My mother was living with my sister but moved in with me after my sister passed away. That was 10 years ago. Aside from a bad case of stubbornness, she was healthy. Then. Lately, though, her legs and her mind have gotten weaker and she’s been falling quite a bit. In the past couple years, she’s fallen, at least a half dozen times – that we know of. She doesn’t always tell us, which is a problem in itself.
Recently, she fell and it took us awhile to get to her – (1) she didn’t call out and (2) she had locked the door to her room. It wasn’t until lunch time, that we found out she had fallen and only because I knocked on her door to call her to lunch. When we finally got in, we found her on the floor. My husband carried her to the bed with her crying out in pain. X-rays, thankfully, revealed no broken bones – the diagnosis was that she probably pulled/bruised her hip/pelvis really badly. Now, she can’t get on/off the bed or walk by herself. That was a week ago. However, her condition seemed to have gone downhill pretty quickly about 3 days ago. She didn’t want to eat solids because she said it made her mouth sticky so we’ve been feeding her Ensure. And even then, she’s not taking in a lot – she just doesn’t want to.
Then she’s not calling us when she needs to go to the bathroom. After she soiled the bed a few times, we finally had to get her Depends. The bigger concern for us is that she doesn’t seem to know/realize she’s already gone. When we take her to the bathroom is when we discover the Depends is full. Sometimes very full. Prior to needing the Depends 3 days ago, she would always call us when she needed to go. The point I’m trying to make is she KNEW to call us. The docs wrote it off as she’s in pain and just didn’t want to move to go to the bathroom. That’s fine but that doesn’t address the part where she didn’t know/realize she had gone in the Depends or that she had soiled herself. Speaking of not knowing/realizing … we bought a wireless doorbell so she could call us when she needed something. There are times when she’s pressing the button and when we walk in the room, she’s got a death grip on the doorbell button but doesn’t realize she’s doing it. When I tell her she’s been ringing frantically, she says no, she’s not called for us as she’s staring at the doorbell button in her hand.
I work full time. My husband works full time but telecommutes from home. We both also travel for work quite a bit throughout the year. I took time off when my mom fell but have since then returned to work so that left my poor husband at home with her. My husband has been so supportive and wonderful during this entire ordeal. He’s helped me carry/lift her from the bed/to the bed/walk/etc. I just don’t feel it’s fair to keep “imposing” on him like this. He’s family but she’s not his mother. I think his level of caregiving stops at a more generic level than what he’s been asked to do here. Normally, it’s not a problem. She was mobile and she did her thing while he did his thing from the home office. When he made lunch for himself or went to grab lunch, he would make sure she had lunch too. It wasn’t a big deal. But now that she’s not able to move herself and needs help going to the bathroom, the situation is very different. She won’t let him help her to the bathroom and I understand that. He is the son-in-law. You don’t want your son-in-law seeing you in such an “intimate” situation. She barely wanted me to see her like that. But not letting my husband help her also means she stews in her soiled Depends until I’m home from work. That does not work at all.
We’ve been discussing this and we’re at a loss as to what to do. Even after she heals from this fall, her constant falling will still be an issue. We think it might be time to consider a nursing facility for my mom but are concerned about what that would do to her emotionally/mentally. We are also not quite sure that a nursing facility is the right answer just yet – we’re struggling emotionally with that question too. Logically, we know she’ll be able to get the care and attention in a nursing facility that we’re not able to provide her. Emotionally, it feels like we’re abandoning her. Another problem is that she’s uninsured. My mom has never worked here so she’s not eligible for Medicare, having not paid into the system. I tried signing her up for Obamacare but it took 19 days before I even got to a page that didn’t say sorry, too many people are accessing the system right now. I’m still having problems with the website just to complete the account creation. Someone suggested I get her on Medicaid in order to put her in a nursing facility asap. I don’t know how long that will take or if she is even eligible for Medicaid. How would I get her on Medicaid? Who do I talk to? I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown here. I don’t want to abandon her but I also don’t want her not to get the care she needs. We can cancel upcoming business trips temporarily but not forever. How do we provide for her and keep our jobs so we can continue to provide for her? Am I even making any sense here?? I feel like I’m just going in circles with no solution in sight. I hope somebody can please provide some insight because I really do feel like I’m about to have a breakdown here.