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Mental Decline & Dependency/Coping With Aging Loved Ones

 
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 11:51 am
Your mother sounds wonderful, fbaezer, and Noddy's right, let the ladies do something, because it will mean so much to them, even if all they do is give you a covered dish of something. That's their meditation, and they need to do it.

When my great-aunt passed on, my mother found an autograph book she (the aunt) had filled after graduating from grammar school. It had the signatures of the aunt's mother (my great-grandmother) and all of the aunt's syblings (the aunt was the last to pass away). We put it in the coffin with my great-aunt and have never regretted that. It just sort of seemed like a way to not be alone. Sounds to me like the figure of St. Barbara (what is she the patron saint of?) will fulfill a similar purpose. Good to hear your brother is doing something, even if it's a little bit. Hey, it's something. He may yet do more, he may not.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 12:42 pm
St. Barbara is the patron of artillery. But in the Syncretic Cuban Catholicism, she is also Changó, a Yoruban deity: a male dressed with a female red robe, patron of sex, fun, war and thunder.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 01:10 pm
She sounds like someone not to be messed with - a fitting tribute for your Mom, eh?
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 01:19 pm
patron of sex, fun, war and thunder.
---------------
GET OUT! That is so cool.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 01:31 pm
"patron of sex, fun, war and thunder"
sounds like my definition of a perfect marriage. Wink
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 01:32 pm
Santa Bárbara - Changó
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2003 02:04 pm
Patronage of St. Barbara:

against death by artillery, against explosions, against fire, against impenitence, against lightning, against mine collapse, against storms, ammunition magazines, ammunition workers, architects, armourers, artillery, artillerymen, boatmen, bomb technicians, brass workers, brewers, builders, carpenters, construction workers, dying people, explosives workers, fire, fire prevention, firefighters, fireworks, fireworks manufacturers, fortifications, founders, geologists, gravediggers, gunners, hatmakers, hatters, lightning, mariners, martyrs, masons, mathematicians, military engineers, milliners, miners, ordnance workers, prisoners, safety from storms, sailors, saltpetre workers, smelters, stone masons, stonecutters, storms, sudden death, Syria, tilers, warehouses, watermen.

She's kind of 'state' patron in the Ruhr district (mine working!).
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 06:40 pm
My Mom has lived with me for the last 5 years as her health declined. Finally a few months ago, she fell and injured her leg. It was impossible to be sure we were providing the best medical care. Her needs were getting complicated and we couldn't get her to the doctor's office as often as she needed to go. So we made the decision to move her to a nursing home. It's a good home, not in appearance or amenities, but the staff is the best in town. They all have the kindest, most patient attitude, rare in an elder care giver. So I feel fortunate in that. But when I go to visit Mom, she says things to me like, "didn't you build a room for me at your house?" and "when are you coming to take me home?" When I visit, I stay a while and then I say I have to go and she says, "don't go." It's painful and sad. But I know I have to live my life and let her live hers. It's the only way. So I explain to her over and over again why it's not wise for her to live with me anymore. And I bring her jars of sour pickles because she craves them lately.

Next year I'm moving to New York City and I'll see her even less. But I can call and visit. It's easy to hop on a plane for the week end. So it's a painful chapter in our lives.......but it's a part of living. What else can we do?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 09:32 pm
As I've mentioned in an earlier post, my mother-in-law lives with us. My wife has three siblings, but the oldest brother does the least of them to help. Since grandma now is incontinent, our home smells like a toilet. I don't complain, because I want to support my wife every way I can. I need to walk outside often to get away from the smell. Other than that, it's not a problem. I have deoderants all over my computer desk, and in the bedroom. c.i.
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 09:38 pm
sounds like many of us are going through the same sorts of things, i know that very often i feel very isolated as if i am the only one doing this (parent care) we might very well form a support group right here on a2k
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:13 pm
Dys, I think this is a very good idea. Everytime I walk out the door at the nursing home, I have a sensation of guilt about being so glad it isn't me in there.
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Ethel2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:25 pm
c.i.

In the last year and a half that my mother lived with us, we had to have a full time attendant to help her. She was growing so unable to help herself. It never got to the point of smelling the urine, but the attendant, while very sweet and well intentioned, was a very loud talker and would not shut up! And she spoke very poor English besides. so she was talking obsessively and no one could understand what she was talking about. We all began to avoid the kitchen when she was there. And I realized that the kids (teenagers all) and I were holding up in our rooms, isolated. It was another reason we made the decision that it was time. Not only was it best for my Mom, but it was absolutely required for my children.

It's a difficult time of life. I had kids both early and late. I was 16 with the first and 35 and 38 with the next two. So I've been a mother almost all my life. Well, really longer than I've been an adult. So many of us have both children to help and parents as well. Sometimes I feel selfish because I want to be left alone. It's all difficult. And I agree with Dys. Sometimes I feel quite alone in this. It's a nice idea. Thanks Phoenix for this thread.
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:37 pm
mark
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 10:39 pm
When our mom could not care for herself, because she had Parkinsons, our younger brother took care of her. None of the others felt guilty, because he was the most financially able (ophthalmologist with his own offices with 29 docs working for him), and he got the best attention from mom when we were kids. It was a time when his own kids were still rather young, so as she became more demanding, I told him to put mom into a convalescent hospital. His wife told us she felt guilty, but I told them it was best for all - including mom. They did that, and about ten months later, she passed away. All my siblings were at her bedside except me, because they lived close by, and they didn't think she woiuld die. My wife and children visited about once a month when she was in the convalescent hospital. It kind of touched me, because our oldest son would hug my mom which I never did. c.i.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 12:05 am
I drive every day to my mother's.

She is been 'visited' by nurses three times dily (getting her up in the morning, for the tablets [only] at noon and then again at night).

Twice weekly someone (from the nurses institution) comes to clean the house, we engaged others for the garden.

All this is partly (nearly 50%) paid by the insurance.

But she refuses with all efforts to think about going to a senior residence. (And therefore, we had to engage the nurses more: see above).

I'm doing all the shopping, cooking and 'office work', but still leave her enough things to do (which I mostly have to arrange again).

I got used to it after half a year. I must admit, my wife (due to her bad health) doesn't have the 'nerves' to join me daily.
And my sister, living 400 km away, just gives 'good telephone advice'.

I got used to that as well.
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Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 05:04 am
dys- Good idea to start a support group here.

Lola- I really feel for what you are going through. I am at a little earlier stage with my mother, who will be 94 in Sept. She has had a problem with memory for the last few years, but was still able to function, with a lot of my help.

I really give you a lot of credit for taking care of you mother in your home for five years. IMO you have nothing to regret. There reaches a time where you need to weigh how much the care is affecting you and your family. I think that you did a wise thing by placing her in a facility, where she could get professional care, 24/7.

I never could have my mother live with me. I have too many unresolved issues with her. As it is, I cannot spend a few hours with her without becoming angry, and then I feel guilty about becoming mean.

In the last couple of months, I have noticed a slide in my mother, where she is becoming increasing confused, but in a spotty manner. When she sleeps well, she is fine. If she has a sleepless night, she is a total wreck the next day. She has a big bottle of Tylenol PM. I have told her to take one if she can't sleep..................but she always forgets. I think that it is just a matter of time, when I am going to have to move her to an assisted living place.

c.i.- What can I say? You deserve a medal. I can't imagine how you cope with the situation.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 11:41 am
The support group is a very good idea.

Lola, who doesn't feel guilt? Only sociopaths and psychopaths.

It's always easier to see the others than to see oneself.

My ex-wife takes care of her 91 year old father. A once strong man, he has senile dementia, is almost blind and can barely move. I have suggested her to move him to a nursing home, with financial help from her siblings, who live in the US (I was thinking, mostly, about my sons having to deal with and to care for their grandfather). She was stubborn with a bizarre argument: "he's going to die soon, anyway". The poor man hasn't.

Now that my mother had a brain stroke, I understand my ex-wife better. I have already toyed with the idea of sending mom "some day" to a nursing home, 'cause it's really strenous, but guilt appears instantly. No matter how logical it may seem to outsiders.

Then there is this terrible contradictory feeling. I get happy for every small improvement of her. At the same time I think: "this terrible situation for her and myself is going to last for years".
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 11:45 am
What most people don't understand is that patients tend to decline more rapidly in a nursing home, than they would do, if they were cared for in their own home or even the home of one of their children.

Decline is accelerated as memories fade and the feeling of being deserted is enhanced by the daily presence of strangers.

If at all possible, one should avoid nursing homes, for as long as possible, when caring for their loved ones. Also, as mentioned, homes are very expensive. In Massachusetts, the average cost is about $90,000/year for a good nursing home.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 11:52 am
my mother in law is also suffering from senile dementia. She often times doesn't know whether it's night or day, and she'll come into the kitchen to be fed breakfast in the evening hours. c.i.
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New Haven
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 11:59 am
Would it better, that we all die young and thus avoid all the unpleasantness associated with old age?
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