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How do you feel about nursing homes? Need thoughts.

I may get flamed, but  I am looking to see what ppl think.

About 8 years ago, my grandmother started having health problems. Honestly it looked like she wasn't going to live very long. At that time I was able to help out a lot (I had no kids, wasn't married)......help out meaning check on her, take her places.  My uncle decided to take her in (thinking it wouldn't be too long and saying as much).

 FF to now. Grandmother is still living but over the years has gradually gotten to this point: In and out of hospitals/rehabs. She has fallen, had strokes, has bathroom issues, cancer and most recently a kidney infection and dementia. About a year ago my uncle decided that she couldn't/shouldn't be alone (even though docs were saying it even before that.) He told my mother she either needed to take a leave of absence from work and his wife was going to work from home when she could. He was originally going to retire, but didn't. Not sure why.

Now she is in a rehab center b/c of a kidney infection. My uncle has mandated someone be there at all mealtimes. This meant that my mother could not come with us this weekend (we are at a festival in WW.)

The other thing is that, when my mother is "on duty" and wants to do something, I am asked to go over and help. This was fine when I had no responsibilities, but that isn't the case now. Sometimes I have to take my kids. My fear is that god forbid something would happen......my g-ma cannot get around or eat or use the bathroom on her own.  

Am I crazy thinking that this arrangement is not working? Am I a selfish for missing my own mother? Are nursing homes really that bad?

 p.s. It is terrible watching her suffer. I think we all wish the Lord would take her:( 

I may delete this later I am warning you.  

Re: How do you feel about nursing homes? Need thoughts.

  • In my experience, its a wide, wide spectrum.  When my grandmother had a stroke which left her incapacitated and unable to return home, my mother looked far and wide for a suitable nursing home.  The discharge planner at the hospital gave her an enormous amount of pressure to approve a transfer anywhere. My mother held to her guns and would NOT approve a transfer until she approved the place. And she found one, a beautiful, religious based facility that gave her wonderful care until she died peacefully.

    Your uncle has plenty to fear and the expenses can wipe-out most elderly savings.  But there are good options, too. You will only know if you look. 

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • Some are great, some are good, some are bad. You just need to do your homework beforehand.
    fiizzlee = vag ** fiizzle = peen ** Babies shouldn't be born wit thangs ** **They're called first luddz fo' a reason -- mo' is supposed ta come after. Yo Ass don't git a medal fo' marryin yo' prom date. Unless yo ass is imoan. I aint talkin' bout chicken n' gravy biatch. Then yo ass git a all-expenses paid cruise ta tha Mediterranean n' yo ass git ta hook up Jared Padalecki on tha flight over while bustin yo' jammies. But still no medal.
  • During and immediately after college, I was a hospice volunteer both in-home and nursing homes.

    The nursing homes and assisted living facilities I visited and spent time in were fantastic. The residents were more stimulated and had better care than the in-home situations. 

    Being a care giver is exhausting both mentally and physically and it's not always the healthiest situation for everyone in the family. 

    I fought hard to have my great grandmother and DH's grandmom admitted to homes. In both scenarios everyone in the situation was in a better places once they were settled. 

    I would start visiting facilities and speaking with other families in similar situations. I think you'd be shocked and relieved to see what the majority of the living conditions are nowadays. 

    There have been AMAZING improvements in the quality of care with our aging population. 

    image image image
  • This might sound crass but shop around.

    Do you know of anybody who has a loved one in a nursing home/rehab center? Ask them what their opinion is of the facility and tell them to be as hard bitten and bluntly honest as possible.

     See what each facility offers: are there activities for the clients? What other "extras" are offered -- pehaps nice grounds, a salon for men and women, a nice dining room for the clients and/or their guests, game nights, nice sun room to name several.

    Other perks: clients can have their loved ones bring their dogs to visit -- the nursing home a relative of mine was in had this extra. THey also had cockatiels/parakeets and aquariums on each floor, in living rooms where the clients can interact with them.

    Our area has an excellent nursing home/rehab center; it's been in business since I can remember. There's nice grounds, a shopping center next door and the facility has 3 levels of care: the first level is suites for those who are still self sufficient, the second one is kind of a "middle ground" between the suites and continual care and the third is continual care/more or less hospitalization.

    Good luck; I am hoping you find a good facility for your gma to be in. 

     

  • I agree that there are good nursing homes out there, but that you need to do your homework.

    Another option might be hiring in-home care givers.  My grandmother lived at home until she passed under the watch of care givers hired by my parents, aunts and uncles.  It *may* be cheaper than a nursing home facility, but be sure to do background checks on whoever you hire. 

  • Thanks guys.

    The thing is my uncle is STRESSED to the max all the time.I don't know if it's my place but I am going to start researching. 

  • I think that it's okay to accept that the family is no longer able to care for an ailing member. 
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  • My grandfather was in one for the last 2 years of his life. My grandmother, mom, and aunt couldn't take care of him anymore. He was actually in 3. The first two were horrible and never took care of him finally we found the 3rd one which was very nice, but far from us (45ish minutes).

    My grandmother was in one for the last month of her life. Previously she had still been at home with my aunt and little brother living there and my mom and other aunt there in shifts. My husband and I helped out when we could. After she had a stroke, she was moved to hospice at a nursing home. It was okay.

    From my experiences, nursing homes definitely vary. Do your research and make sure you keep an eye on what's going on if you do move your grandmother there.

     

  • Find out the patient to Nurses Aide ratio. The aides do the bulk of the work with patients, and a lot of them take shortcuts with patient care because they are understaffed. I worked at a Nursing home, and left in disgust because the patient care was so awful there. The aides are hardly paid anything, considering the amount of work they have to do, and a lot of them are beyond caring anymore.

    Do lots of research, and make visits to the facilities. Dont just talk to the Administrators, because they are not going to tell you the whole truth. Try to chat with some patients, and with some of the workers there. 

    Good luck. 

  • I agree that nursing homes can vary a lot. Both of DH's grandmothers are in nursing homes which are quite nice.

    Do you have some sort of Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work? Sometimes those place have a list of recommended facilities that have gone through a screening process.

    Hope is not a strategy.
  • I would also contact your state or county's elder care ombudsman.  Make a list of a couple of facilities that you are contemplating and ask about any recently resolved or currently open complaints.  While I believe there is always going to be a complainer in a group, a home with a lot of complaints or a lot of the same kind of complaints is a bad apple.

    Also, do you have a family attorney?  Could your attorney refer you to an elder law attorney in the area?  Not only would that attorney know the general reputations of care facilities in the area, but might be able to help you structure her remaining assets to give you the best options for her care. 

  • image MarynJoe:
    I think that it's okay to accept that the family is no longer able to care for an ailing member. 

    It's also stressful emotionally as well as taxing physically, if you're picking up and moving your relative.

  • I would also add if you can find one where family can visit and check on the home. My ILs are in a memory care unit, but for the last few weeks my MIL has been in a nursing home. We would be in no way able to deal with her health issues. I feel no guilt in having her in a nursing home.
  • Of course, all/most seniors want to be independant and live at home (or with a loved one), but that is not always possible.

    If your grandma needs round-the-clock care, it's not fair to expect your mom and uncle to do it all.  Or for you to "step in" when one of them are busy.  That doesn't mean they/you don't love your grandma.  It just means that caring for her is beyond your capabilities.  I wouldn't want to be resonsible for ensuring that someone I love doesn't choke to death, fall and get hurt, etc. every time they had a meal or wanted to stand up.

    You really need to look at a lot of places.  Medicare will take care of some of the expenses (another reason why LTC insurance is such a good idea!).  Yes, it can be financially draining, but it's your grandma's money and if that's what's needed for her care, that's why she saved all of her lifetime.  You might also talk to someone who is familiar with Medicare laws to ensure she gets the best possible care for her $.

    I would also say - since your mom and uncle are local and ARE involved, she will get much better care no matter what kind of facility she goes to.  "The squeaky wheel" get the attention definately applies, even to the best facilities.

    And if your mom and uncle STILL say "No" to grandma getting long-term care - - that doesn't mean that you MUST be there to "cover mom's shift" or "allow uncle and aunt some free time, since they do so much for grandma already."  Not having grandma in a home is their CHOICE, and you shouldn't be obliged to accomodate those choices if they don't work for you.

  • My family has gone through this multiple times.  PP are right, you need to do your homework. Honestly, as tough as it is, sometimes it is what's best for all involved.  Our family is struggling with our worst nightmare coming true.  My grandma has dimentia, and grandpa has always been healthy enough to take care of her (he's 75 and she's 73).  2 weeks ago he was diagnosed with cancer, and his health is declining fast.  We don't know what to do either, and my mom and her siblings are trying to help grandpa out and support him in whatever way they can.
  • This can be such a hard decision! I'm really sorry your family is having to deal with it.

    As others have said, do your homework. Tour different places. Show up at different times during the day. Look at what residents are doing and what the staff is doing.

    My family had to place my grandma in a nursing home for 3 yrs. It was the hardest thing they did and they had a ton of guilt, but it was necessary when she needed full time care that they just couldn't provide.

    Make sure you and other family members visit as often as possible. Being seperated from family can be really depressing. It really brightens people's days in nursing homes when family visits.

  • I help families choose nursing homes for their loved ones as a part of my job (although typically for short term placements, not long term care.)  Really it is all about money unfortunately.  The more money you have, the nicer facility you can afford.  If the individual/family is low income and has to apply for Medicaid to pay for long term care, the options will be much more limited as many of the nicer nursing homes cater to those with money or those that only need short term rehab.   

    it is such a personal decisions.  Many families simply can't afford long term care, and others would rather take on the burden of care no matter how difficult it gets for the caregivers.  I do not judge ANYONE that puts a family member in a nursing home though, it is a tough decision but often for the best. 

    image
    Gretchen Evie, born 7/8/2012 at 35w5d
  • I was a nurse in a nursing home for 4 months after I graduated college. Never would I work there again. I loved my patients, but had absolutely NO TIME to actually give them the care they needed. All I did was pass pills pretty much. There were some things that happened that I didn't like. It is honestly really hard to watch over 100 patient who want to wander. 2-3 falls a day was the norm. Go by word of mouth honestly.
  • I am an OT who has worked in a nursing facility for over 7 years.  I agree with the above posters that it is best you go on tours of facilities and by word of mouth. 

    I will admit, a nursing home is not "home" and not all people do well in them.  Many/most people do however.  Especially since there are now activities they can go to, have people their own age to talk to, and three square meals a day.  I agree that the nurses aides do most of the work and are very underpaid, however while they may look rushed and uncaring on the outside, they really are very caring individuals and are trying the best they can. 

    I understand the guilt that many families feel when they chose to leave a loved one in a nursing facility.  But please keep in mind that you have tried all that you can do to assist your grandmother in living at home as long as possible.  Don't feel guilty, becase in your case it does sound like she is just too much for your family to care for at this time.  It happens.  You are not giving up on her because you are choosing to place her in a nursing home. So don't feel guilty at all.  I have seen so many family members become completely burned out from trying to care for a loved one and it is very sad.  You have to take care of yourself too and I know your grandmother would understand that.  Good luck.

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  • I cant get past the part where you say your uncle MANDATED !

    And why did he tell your mom SHE had to take a leave of absence from HER job?

    Why didnt he take the leave?

  • yup-it's not a situation I understand at all. ONe person making all the decisions doesn't seem fair. My aunt actually is who I feel bad for. She has way more responsibities than I would be able to handle...she bathes her,etc.

    And SHay...lol....my g-ma curses out her OT for making her "work". Nice.

  • What a terrible situation.

    I agree with pretty much everyone else - some nursing homes are great, others are not. Definitely don't be afraid to visit a few. DH's grandma is in a religious-based nursing home and it's quite nice (and you don't have to be a certain religion to live there).

  • I'm a nurse in a nursing home. There are some bad ones and some great ones. I've been an aide in a nursing home as well. I've worked in nursing homes for over 7 years. The one i work at right now is just wonderful. 

    You can look online at the health department and look up their last survey to see what their faults were as well. You can get an idea of the care that they give. See what the state says is their aide to patient ratio. How much time the nurse has with each patient. Definitely do your research.

    Good luck! 

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  • Agree with PP on doing your homework.

    My grandma was always an independent woman; she lived in an apartment throughout most of her 70s then she had a stroke. During the healing period my parents thought the best thing for her was to stay with us since my dad's older sister lived OOS and the younger one worked full time.  My mom was always home so she was able to be there to help her when needed.  It was then g-ma fell and broke her hip.  It became too much on my mom to take care of her all the time so after her PT they let her move back to her apartment but my dad and aunts paid a caregiver to come over in the morning and stay with her all day, get her ready for bed after dinner then leave.  This woman eventually started ripping my grandma off so our family fired her and it was back to my mom going over there 3 times a day to get her meals ready and get her out of and ready for bed.  It eventually got to the point where we had to put her in a nursing home but the place always took good care of her and she was happy there until the day she passed.

    [IMG]http://i42.tinypic.com/x200p0.jpg[/IMG]
  • I could have written your post a few years ago, honestly. We (family) took care of both of my grandparents until they passed away in their home. There were also a lot of caregivers hired to stay with them, do laundry and meal prep, etc.

    It started off with me being the primary "runner" to doctors appointments, hospitals, and caring for them in their home....I was already a nurse working full time, but was single and didn't mind. The days I worked my aunts or uncles would come over to keep them company; at night, I walked them to the bathroom, helped them shower, etc, and was there at night if my grandpa fell or someone had chest pain, etc.

    Once I was engaged and getting married, I still did some days at their house and nights, but my aunts and uncles and mom realized I could not be there 24/7 on my days off work, so they hired CNA's (nursing assistants) to cover nights and sometimes weekends.

    Word of warning...it is pretty expensive to have in-home care, and it got pricey as they got older and needed more care...catheters, showers, ostomy changes, etc.

    My grandmother was also in a nursing home for rehab after a lengthy hospital stay, and she said she actually enjoyed it....she met some new people, played bingo, watched TV with others, and had company all the time. It was not a bad place; it was nice and clean and we brought in her meals most of the time.

    Do your research, like PP mentioned. We have a great "elder care community" near our house with PT, OT, senior vans, and shopping trips. They also plan outings and casino trips, movies, library day, and things for those that can't drive themselves. It is a really nice place.

    Good luck, and don't feel bad....you are doing the best you can!!

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