March 22, 2008

Mom can no longer live on her own!

It has been a long hard road for everyone, since my mother fell and broke her hip in November of 2007. (see various posts in aging parents and alzheimer's folders) It has been really the hardest on her, as she is the one who is going through the scary changes of knowing that her mind is not working as it used to. I can see her searching for the next word as she speaks.

Her fall was accidental, but it was the beginning of all of this. It was going to happen eventually as she has been somewhat forgetful for the last year or so, but nothing really so bad that it seemed like it would for sure lead to Alzheimer disease. We did ask her doctor about her memory and what could be done earlier in 2007 and he started her on Aricept. She did seem to get better after the fall in November and healed physically and was mentally pretty stable in Feb 2008. It got to the point where we all felt she could try to live on her own again, as she had a really nice, new apartment in a retirement residence where she has many friends. She was doing well. We had her stay over at my house on some weekends.

It was last weekend, on March 5th, that she fell again, in her apartment. She was taken to the hospital and luckily, nothing was broken, but she did get some bad bruises. But in the span of about 3 days, her mind seemed to completely spin into a later stage of Alzheimer's... she is pretty much out of it now. She has bouts of knowing our names and then she doesn't and she just rambles into and out of the many memories that are stored in her mind. She has just been approved for Medicaid, which was to enter into an adult daycare program called Community Life and now this happened. It is probably good that we went through the approval for medicaid as it will probably enable her permanent stay in the nursing home she is in now. It is really a good nursing home as far as the staff being caring and the facility is very clean. It is however, very depressing to me to see the hundreds of seniors in this home as they are all needing 24 hour care and they are just in this state of waiting for their end of life. It left my wife and myself in a sad state of mind when we left. We went from the nursing home to her apartment to start cleaning out her things to close out her lease. That was even sadder!!!

My dad was 74 when he died and that was 18 years ago. This made me realize that he went the better way. He was healthy and just went down with a massive heart attack. He did not have to get old and go through all the pains and fears that my mother has gone through. He would also have not handled it as well as my mother can. This final phase of my mother not being able to take care of herself and have to live in a nursing home has... sort of felt like someone flipped a light switch in my life also. I feel different from the day before I visited my mother in the nursing home where she will most likely spend the rest of her life... the day before, I guess I felt hope or that she will get over this.. or something that made me think it will get better if we all try to do whatever we can.. show her more family love and caring and help her use her mind more... I guess the nursing home visit made me feel some cold hit of reality and of feeling OLD! Now I feel a sense of what all of us Baby Boomers are actually going to go through. We are going to face the issues that we are seeing our parents go through now, only there will be many millions more of us. What will that do to our country? How will our government be able to handle all of this and more so... what can we start doing now to prepare for the future in order to not be a burden on our children. I feel much older......


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your mom. Rita went through what you are now experiencing.
All you can do for your mom is what your're doing now.

blythe said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. It is very difficult to recover from a fall; however, an amazing lady where my mom used to live not only recovered from hip surgery following a fall, but celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 13, and is still go strong with a wonderful sense of humor. Aricept made my mother very dizzy; she had several falls while on it; but some of it might have been the Alz setting in. Once it got going, it seemed she declined rather quickly (in retrospect) over a year. The best thing you can do is let your mother know you are there for her and that you care. As my mom used to say, "Getting old ain't for wimps."

David said...

Thanks for the comments. It is something that our generation is now going through. We watched our parents go through it from the perspective of young and unaware eyes and that makes you really feel the difference between the many phases of our lives. It's like you can look back and you know what younger people are going through, if you make yourself remember. I try to do that with my kids, who really aren't kids anymore... well.. I still have one 19 year old who.. yeah... she's still a kid:-)

Mia said...

Hey David, I was in tears reading this post - I feel for you & your mom . The thought pf my mother getting older & weaker frightens me , but what frightens me even more than this is her leaving one day. I don't believe I would be able to handle something like that happening . I am still mourning my Black little poodle who was killed 12 years ago ! and every time I think of him I cry - you can imagine how I would handle the passing of a human being ? Not Well at all . All I can say to you at this point is : You have obviously been a good son to yor mom , and I am certain that you will stand by her and do your very best for her till the end ( which I hope does not arrive for a long time ! ).
PS: I hope your mom is much better now :)

David said...

Thanks for reading and your kind comment Mia. If you read the articles in the Categories section on my blog, you will find a series of articles called Hannah's Journey where I speak of her path as a victim of Alzheimer's Disease. She is now living in a nursing home as she needs 24 hour professional care. She is doing fairly well physically but although she knows us at this point, she doesn't remember many names and talks in riddles of no common subject. There just isn't that much to say as it is a sad story of which there really is no happy news. That is why I write about elder care and raising public awareness of supporting causes such as the Alzheimer's Association and others.
Take care and thank you again.