Life is full of difficult decisions that impact our lives. Usually our choice is not between good and bad but good and best. Or average and great.
My most difficult decision was putting my mom in a nursing home. Today they are called skilled nursing facilities. I so wanted her to live out her final days at our home surrounded by people who love her. This was my plan for as long as I can remember. With every home we have always prepared a guest room so that we would be prepared when my mom joined us.
Mom was with us less than a year before needing 2 hospital stays with the last resulting in rehab. I sought out the best rehab I could find when her primary physician finally suggested I accept that mom was on a spiral decline and would need skilled nursing 24/7. At first I felt like a failure for not being able to meet all of her needs. It didn’t help that one sibling didn’t understand or like that “I” was putting her in a nursing home and made it clear she would not have anything to do with my decision to do so. She is not updated on her condition because she does not call, email or text us for her health updates. I wanted to tell her that mom cannot walk and needs 2 people to assist her going to to the bathroom, that she needs a lift to get her in and our of bed, she needs help eating, shower assistance and all of these things require special machines and equipment that we do not have. Basically mom cannot do anything on her own. It would be impossible for one person to meet her needs. Home nursing is expensive. We could not afford to pay for 24/7 care and neither could she. So yes I chose to put my mom that I adore in a nursing home.
My greatest regret is that I did not insist my mom move in with us 4 years ago. We were looking for a home with a private bedroom and bath on a first floor home. We found one that would work perfectly for mom. Large room, den & private bath for her. My husband was thrilled that when mom moved in with us she could save all of her money in case she needed it in her latter years for private nurses. If she had done this, today she would have $96,000.00 for her nursing care while living at my home. Yes. $96,000.00. Today if mom had financial resources she would have better options. She could live with us because she could afford home health care 24/7 She would be surrounded by people who love her. She would have good healthy food to eat, immediate help going to the bathroom when needed, and shower when she desired. It’s also possible that her dementia might not have progressed so rapidly because she may not have had the 3 hard falls hitting here head. Each fall was at a facility. But 4 years ago a relative who knew we were buying a home with room for mom, moved her belongings to a retirement community while she was in the hospital. This was done without my mom being asked or my knowledge. It was also during this 4 year period that I discovered her primary caregiver had embezzled thousands of dollars from her bank account until there was nothing left.
We do not regret that mom moved to Fairhope. She has a family member visit every other day for 1-3 hours. Mom has never had that many family visits. She has good days and bad. Mom usually remembers my family and I unless she is tired. She will forget my older son who is at college. We look at photos at every visit. She does not know the names of the faces in the pictures. On a great day she might recognize a face in the book. She tires easily. I visit all times of the day and night and have learned what the best times for her are. Today she didn’t feel like taking. She wanted to sleep so I just sat with her and held her hand.