Mom not doing well....UPDATE

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, Nov 28, 2007.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    My mom stayed with me for the month of September and while she was with us, I think she had a stroke. She is a (very) large woman and I couldn't force her to see my DR - just to have her blood levels checked so we'd know for sure. My sister (M) in PA, who she lives near, promised she'd get mom to the DR when she returned at the end of Sept (which would be about 2 weeks after I think she had the stroke), but M never got mom there because her H's brother went into a coma and they were driving back and forth from PA to Albany non-stop. So, mom never went to the DR at all. She outright refused to cooperate and I truly think it's because she knew something was not quite right and didn't want to go through the battery of tests, medications, etc. She is 85 by the way.

    So, in early November she went to stay with my sister (S) in WV for a little over a week and while she was there, S noted the same changes that I did - loss of memory, in and out clarity, sporadic loss of continence, really bad forgetfullness, etc. She took mom to her DR and the DR took mom off her lipitor, which she's been on for 5 years since her 5-bypass surgery. The DR said there is no reason or benefit of mom continuing this drug at 85 and after this much time since her surgery. Mom got better in regards to her incontinence off the drug for the remainder of her stay with S.

    Immediately following this visit with S, mom went to my brother's (E) house in NY for the week of Thanksgiving and my brother also noticed the same changes in her memory and called me concerned because I had called him back in Sept.

    Immediately from NY my sister (T) took mom home with her to here in CT where she is supposed to stay until after Christmas. I visited there yesterday and T gave me a blow by blow report on mom's "progress", right in front of my mom, which I really didn't like as it makes me feel like we're talking about her like she is the family pet and doesn't understand what we're saying. Everytime my mom would try to interject something, T would talk over her and tell me how great my mom is doing, that her memory is so much better now that she's there and eating right and on a schedule, :badmood:! And she put mom back on the lipitor, without any DR input.

    Well, while I was there, I do not think mom is any better than she was when she was with me. In fact, I think she seems worse. Today, easy child went to visit my mom before she heads back to school and she immediately called me and told me how startled she is by gramma's loss of memory. easy child said she could never get further than 3 topics of discussion because within a minute or so, mom was asking the same questions. She kept asking easy child how long it took her to get there, she forgot my H's name, couldn't remember that I still worked with brother in law or lived in CT. I mean, it scared the heck out of easy child. She was clearly upset over the phone.

    S, M, E and I all feel that mom should be placed into some type of assisted living place, though none of us are in a position to afford that. I know nothing about the financial circumstances or the way the state takes power of attorney, etc. And T seems to be in denial about the extent of my mom's illness. She does not have alzheimers. She has senility - it only just started but it's progressed so fast. She forget things, sometimes things she puts on the stove. I think part of the reason she doesn't cook for herself anymore is because she's afraid she will forget and start a fire. Toast is safer so she mostly lives on toast and tea and little bad meals that do not need to be cooked like cold cuts or pre-made things she buys at the store. Before any of this mom bought a scooter and now we're all petrified she's going to take it out in the colder weather and hurt herself or another, or possibly get lost! I got the impression that T feels that within this one month stay she will be able to reverse mom's years of abuse and neglect and make her whole again - NOT going to happen! I wasn't even able to have a real conversation with mom at all yesterday because T kept yapping and telling me how 'GREAT mom is doing!". Ugh. Mom is not doing great and as much as it pains me to say it, I pray she dies peacefully in her sleep. My family is so dysfunctional that it will be near impossible to sit together and come up with a viable solution for mom. My other siblings are so afraid to go up against T and I don't know if they will back down against her or finally stand up to her.

    What do we do?
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    You all need to have a family meeting and decide together what should be done. Vote on it. T will be outvoted and that's the end of that.

    When husband's grandmother went into the nursing home after the hospital, the family delt with a social worker. Perhaps there is a social worker that can help you with the decisions and guide you in the right direction for your mom and the entire family.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    That's the thing, Loth, we're all over the place - I don't know how we'd all get together. I guess we could try doing a conference call. And the first step would likely be having my sister in PA contacting the Dept of Aging to find out what services are available or if she can be assigned a caseworker.

    Thanks for mentioning the social worker, that really helped.
  4. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    I really feel for you Jo. wife went through something similar with her mom, wife basically took care of her for two years while her sisters were in denial. They finally saw the light when my m-i-l slugged my f-i-l (she thought he had kidnapped her) and hurt him pretty bad (he is very frail). Hopefully, the rest of the siblings can all get together and overrule T. Prayers for you and your mom.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    This was the one time I was glad I was an only child.

    My grandmother may or may not have had alzheimers...we arent sure but she did have some form of dementia. She sounds similar to your mother. She was very forgetful and confused and lost much of the time. At the end we had to bring her to live with my mom and then we found that she had a tumor in her brain. They didnt think the dementia had much to do with the dementia though. It did have something to do with her eyesight problems.

    You guys need to sit down with a social worker all together. Maybe you and your other siblings can look at some of the assisted living facilities and decide on one you like and then talk to a social worker at that one and then have her be a facilitator with your sister T and your mom. I dont know what your mothers financial situation is. In some instances medicare and medicaid will pay for the institution. By the time my mom ended up in a nursing home she went through all her resources and was on social security only. Medicaid kicked in when she entered a nursing home. Go talk to social services.
  6. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Does anyone have power of attorney or the ability to make medical decisions for your mom?
    If not, none of you have authority over the other.
    Mom needs to pick someone to be in charge of her needs. Doesn't mean that person does all the work but has final say.

    Truthfully, at 85 moving from one home to the other has to be so disconcerting. Can't she stay for longer lengths of time? 2 months at each?

    I took my dad in after his first stroke. He stayed for 3 yrs. I made the decision on my own and had no expectation from my siblings. Fortunately 3 of the 4 other sibs pitched in so I could have a day off. By the end of 3yrs and 6 strokes later, he required a fair amount of supervised care. My sibs were grateful that it was given and did everything they could to make my job easier.
    My dad made one child in charge of his medical decisions(me) It had nothing to do with estate planning or money. Just medical care. Your mom needs one. Quickly.

    Heck if your sister thinks she can heal her in a month. Tell her go for it. A month isn't going to make a difference. Let your sister work it out. Talk to this sister about talking to mom about medical power of attorney. If sis is it, fine. The rest of you will have to abide by mom's choice. If T isn't the person, then she needs to take a deep breath.

    The woman is 85 and shouldn't be pinged ponged medically from who gives medications and who doesn't. It's unsafe.
  7. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks. My sister M, in PA has power of attorney over all my mom's financial affairs - I am not sure about medical. I will call her tonight and find out the details and see if she's spoken with anyone at the PA Dept of Aging. She has a friend who works in that governmental deptartment so she is supposed to gather some information for us. I am thinking that if at least 4 out of the 5 of us are on the same page, we will overrule T.

    Ironically, T has been fairly neglectful of mom over the years and so it's kind of strange that now she's acting like Florence Nightingale, Know what I mean?? I was thinking that if we couldn't have mom placed anywhere (for financial reasons or otherwise) we should all step up to the plate and take her quarterly or something (I say quarterly because my brother really doesn't have space for her at his house). The only problem with that is that if all her aid is through PA, how will that work with CT and WV? Will we have to reapply in each state, start from scratch each time she moves, etc. on the other hand, she is already on Medicaire, so as far as DR's go, she could viably have DR's here and there. I guess these are questions a social worker can answer best.

    Thanks again.
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Fran and I are on the same wave length. Now is the time to make
    sure that the documentation is up to date and complete for all financial matters, medical matters AND treatment directives. It
    can be horrendous when siblings have to make decisions like "tube
    or no tube" etc. If your Mom has any assets they could cause some issues for government help with financing care.

    I'm glad you have a designated PofA. That should help alot.
    I'll remember your Mom in my thoughts and prayers. DDD
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks for the prayers, DDD.

    My mom really only lives off her SS. She doesn't have a car, lives in a rent controlled apt with some HUD assistance in PA. She wants for nothing, squirrels away some money each month (she so afraid we won't be able to afford her burial-lol) for her funeral costs and miscellaneous things.

    I think living alone has also taken its toll on her mind as well. Being alone all that time every day, week after week, leaves your brain feeling dull and unstimulated, Know what I mean?? She was an avid reader and loved doing crossword puzzles and playing scrabble but over the course of this fall, all of those things fell by the wayside. It's so sad to see this happening, especially at such a fast pace.
  10. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    Obviously she has a lot of problems and you have a lot of issues to deal with but one of the side effects of lipitor is short term memory loss and in a few people it is quite severe.
  11. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Gosh Jo...been there done that. I had power of attorney over my grandmother for many years. She refused to leave her home, but in the end we had to force the matter. She was living in 1940, yet it was 2000. Not my dad or any other of my siblings stepped up to the plate. (She WAS an old cuss.) :smile:

    Family meeting is in order. It's a tough ordeal, but if no one chooses to take charge, then it will be your choice as to whether you will do so. Finances are so hard. I feel for you.

  12. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    JoG, must be a Pa. thing about paying for one's own funeral. My mother won't get a hearing aid because she wants to pay for her funeral. (her real reason is she is so vain as to not want a hearing aid)

    If you go to the website
    you probably could find out a lot of your answers in the faq page.
    Collect some info, go to AARP sites to have some questions answered. Gather information before you sit down to make a plan. She may be eligible for senior assisted living. She won't be alone and will be with a group of her peers. I think many of them are wonderful. I don't know how it works with SSI unfortunately.
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks for the info Fran - I will check it out!

    I don't know what it is about old people and their funerals. I always used to ask my mother in her clearer moments, "Mom, you'll be dead - why do you care?" and she would laugh her rear end off! But, of course, then she would go right back to squerreling her money away...she keeps it in coffee cans in her freezer for goodness sakes!!
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I admire you for having to face this battle. I dearly loved the point you made about NOT talking in front of your Mom like she was the family pet. Your Mom raised a great daughter (and friend) in you. That said - why don't you talk to your Mom and tell her now before she gets worse your concerns.

    Tell her you would like her to see a Dr. and why. She may just need some (simple) thing or maybe be started on Aricept. Hard to tell we're not Dr.s

    Your compassion and love for your Mom is really touching. She's lucky to have you. And as far as someone in your family saying "She seems better?" Hogwashcloth. Get her evaluated, see what can be done - talk to the doctor, go from there.

  15. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    This is going to sound awful, but unfortunately I speak from a painful family experience.

    Does your mom have a will? Is it concrete? Where does T stand in the will? I would be very watchful that T doesn't take her to an attorney and have her change the will. Long story short, this happened with my great aunt and uncle who were 78 and 85. She had alzheimers and he had a severely debilitating stroke. Neighbors took her to a lawyer, cut off the family, and in the end the argument was made - successfully in that we had to settle rather than let the lawyers eat up the estate that they needed to pay for their medical care - that she had been competent when she went to the attorney (talked to him for 1.2 hours, he was paid $32,000 for talking daily to the neighbors for 2.5 months), competent to hire the neighbors at the rate of 40 hours a day, 24 hours a day for 2.5 months ($72,000) (how on earth did she wander off and get brought to the police station by a stranger in her jammies on a rainy November night?); competent to sign over their truck and boat, and only "developed alzheimer's as a result of the family's interference with her wishes" because we didn't have a diagnosis on paper before they took her to the attorney's office. Her "sudden deterioration due to family influence" made her incompetent to fire the attorney or the neighbors. The neighbors made fast friends with the idiot Senior Services worker, who admitted that they were convicted felons, but were sure that the neighbors had Betsy and Ron's (Their names were Bessie and Rod) best interest at heart because the wife is "such a dear person".

    Auntie died while in their care, and Uncle lived unable to speak or communicate in any way for 6 years in a less than fabulous nursing home after they had to spend down what was left of their life savings in order to pay for.

    Do what you can to get mom diagnosis'd before brother dearest takes her to a lawyer.
  16. HereWeGoAgain

    HereWeGoAgain Grandpa

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JoG</div><div class="ubbcode-body">... squerreling her money away...she keeps it in coffee cans in her freezer for goodness sakes!! </div></div>

    And what was the address again? Just kidding.

    My grandmother stashed cash in the freezer too. The freezer was for meat, my granddad kept some cattle after he retired and they'd slaughter a cow now and then and store the meat in the freezer. The money was wrapped in butcher paper in bundles in the bottom. So one time there was a severe storm that knocked out the power for several days. The meat thawed and spoiled, and all that nasty runoff contaminated the cash. So my dad and mom cleaned out the freezer and ran the cash through my grandma's washing machine and hung it in the kitchen on clotheslines to dry. They were literally guilty of money laundering!

    (PS I don't mean to make light of your situation, I know it is very distressing.)
  17. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    I do think that communicating with sibs was the biggest reason we didn't fight and argue. I was up front from day one about what I was doing and what the expectations were. If any of them had a problem they were free to take over the chore. I gave them frequent financial updates on dad's health and finances. Nothing left to wonder or gossip about.
    I threatened to haunt them if they ever accused me of mishandling funds or using them for anyone but dad.
    They were grateful that someone took the brunt of the responsibility and were more than happy to do their part.
    I think all of us were reasonable and I worked hard to keep the emotional component turned way down. No one is getting rich on what your mom has or my dad. It's not worth alienating my sibs.
    Keeping things clear so that concern over mom's health and well being are not confused with her pitiful SSI.

    Good luck. It is really a fine line we walk with adult siblings and aging parents. Just ask yourself "what the right thing for mom" and go from there.
  18. Ephchap

    Ephchap Active Member


    I totally understand as I have been going through similar circumstances with my mom.

    She lived alone after my dad passed away. I had just about convinced her to move into a brand new senior apartment (independent living, but they have since added on an assisted living wing as well), when my difficult child brother got divorced and moved in with her.

    She stayed in that house and rarely went out. Her life revolved around my difficult child brother. When he fell off the wagon after 11 years of sobriety, things got really bad.

    I eventually brought her to my house to stay for 3 months and then she agreed to the indepenent senior apartment building.

    She has gone through some dementia and we're working through it, but it hasn't been easy.

    In my mom's case, she had the money (thank you, dad) to be able to get ito something like she did, but I do know that there are government assisted places too - that base your "rent" on your income.

    I'm sharing the story of my mom because I've seen a vast improvement in mom in many ways. Although the dementia has been scary, she's among people her own age. They have a dining room there and she has dinner with people every evening. Four days a week, she knows goes up to their exercise room and exercises. She takes the facility's van and goes to church once a week.

    Having others around her has done wonders, not to mention the activities.

    I agree with Fran that her bouncing from one place to another for such short stays is probably very hard on her, not to mention unsafe since she's being medicated and then not medicated.

    Once you have a family meeting or conference call (and I totally agree that this is necessary), see if there is a senior health center that she can get an assessment at. I finally made an appointment for my mom at a large hospital near us that has a senior health center. She was seen by a gerantologist who is a specialist in dealing with the aged. They ran many tests on her, testing memory, etc. in addition to running a ct scan. There was a social worker that sat in on the family meeting with us before her appointment, and after - when they discussed the results.

    It was very helpful to have a full evaluation done.

    I understand your concern and know how hard it is to see your mom going downhill. If I can help in any way, feel free to PM me, even if it's just a shoulder to lean on.

    Sending hugs your way,
  19. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I threatened to haunt them if they ever accused me of mishandling funds or using them for anyone but dad.

    I remember meeting your dad, Fran. I don't think he'd ever let anything like that happen. :smile: You might be old, but you're still a tough cuss.

  20. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Jo, so sorry!

    I agree, a family mtng over the ph is a good idea.
    Have a list of Q & statements and suggestions ready so it doesn't veer off course.

    Strokes do cause memory loss, some temporary, some permanent. At your mom's age, I would assume this is not going to get any better.

    been there done that! You've gotten some good advice and ideas here. Good luck.