best option.

  10. Stu-Still trying to puzzle out if that's a viable option, actually.

  11. YD,

    My oh my, aren't you have a fine set of days here! How you holding up? Best of luck slogging through all this.


  12. look, think and keep checking as to what your options are. Planning YD and I suspect you are pretty good at it. The time will come when you will have NO choice, either via a decision YOU come to or its made by others. but at least you will be armed with everything you possibly can.

    I do not envy you, its gotta be a cast iron motherfucker of a choice and situation. Mate, Good people do the god things, you are one of those. Stick at it. H