Discussion in 'Caregivers' started by Rosie03, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. Rosie03

    Rosie03 New Member

    Before I start, I love my aunt dearly and do not want to get rid of her; BUT!!! She is so depressed and wants to go home, to Oklahoma; I've been watching her and feel with home health care she would be alright, for awhile; how long, I don't know. She doesn't wander; after breakfast, she retreats to the couch where she stubbornly sits and broods all day, until I call her for lunch or something else. She did the same thing at home, but when I went to get her, the neighbors had reported to me she was wandering around the yard with her (recently deceased...1 week prior to) her husband's wallet. She thought he got in his truck and drove away. Since coming here, she's had NO hallucinations. Her friends and neighbors don't want her to return home; But I think I should at least try and see if she can function on her own, with home health supervision; Her worst symptom is hiding keys. I'd appreciate anyone's input. I guess her disease is mild to moderate. She does forget things, like getting up through the night to take her dog out; she doesn't remember things like that. Thanks. Sharon
  2. tom-r

    tom-r New Member

    First you need to get it through your head that Loving you aunt isn't the problem here, if you didn't love your aunt in the begining you probably wouldn't be taking care of her now.

    It sounds like you need to check on an assisted living esablishment for your aunt, either back home or near you. There are good ones that do a good job with the activities and keeping an eye on the residents.

    There is high and low income types. About her going back home on her own well if you think she is capable then I think that I would let her do it, if she wants to bad enough she could make your life pretty bad if you don't.

    There might even be an orginization that could keep an eye on her, you know check on occasionaly.

    Hope this helps some, I know I don't have all the answers but maybe it will give you something to think about. Don't forget if you don't have your health you won't beable to help anybody or even your self.

  3. Rosie03

    Rosie03 New Member

    Tom: thanks for your reply; I've checked on assisted living around here and if there are any low income, I can't find them. My aunt gets less than 750.00 a month; meds are better than 200.00. You are right. She can make life miserable. My mother doesn't help. We live with her because she has Parkinson's. She and my aunt seem to be about neck in neck in the mental dept. It's really hard, but what's hardest, is we've given up our lives to care for two widows; neither of which is willing to give up their own personal home; but they live 150 miles apart. I've tried to persuade my mother to let us buy a home in Oklahoma and she live with us, but noooooo. My aunt doesn't want to give up her home either. Some days I feel sorry for her and others, I resent her. She thinks her "good neighbors" will help her; her neighbors are VERY good and helped with her husband for at least three years; they're weary and I don't blame them. She doesn't seem to be able to grasp the concept that they have lives of their own. But I'm thinking of letting her try it in a month or so. Just have to see how she does. Thanks, Tom; You seem to have a lot of experience and always sound so level headed. God bless you and make your cross a little lighter to bear. Sharon
  4. tom-r

    tom-r New Member

    have you checked with the state? If you haven't that might be a place to check, our states web page has lists of people to contact to get the information from.

    Sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place, I'll be keeping you in my prayers.

  5. paintergal

    paintergal New Member

    Hi Sharon.

    I've been in your shoes in many ways. My Mom would not consider selling her home, pulling up her life and moving across the country for anything. Except if I were to tell her she could live with me. Then you would have seen a big blur where she once stood if I ever did. I kept a close eye on her and was in contact with her Doc. When I noticed (as you are witnessing now with your Aunt), my mother beginning to display evidence of dementia while living alone, I knew I had to get creative convincing her to leave. She was stubborn and set in her ways like nothing I've ever seen. I asked all her neighbors and close relatives to begin coming over to visit and help start going through her things to sort and give away. They brought over boxes and they organized several weekends with her to do this, all the while saying how jealous they were that she was moving to live close to me in a warm climate where there was no snow, flowers year round, etc. They talked about the move like it was a done deal already and gradually, she bought into it.

    If your Aunt is staying with you, do you have power of attorney - general and for healthcare? If you don't, who does? If no one does, maybe you should look into that soon if you intend to remain her guardian.

    What Tom suggested is a great idea. The State can offer a lot of assistance in the way of care solutions depending upon your Aunt's situation. I might add if your Aunt has assets like bank accounts or property in her name, it may be difficult to allow the State to assume her care in the case of Medicaid benefits. If she was considered destitute, she might be eligible for benefits that could help you out such as day care services, personal items such as diapers when the time comes (and it will if it hasn't already) even board and care and maybe respite so you can have some time to yourself. However, as long as she has assets in her name, she will not be eligible for Medicaid benefits and any such luxuries must be paid by her directly or through the individual with power of attorney until she does become eligible.

    You may want to consult with an estate or elder attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state regarding such matters. I know this sounds harsh, but if your Aunt is reluctant to admit she requires help, you or someone else may be able to step in to attain conservatorship which will allow you to handle her care both healthwise and financially because she is unable to do so effectively and safely in the eyes of the court.

    Also, stop and consider this... if you're tinking "I don't want to go through all that legal's too much trouble and I don't have time," then think about this. You may find yourself still going through what you're experiencing now maybe for the next 10 years. Only then it'll be 10 times worse because she won't be getting any better and you'll be 10 years older, too. Do what you can legally now while she still has her wits about her for the most part. Once you have that paper, you will be able to manage things more effectively.

    As far as the rate of your Aunt's mental deterioration, let me say this. My Mom went from a stage 2 dementia to a stage 7 in less than a year. She experienced a series of small strokes and had several hospitalizations that brought her down in record time. This could happen to your Aunt, too. If you let her go back home, she could fall and break her hip and be alone, unable to get to a phone to call for help. It could happen. And you may blame yourself for not taking appropriate steps to insure her safety for her own good.

    Denial is a dreadful thing. No one wants to believe they can't be what they once were or have what they once had. They don't realize the pain and frustration they put their loved ones through when they are no longer able to care for themselves. Sometimes as difficult and cruel it may seem at the time, we must try to accomplish what is truly in their best interests, and ours and our family's, too.

    This is not an easy time for you, Sharon. Maybe your state can suggest an attorney who can help you sort this dilemma out. Talk to a professional who knows the law.

    My best to you,
  6. Nsearch

    Nsearch New Member

    You aren't alone. I read your post and knew, though I feel alone constantly. I'm a 46 yr. old female that moved from my place cross country to come home to care for my widowed 87 yr. old mother who has had 3 small strokes (continues to have them) and dementia, progressively getting worse.
    My life..well, as I knew it and all the joy in it....has stopped existing.
    I'm here. Living in a home I never thought of as home caring for a woman I was never close to. I don't "know" her as my mother. We never did the mother/daughter things, there was no connection between us and we never once in my entire life saw eye to eye on anything.
    Yet, I am here because no one else wanted to be. The family members that live close by with beautiful homes refused. They did not want an "old woman" around. The caretakers from the state tried to steal (and some did with charges pressed) from her when they were here taking care of her.
    I am tired, exhausted, frightened, lost, exasperated, empty, and alone....yet, I push forward with her.
    She also refused to move. Can I blame her? This is her home. I was born here. She raised a family, loved her husband (my father) of 65 years and is dealing with the end of her journey.
    Just remember something. No one "chooses" to grow old or ill. No one "chooses" to be forced into situation that would be alien to them. No one "chooses" for family members to turn their backs and consider them a burden and no one live in fear or the unknown.
    I write these words now and look back at the screen and even find it hard to believe that is me. I've walked away from a career, my own home, friends, business associates to come here and provide for her to the best of my God given ability (and I am not religious)to help this woman. A mother, a wife, a child herself once with a rich history of mememories she only can reflect upon now.
    My mother was a young, attractive military wife. She had friends and family, ups and downs, fears and passion, love and trust, work and different than the rest of us.
    And, here she is now. Dependent, afraid, not being able to remember, widowed, abandoned by her children, needing me to help her bathe.....or even get off a chair sometimes.
    I'm not special nor unique nor will ever claim to be. I am angry sometimes of which I called, "redlined" and filled with resentment.
    But someone once wrote me an email. A stranger and they said, "Your anger, resentment, frustration, fears, denial, all of it, has no place here. It doesn't matter. What matters is what you are doing to care for this human being, this woman that has no one at all but you"
    I gave up trying to move my mother to another state. Why? This is her home.
    If she sits and holds my fathers watch or his wallet, or walks around with his photo in her hand....I let her. This was her "love", her husband, father of her children, her life. Love...her love. How can I try to take that from her?
    She misses him. Have you not ever loved someone that you lost and not to dying...perhaps an ending of a relationship taht you never fell out of love with?
    I still carry the photo of my ex (now 9 years) in my's just hope, love, compassion. My ground wire.
    If she wants to go home....maybe there is a deeper underlying need to. You<see an aging ill woman, but who is she on the inside? Do you really know? Do you know her memories (no, you didn't live them), her love of life, her youth, her home? No.
    When my grandmother wanted to go was because she knew she was going to pass unknown to all of us. I was eleven then. I watched it all from a window at a nieghbors house as my own mother had to deal with it all.
    Im rambling. I apologize. Seriously.
    Im tired.
    Just know this. She is a human being. A woman that has lived life and never, never in a million years saw her<life ending up like this. Love her, hug her, let her do what she needs to do no matter how ridiculous it may seem to you with a watchful, caring eye so as not to hurt herself.
    If she talks of her childhood or the past>let her. It's "hers", not yours.
    If she rambles of things that don't make sense to you, but do to her...listen as though they do.

    I'm learning this all by myself. With a woman I am not close to. They tell me I will be blessed. Im not looking for that and I don't know if that ever will be. All I know, is there is a reason I am here with her..and even though I can't see it, hear it or taste it...I am here.
    Just be still. From will know.