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  1. #21
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    May. 21, 2012
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    My mom recently got a job teaching art at a local nursing home- It's kind of neat, when she was pitching her program- she asked them to not use art in the name of the program (I can'r remember what she called it- experiments and decisions or something like that) she thought that a lot of people, in the course of their life, have gitten the idea that "I am no good at art." and she just wanted to sidestep all that baggage and just have some fun... so even at the nursing home- a real fresh start. The projects that she's offering are so simple that even people with limited mental or physical abilities are able to make something.

    Another sweet nursing home story- an elderly aunt of a friend has alzheimers, and never had any children, now at the nursing home she wound up with a little native american girl doll who she called her baby and held and cuddled 24/7, Being mother to the doll brings her MUCH joy. Well, the doll was porcelain and wound up getting broken. The nurses tried to substitute a pudgy white baby baby doll and it didn't work so well, really threw her off she was distrissed and confused, "this isn't my baby" etc... (heartbreaking really) The family was in a tizzy trying to find a suitable dark skinned black haired doll for their aunt- and my daughter had one... another friend had a piece of indian print cloth and we sewed her up a dress and took it right over to the nursing home and the new native american girl was accepted seamlessly and with a big (and slightly wobbly) smile. so- even though the thought of not knowing the difference between a real baby and a doll is very very sad... the fact is- she feels a very real happy emotion when she strokes that dolls hair and looks at her face.

    From the outside looking in- and I'm not just talking about losing it physically, but mentally as well- it might seem like a hopeless state of being...and for some people it may be- but it's also possible that there is an inner world experienced that is very much worth living... if that is the case- I think the hope and the attitude of the caregivers is a major player in the quality of life. (Meaning that- I hope that my caretakers don't "check out" before I do.... that even if I can't speak, or swallow... that they would be so kind as to place a bird feeder outside my window and open the blinds in the morning.)



  2. #22
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    Jul. 23, 2003
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    S.A. - my post may just be food for thought more than anything, but I've spent more than a few times in nursing homes and I've never felt comfortable. I have always walked with away with a cloud of depression over me. I read something a few years ago that kind of brought it full circle for me though. I don't remember what magazine it was in, but a parallel was made between those who are in mental institutions to those who are in nursing homes. Not ever having walked through a mental institution, it was something of an eye opener for me. Most of the people there are younger than those in a nursing home, but the differences end there. They are all waiting, hoping for a miracle, hoping for some drug or medication or even psychiatric therapy to give them a life they once had...or never had but only hoped for. For some, they were beyond hope; they simple accepted and existed from day to day.

    The article also tried to communicate that just as we try to learn from those who are mentally handicapped, we also have much to learn from the elderly. Those lives shouldn't be tucked away to die, they all deserve to be honored and loved. Instead, our society shuns them all to a certain degree, pretends they no longer exist and forgets about them.

    I've read the little verbage concerning how our society is measured dependent on how we treat our animals and while this is true, I think it should also be measured in how we treat both our mentally challenged as well as our elderly. I don't think we're measuring up well at all in any of those departments.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.



  3. #23
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    Jun. 18, 2007
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    The man I dated last a few years ago worked at a funeral home. You don't think of them being "on call" like police and fire, but yes, somebody worked every night on the switchboard to take calls, and another person was the designated body-getter. Anyway, BF frequently had to go get bodies in the night. We got to talking about nursing homes one day, and he said he gets an entirely different perspective on that. Nobody's trying to impress the man taking a body out the back door at 3:00 a.m. He said there are nursing homes that are as nice as a nursing home can be, and there are some he wouldn't want a pet rock of his in.

    I already knew Mom's nursing home was a good one from the eight years with her parents, and he approved of it when I gave him the name. But it's a very valid point. Comparison shop to pieces - Mom and Grandad did this years ago when Grandmother was the first to hit the line. They toured over 10, and Mom the lifelong medical field worker was conducting the interviews. Don't just pick the closest. Even if you visit every day, the staff will be spending more time with your loved one than you will.



  4. #24
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    Oct. 11, 2002
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    Colorado
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    My uncle was "Mr. Military" and went to a Veterans nursing home when he could no longer live at home. As a childless horsewoman, that was an eye opener for me. He was among friends there, and everyone knew the same people or had been posted at the same bases. They had a lot to talk about. I would like to try and develop small scale assisted living, and even nursing homes aimed at equestrians in equestrian areas of the country, so I will not end up the one with no common conversation topics, with no children visiting or grandchildren to talk about.
    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com



  5. #25
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    Mar. 8, 2004
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    Baltimore, MD
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    Even the nice ones are awful because it truly is a warehouse for the waiting to die. The bad ones are unimaginable. I am an EMT and I can tell what type of place it is as as soon as we open the front door. If you are met with a whiff of pee, it's a bad one. I think I am going to start doing heroin or whatever the drug of the day is at the time if I ever have to go into a nursing home.



  6. #26
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    This nursing home is on a large complex that starts with houses and goes through the full spectrum of care. It's less than 10 minutes from our house. We've known some of the staff over 10 years. We know things are different if we "sneak" in from another wing rather than signing in at the ward nurses station.

    We've had our battles. The enemy we know is better than the enemy we don't know. My husband has a far reaching reputation and we feel bad for the residents who have no one to advocate for them. No one to call the nurse's station when MIL calls and says she rang the call button half hour ago and no one has come. No one to challenge them when they write down in the log that a bath has been given and it has not been.



  7. #27
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    Jul. 14, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4Martini View Post
    Do you have a mello dog they would let visit her? I was really surprised that they let us bring our dog to visit DH's grandfather in the nursing home. He lectured us that we shouldn't have a dog there, but at the same time wouldn't stop petting her. We got a lot of smiles from other residents too. It's amazing how much healing a pet can bring. I hope your MIL is on the mend soon.
    When my daughters were in 4-H our Community 4-H club use to visit the nursing home once a month with an assortment of animals. Bantam hens, dogs, goats, cats and horses. The hens were always a hit because all the residents had hens growing up. The cats were either a hug hit or miss. For the poorest people growing up cats were a varmint who competed for food with the family- milk, cheese, etc, and they treated them as such.

    Lots of hospitals and nursing homes do now have arrangements with certified groups to have animals brought in to visit. Such a good thing for people to have when facing huge stresses and challenges.



  8. #28
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    My grandmother had a tremendous will to live even through debilitating Parkinson's. She told me that she always thought that when she got older (she was 91) that she would "be ready" but when it came to it, she wasn't. She wanted to live even if it was to sit in a room and watch horse videos and hear stories about our latest ride. And she had worked as a dietician for nursing homes for decades so she knew all the ins and outs of the system and how to cope.

    My MIL has been crying for years wondering "why am I still here?" She is a wife without a husband, a mother without children and a home maker without a home. She did ask if I would bring a cat to visit her (bad idea), but I saw on the calender that next Tuesday is pet visit day from the volunteer therapy pets so she is clinging to that. Which reminds me I have to get one of her stuffed animals from her other room for her to snuggle with in the meantime



  9. #29
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Someone recently said to me about life on earth, "and nobody gets out alive." And they're right. When you look at it that way, you make the best nursing home choice you can make for your aging parents, and stay on top of it so that they can be cared for as well as possible. They may not be happy to be there, but it is a better choice than being with a relative who can't cope, has low or no resources and support, or is only keeping them at home so the money won't go to the nursing home. When my mother was in the hospital her roommate was an elderly lady who was a victim of abuse at the hands of her son--who wouldn't allow her to go into a nursing home she so desperately needed because he didn't want the nursing home to get the money. He was holding out so he could get it. There's a lot of that going on out there. When my mother left, the social worker had contacted the state to intervene.

    I wanted to bring my mother home to live with us. Both she and my brother were against it. My cousin, an OT, finally talked me out of it. Now that I see how extensive her needs really are, and how it would affect us here, I can see that getting her into a good skilled nursing facility was the better choice both for her comfort and interests, and for our own mental and physical health. Do I feel badly for her? Sometimes. But then I remember the quote I was just given, and look at where she is and how well they care for her, how this could be very much worse for everyone, and I can realistically move on to the rest of my day.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  10. #30
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    Jul. 23, 2003
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    When my great aunt went into a nursing home, it was considered one of the best in the area (and the cost was appropriate as well). The first time I went to see her, she kept telling me that her T.V. had been stolen. They had to furnish their own T.V.'s there. I was a little doubtful because her mind did play tricks on her, but after doing some checking, it turned out someone had indeed taken her much larger and better T.V. and substituted a tiny little one in it's place. We never found hers, apparently it went home with someone. I won't go into the multitude of blatantly obvious things that were wrong in this place designed as one of the "better" places, but it was really, really sad.

    When both of my husband's parents went into nursing homes (not at the same time), he and his sister took turns almost every evening caring for them. The care cost a bundle, yet even the most mundane things were overlooked.

    It is obvious that almost all these places are extremely understaffed and the staff that is there is way overworked and probably underpaid except for those who run or own the homes. I think it's the same problem that so many hospitals experience now - too many patients and not enough caregivers. One of my closest friends refused to allow this to happen with her parents. She eventually moved both of them into her home and she and her daughter and husband provided the care that no nursing home ever could, which also included love and affection. It was a huge burden for her but it was one which she could live with and didn't leave her with guilt feelings for the rest of her life.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.



  11. #31
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    She did ask if I would bring a cat to visit her (bad idea), but I saw on the calender that next Tuesday is pet visit day from the volunteer therapy pets so she is clinging to that. Which reminds me I have to get one of her stuffed animals from her other room for her to snuggle with in the meantime
    I have my mother signed up for pet therapy! It is fabulous for them. There is also a man whose mother is in the same home my mother is in, who brings her huge Maine Coon cat in a cat carrier to her room, closes the door and lets the cat out to run around the room and cuddle with his mom. Dogs are also welcome, and we are looking at having my mother's dog visit her soon. She has a painting of him up on her wall. Makes the place more like home.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  12. #32
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    Oct. 16, 2006
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    I don't know if this will make you all feel better, but I hope so.

    I've gone back to school to become an RN and graduate in a couple of months. I am middle-aged and well educated.

    I have so far taken care of many elderly patients in the hospital and so have my classmates. I take my job very seriously and try to provide the best possible care for my patients.

    One of my proudest moments was when one of my patients with dementia complemented me with, "You are so gentle, when are you coming back?"

    Many of us in our program (second degree so we are "mature") are choosing to work with the geriatric population. We respect and appreciate our elder patients. We truly hope to make a difference. I promise to always take care of your aging mother, father, grandparent, cousin etc as I would take care of my own.

    As an aside, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have conversations with your family members about what they might want for their care as they age/approach end of life.
    I see way too many families who do not address the issues of aging/dementia/death until it is really too late.

    This must happen before they reach a point where they can no longer express their wishes. These conversations are not easy. They are not "fun". If possible all siblings should be present to hear their parents describe what they want. It will help make a difficult process easier.



  13. #33
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief2 View Post
    I wanted to bring my mother home to live with us. Both she and my brother were against it. My cousin, an OT, finally talked me out of it. Now that I see how extensive her needs really are, and how it would affect us here, I can see that getting her into a good skilled nursing facility was the better choice both for her comfort and interests, and for our own mental and physical health.
    My mother thought she could take care of my grandmother, at least for short stays. She remodeled a room to be wheelchair accesible, complete with a bathroom. I tried my best to discourage her because we had had my MIL for a two week stay before she went into assisted and had a broken ankle. Home care of the handicapped is not for the faint of heart.

    The trial run was a crashing failure, and she never tried a stay of more than a few hours ever again. My grandmother was very bitter, but to spread the blame around a little, my grandmother thought when she got "home" to my mother's that her infirmities suddenly disappeared, and she did not cooperate. The second time my mother found her sitting on the floor because she thought she could miraculously walk on her own again the gig was up.



  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by west5 View Post
    Many of us in our program (second degree so we are "mature") are choosing to work with the geriatric population. We respect and appreciate our elder patients. We truly hope to make a difference. I promise to always take care of your aging mother, father, grandparent, cousin etc as I would take care of my own.
    Thank you, yes, most of the care staff is very kind and respectful. It takes a special kind of person to work in those situations day in and day out. You have to love people. I remember when my grandmother's Parkinson's progressed to the point where she could no longer deal with the toilet on her own. An aid had just taken care of things and was on her way out. My grandmother stopped her and with the most heartfelt message she could give said "Thank You so much for helping me".



  15. #35
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmartAlex View Post
    My mother thought she could take care of my grandmother, at least for short stays. She remodeled a room to be wheelchair accesible, complete with a bathroom. I tried my best to discourage her because we had had my MIL for a two week stay before she went into assisted and had a broken ankle. Home care of the handicapped is not for the faint of heart.

    The trial run was a crashing failure, and she never tried a stay of more than a few hours ever again. My grandmother was very bitter, but to spread the blame around a little, my grandmother thought when she got "home" to my mother's that her infirmities suddenly disappeared, and she did not cooperate. The second time my mother found her sitting on the floor because she thought she could miraculously walk on her own again the gig was up.
    That's it, to a tee, which is why they talked me out of it before I got the handicapped implements installed, and trust me, I was well on my way to doing it. The falling you cited just happened again when we changed her from short term in a rehab facility to the nursing home she is currently in. It is not the first time she's done it, and probably won't be the last for a while. She is determined she will walk. The pros can handle these things far better than we can here. I'm letting them do it. The other problem is that I don't have enough built-in help for relief when I would need it. That was really the family's main concern. I don't have enough help, and her care is very intricate.

    I'm sorry she isn't always happy, but for her care, she really is better off with the people she is with. They are good.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  16. #36
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    The Aunt that I just lost was in a continuing care facility for many years. She started out in the cottages and finished her days in the nursing center. Because of the time she was there, and the volunteering she did, she was known and loved. Her care, right down to the end of days was gentle and loving. I couldn't imagine better.

    My Aunt and her husband planned this move for years. They were ready, when the time came, and they know what to expect. The nursing center was the best it could possibly be. And, it was still depressing for me to see. Not because of the care, but for the finality of it all. But, that was not the fault of the center, it was the sadness of ending times, for all there.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  17. #37
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    Jul. 5, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief2 View Post
    She is determined she will walk. The pros can handle these things far better than we can here. I'm letting them do it.
    There were far too many mother daughter dynamics at work for my grandmother to ever "behave herself" in a home care environment LOL!



  18. #38
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    Just as a funny story in a bittersweet way, I know a man at church whose mother was giving them all gray hair. INSISTED on staying in her own home, was rapidly becoming unsafe, didn't want help, didn't even want to live with kids or kids with her, no placement, nothing was wrong with her, nope. She among many other things had become oxygen dependent, and she was now on her 30-foot "leash" that let her move around her small apartment while delivering her oxygen. She was on oxygen 24/7, serious lung problems, really went into distress without it. She hated the oxygen and griped about the leash.

    The family was going nuts. She would get offended at being checked up on, insisted there was nothing wrong, etc., etc. Memory failing, independence going physically and mentally. They finally had started talking amongst themselves about getting her declared incompetent and forcing her to accept help, which they were dreading. Hadn't told her yet.

    They arrived one morning per usual to check up, and she had obviously hit the limit during the last night. She had taken a pair of scissors and cut her oxygen tube up into little bitty confetti bits. She was sitting in her favorite chair dead, scissors in one hand, nasal cannula in the other, with the biggest smile on her face.

    She won.



  19. #39
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    Apr. 11, 2001
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    Tennessee
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    Whoever mentioned the "pee smell test" when you walk in the door is right on. The DH works for a company that builds/manages senior living facilities--independent/assisted/nursing. He works on the development side. Both new construction, re-development, etc. and that is exactly how he makes an initial assessment when he he visits one! If you smell pee there are more problems than just that you smell it, most likely it goes all the way up the ladder to the quality of management.

    One of the trends that is happening in the industry is the type a cases that go into assisted are the type of cases that a few years ago would have gone into nursing. What you see in nursing today in many, many cases wouldn't have still been alive a few years ago. Physically the main determiner as to which a patient goes to is often whether the patient has an ability to transfer--transfer from a chair to a bed, chair to a toilet etc. So ladies get on that up body strengthening and stick with it!! Mentally? Well, his company can't build Alzheimer/dementia specific facilities fast enough.

    We have a Alzheimer's epidemic today. Part of the problem is that we have done such a wonderful job with cancer and cardiac research that we are keeping many people living longer and to develop Alziheimer's. What we spend on research is a tiny, tiny fraction (like in the single digits of a percentage) as to what we spend on cardiac and cancer. We need to change this!

    There are many reason I love the DH, but one of the things I am proudest is his push to develop nursing homes with private rooms. He did it a few times against the advise of others and has shown that the economic model can and does work if done right. He now won't build one with multiple beds to a room and has spoken at industry conferences on the matter saying that it's about living with dignity and that is the fundamental thing we must provide seniors!

    Of course, he says he won't ever live in one himself. Wants to buy a cabin in Montana and when he's too frail to chop enough wood to keep it heated in the winter he'll die peacefully of hypothermia. Not sure where he thinks I'll be...



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dressagetraks View Post
    She was sitting in her favorite chair dead, scissors in one hand, nasal cannula in the other, with the biggest smile on her face.

    She won.


    I needed to take a break from dinner dishes to fill you all in if Off Topic closes before I get this in.

    DH reports that there is a cat on the A2 ward. He met her today. She was a secret of a former resident's (how did they manage?!?) and when the resident died, the facility kept the cat. She was in the room today. So that makes it a little more like home. My feeling is that every floor or ward ought to have a furry pet. Something more than a fish tank. So I'm glad that "Dale" has paid a visit!



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