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Help me help Mom

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dear intelligent and compassionate friends,
What suggestions do you have for me that would help my family as we care for Mom in the rehab center/nursing home? I need all the help that I can get! I thank you so much in advance. Jackie and family
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    I honestly cannot add anything to all the wonderful suggestion already offered.
    Just keep your mother reassured that it is just rehab .
    She is not staying there forever.
    We as seniors, have a fear that once we have been admitted to a rehab centre we may never be well enough to leave .
    Hugs Susie
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1886 days ago
    1886 days ago
    I feel so blessed to have such great SparkFriends. Thanks for all the advice. Today I took some time and processed my own emotions. I think that I will be better in dealing with the staff with my own "stuff" out of the way.
    1886 days ago
    All wonderful advice. The best thing you can do is communicate with the staff. Perhaps they have care plan meetings that you can/should attend.
    Hugs to you and your mom!
    1886 days ago
    Check out:


    Good luck and God Bless...

    1886 days ago
    You have been given some great advice. I have worked in rehab in a nursing for 4 years if i can assit with any issues just spark mail me , HUGS to all . emoticon
    1886 days ago
    You've gotten great advice that I can only "ditto". Here's a few more:

    Does your Mom like listening to the radio -- music or programs? It helps pass the time.

    DEFINITELY make sure whoever is the contact person is in contact w/social worker on at least a weekly basis. S/he should be working on discharge planning from the get-go and you need to be up on the information.

    DEFINITELY encourage your Mom to be involved in the activities offered so she's not just in her room.

    DEFINIETLY keep up via the contact person on how your Mom is progressing with any of her therapies.

    Make sure that her clothing is marked clearly on a label with her name, which is especially important if the facility is doing her laundry.

    Is it possible for someone to be available @ mealtimes if your Mom needs assistance eating? That was a huge thing when my Grandma was in rehab. She required assistance to eat and the assistance wasn't always available.

    HUGS and do emphasize to your Mom that she's not abandoned! My Grandmother felt that way, but initially she really didn't realize how unable she was to function independently.

    1886 days ago
    This is all wonderful advice. i went with a friend to visit her mother for many years. The advice to get to know the staff and be understanding of their load is very valuable. We were always able to catch a UTI before the staff, so look for changes in your mom.
    1886 days ago
    I only have experience with a former MIL who was first in an assisted dementia facility and then a brief stay in a nursing home. Here are a couple of observations (I have no medical background):
    - Not only get to know the staff, but try to demonstrate that you are empathetic/appreciative to their work/stress. I observed some visitors treating staff as if they were "maids" or "waiters", i.e., almost non-human. So, I always treat the staff as I would want to be treated (The Golden Rule). If Mom is in for an extended stay, maybe bring something in for the staff. I don't think this gets Mom better care, but I do think the staff makes sure you are up on any issues.
    - Help Mom start to socialize with others in rehab. If there is an Activities Director, find out what Mom might take part in. You can't be there 24/7, and it will help her to have other folks she feels comfortable talking to.
    - Go with the flow when talking with Mom. Particularly with the elderly, taking them out of their normal surroundings can really throw them for a loop. So, Mom may not be her usual self. Try not to correct her. If she says something "bizarre", ask her to tell you more. If she is complaining about the facility, tell her you'll get it checked out, even if what she says doesn't seem possible.
    Touch is so important in the healing process. Ramp up the amount of physical contact you would normally have. If she usually has her nails done, maybe give it a try yourself.
    - Talk with Mom about the future - plan for things you will do together once she is home. Make it clear from your viewpoint that this is only temporary.
    All the best ----
    1886 days ago
    Trust God to give her strength to go trough all that is ahead of her.
    1886 days ago
    I've worked in nursing homes for years and this is all EXCELLENT advice. The best part about it all is that you are looking for the best possible advice to help her and the best possible care for her. I'm sure you will do the best for her and she'll receive the best care from professionals and from her family.
    1886 days ago
    My mom isn't in a nursing home, so can't help you there. My husband's mom is in LTC and it isn't going well due to the family members not working together. The very landlord (SIL) that wants to put us out on the street decided to take a 2 week cruise instead of filling out the medicaid paperwork, yet she's the one that has all the needed paperwork at her house. So come 3/31 the MIL will be kicked out with no where to go if the paperwork isn't turned in.

    1886 days ago
  • DIANE7786
    Others offered great information. I’ll add a few more.

    I know many seniors who had to go to rehab. Your mother may logically know that she's going for a week, but mentally she's very afraid that she's not going to leave. She will appreciate lots of TLC from family and friends.

    Pack things she likes to do. Maybe knitting and large print books. Take her favorite small quilt or afghan. She can put it on her lap or shoulders when she’s sitting. Everyone needs a blankie when they don't have total control of their life.

    It would be good if family and friends visit a lot, but no more than two at a time. Your mom won’t say she’s tired, so look for signs that she needs a nap. Then leave or sit in a day room.

    If she has a roommate, make friends with that family. They will keep an eye on your mom when she’s alone.

    Ask your family, her friends, and any groups she belongs to send cards. She will treasure them.

    Most rehabs have a daily activity, like bingo, crafts, movies. She might not go alone but she'll have fun if a family member or friend goes too.

    The food probably isn't tasty. If she's not on a special diet, you can take homemade meals and heat them in the microwave. You might be able to sign her out and take her to lunch. There are a lot of messy eaters in the dining room so it's fine if she eats in her room.

    The worse problem will probably be shower time, usually once a week. It's awful. No one wants to be washed by a stranger in a shower. It’s a liability issue. Be there afterward with her favorite treat. She'll need it.

    I pray that your mom has a speedy recovery.

    1886 days ago
    hi all of the suggestions given here are great. I am an RN and if you have specific questions concerns send me an email. Remind your mom that rehab is very important and when she acheives her goal she will be discharged. As has been said here, very your visiting time, get to know the staff and make sure there is 1 point person for your family. wishing you all the best.
    1886 days ago
    no experience with nursing homes, but just be there drop in when you can and take her little treats so she can feel special, reassuring her that this is temporary and maybe little outings outside if allowed and weather permitting
    1886 days ago
    All these comment are going to be passed on to the whole family. Thank you.

    1886 days ago
    I’m an only child so when Mom fell and needed rehab (3 months in 2009), it was all on me. When she had a minor stroke in 2010, the result after initial rehab improvement was long term nursing home care and once again, the decisions to be made were all up to me.. Mom lived with us for 10 years following my Dad’s death and was used to my taking care of things.

    You have received excellent advice already. In both instances I was always visiting and the staff knew me well. Our church has a nursing home ministry so Mom received visits from others also. Since my experience was with 2 different rehab/nursing facilities, I learned that the outward appearance of the facility can be deceiving. One was quite new and had beautiful grounds. The other was an older building in town with only hedges bordering the parking lot. Cleanliness is #1 priority and both had that, but it soon became evident that the “pretty place” was putting their money into cosmetics while the older place was emphasizing level of care.

    Mom spent 5 months in the older facility and was very happy there. They took the time to match her with a like minded roommate and they got along great. There were daily activities according to interests and ability and she actually liked the food. One of the staff had her grandfather make a “card holder” for Mom since her arthritic fingers couldn’t hold all the cards needed for “500 rummy” which was a daily activity.

    Then suddenly Mom had a massive stroke, fell into a coma and died. Although no one WANTS to go to a nursing home, in some ways Mom was happier those last few months being surrounded by people than just sitting alone in my house.

    1886 days ago
    Totally agree with rx 2 rv as I worked in nursing homes and yes the care varies depending on home and who is working. Do drop in a diff times, cos if you get predictible so do staff, oh that ones daughter comes in by 3 get her washed up and sitting in her chair before her dd comes... eetc. it happens believe me esp if low on staff etc. pictures of family, knitting, books whatever is her comfort. If she can have whatever shye ewants to eat, bring a fav in once in while. Let her know whoevr will be in, when so she doesn't start to think noone is coming. Easy comfy clothes to put on. and yes nothing expensive there at all.
    HUGS and tell her it is temporary and sure hope this goes well. I DREAD if dad has to go to a home, as he is now in our basement but if he can't be cared for at home by nurses to come in, then he will have to as I know how but physically am not allowed anymore. So...... and he has said since I was a teen we ( mum and him) will NEVER BE "PUT" in a home. so I hope if that happens he has dementia and won't know.
    HUGS she will do fine as it is only for rehab.
    1886 days ago
    I have no experience with nursing homes, but I would let Mom know you are there for her. Ask her if she would like something special such as magazines.
    1886 days ago
    emoticon Been there too...I ditto the two people above. They are right on! The more the staff get to know you and visiting at odd times to check on things the better care she'll get.
    1886 days ago
  • RX_2_RV
    I used to consult in nursing homes. The quality of care varied a lot. If it were my mom, I would:
    1) make sure family presence is known by staff...get to know them by first name, on all shifts if possible...you don't have to be there 24/7, but them knowing you or family member is/are there regularly will improve her chances of getting good care, ESPECIALLY if your mom has memory problems.
    2) use the resources you have there...if she is getting physical therapy, speech therapy, find out how she is doing from the therapists, but keep in mind they are busy, so keep it to the point. Ask them if there is any way you can help. You know your mom better than they ever will, so you may be able to help the therapists help her, particularly if there is some personality issues that could interfere with her care/progress. They can also help you with a plan on transitioning her back home, if that's an option.
    3) most places (the bigger ones) will have a full time social services person that can be a good resource...ask them the same question...how can we help?
    4) Depending on how long she is going to be there, consider bringing in family photos to make her feel more at home.
    5) Leave anything expensive/valuable/irreplaceable at home...jewelry, etc. There are usually residents with some sort of dementia there and they can wander off with stuff.
    6) Bring her foods she likes, but be sure to check with nurses. If mom has swallowing problems or diabetes, there are certain foods that probably shouldn't be brought in. There is also usually a dietician either on staff or consulting for the facility. If food is an issue for your mom, be sure to contact this person as a resource. The dietary manager may be a dietician or not, but can also be helpful (depends on the person and their level of knowledge/involvement/concern.)

    Feel free to send me a private message if you have specific questions. I am a pharmacist, not a nurse or doctor, but I spent 13 years in the industry, so I have some ideas about how things work, particularly if you are in the U.S. Each place is so different. Being present is crucial in all of them.

    1886 days ago
    Our family has gone through this and I would love to be helpful. It's a big topic though so it's hard for me to know quite where to jump in. I would use the resources of the internet to get an over view of what to expect. But for now here are a few things to get started.

    Appoint one person in family or friendship circle to be the nursing home contact. There should be a back up of course, but things work more smoothly if one person talks to staff on a regular basis.

    Visit at odd hours to make sure the care level is good.

    Days are long in a nursing home even for the most involved patients. Visits, even short visits, are important.

    The transition can be hard. Your Mom losing her home. Family losing your Mom the way she was. It can also be a relief knowing she isn't alone without the support she needs.

    There is so much I could say, but for now that's it. Except just savor your time with your Mom. It may be short or long in the nursing home and not what she or you like. But it is part of her life and needs to be lived and savored as much as possible! Blessings and thoughts to you and your family.

    1886 days ago
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