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thestrangequark February 28 2013 08:25 PM

Old Folks Homes
So...anyone have experience with coping with an aging family member?

My grandmother has been deteriorating rapidly in the past few months, and it is getting to the point where we are discussing next steps. My mother is disabled, so a lot of the responsibility is falling on me, and over Christmas we began the steps of giving me control of her estate, making me power of attorney, etc. Things are moving way faster than anyone thought they would be, though -- it is becoming clear that she is less capable of caring for herself each day. I'd really appreciate some advice...or just a place to ask questions and get support. Maybe some others who have gone through or who are going through something similar can benefit too.

Gaseous Anomaly February 28 2013 08:29 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
I've taken care of my Dad since 2007 and my Mom from 2009 till she passed away in 2011, if you have any specific questions ask and I'll try to help.

Emher February 28 2013 08:43 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
The only real experience I have is with my grandmother, but there the situation is slightly different seeing as she has Huntington's. I can say though that once we got her into a home that really worked for her and her condition, her quality of life has improved immensely. She's happy now, laughs a lot when we visit her. And before she moved there she hadn't laughed in years.

So my best advice is, if you have a choice, try and find a home that seems to fit her the best.the main thing that we where noticed when we visited the home we are at now was that the people who worked there addressed my grandmother directly, and did speak trough us others. She was the one that mattered.

thestrangequark February 28 2013 08:58 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
^How did you go about looking for her home? I don't know where to begin! I wonder, though, how different things are here.

Mostly I want to know about how to find a good place for her.

Thanks, Gaseous. :)

Unfortunately, she cannot live with any of her children or grandchildren. She and my grandfather were horribly abusive to my mother and two uncles (like nearly beating them to death and forcing them into child prostitution abusive). Most of it was my long-deceased grandfather, but there are obviously tensions between my grandmother and my mom. One of my uncles has had a retraining order against the family since before I was born, he's out of the picture completely. The other uncle embezzled over a million dollars from her and doesn't really care what happens to her -- he is in and out of the picture, but I would like to keep him out. Just to be clear, I love her, and my mom loves her. She's a horrible person in a lot of ways but a good person in ways too, and someone who made a lot of mistakes and tries to atone for least sometimes. For better or worse, we feel we have an obligation to her.

But she also can't stay with any of us. It's too emotionally traumatic for my mom to be around my grandmother too much, and with my mom's disabilities (caused by the abuse), she's not really physically capable of taking care of her either. So, I need a home of some sort. I want her to be somewhere where she'll be happy, somewhere with privacy, but also lots of opportunities to socialize (she loves being with people and gets lonely easily). Somewhere where she can maintain the level of independence she is capable of -- and she is capable of some.

I just don't know where to begin. I have to take her car away, I have to figure out a place for her to go, I have to figure out what to do with her businesses, I have to get control of the rest of her finances (she gets really confused and misspends and falls for scams), I have to keep my uncle from interfering and trying to steal more of her money, I have to do it with limited assets, and I have to do it all from 3000 miles away. I just don't want to make any mistakes, and I'm so overwhelmed I don't even know where to start.

rhubarbodendron February 28 2013 09:43 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
over here in Germany we have houses where old people live together and cook for themselves etc., much like young people in student homes. Once a day (or oftener, if required) a nurse looks after them.
Maybe you have something similar in your country?

Also, how about asking around in your vicinity? Quite a few neighbours might have parents or grandparents in homes. They could tell you which in their experience are good ones and which are not to be recommended.

It would also be a good idea to get into personal contact with some of the inhabitants of such homes. They have a different point of view and insider knowledge. They can tell you what the glossy brochures forget to mention.

thestrangequark February 28 2013 10:33 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
^Yeah, some kind of senior community is where I think she'd be happiest. The hard part is coordinating it all from so far away (she lives in Seattle, I live in NYC), and I'm really scared of putting her in some place that turns out to be a hellhole.

Starkers February 28 2013 10:33 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
My mum's been in a home for the last three years and has dementia, it's never easy. After my dad died social services actually wanted to let her live on in the bungalow on her own, despite it being obvious there was no way she could do this. Lucky reason prevailed. She isn't always happy there, but a lot of that is down to the dementia. We didn't really have an alternative. I live on my own and work full time, and if my sister had had her live with them she'd have had to give up work. It is a good home at least, though I guess you always worry what a place is like when you're not around.

I don't know the US systems v well, so I've no idea what support mechanisms are around, although social services were a pain to begin with, they were helpful with it, we just had a push a little.

Seriously sometimes I don't get what's so great about us living longer...

Good luck, if nothing else at least you can let off some steam on here, sometimes that's a bigger help than you imagine.

Starkers February 28 2013 10:35 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes

thestrangequark wrote: (Post 7744957)
^Yeah, some kind of senior community is where I think she'd be happiest. The hard part is coordinating it all from so far away (she lives in Seattle, I live in NYC), and I'm really scared of putting her in some place that turns out to be a hellhole.

See if you can get in touch with the relatives of any other residents of the home. Also are there any organizations that monitor homes? My be worth seeing if there are any support groups/charities that can provide help or guidance as well.

thestrangequark February 28 2013 10:36 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
^That's a good idea. And you're right about letting off steam -- I think that's the main reason I started the thread, really -- it was all just bubbling up and freaking me out and I had to put it somewhere.

Emher February 28 2013 11:02 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes

thestrangequark wrote: (Post 7744564)
^How did you go about looking for her home? I don't know where to begin! I wonder, though, how different things are here.

Mostly I want to know about how to find a good place for her.

Well, it was mostly my mom who did it to be honest. She was the real driving force behind it. None of her siblings really did much to be honest.

anyway, in my grandmothers case she first went to a home close to where she and my grandfather lived, so that he could come visit. Ultimately that didn't happen much since my grandfather sort of...gave up when grandma got sick. And as her disease progressed the staff at that home become more and more incapable of handling her (this was also a pretty big home).

We didn't know what she had at this point, but trough talking with the doctor they theorized that it might be Huntington's and did a blood test to confirm. As soon as that was clear it really became more a question of finding a home where they specialized in that kind of care. We got really lucky with the home where she ended up. They'd just started their operation a little before we started searching, and their specialty is elderly with neurological diseases. It just fit and it's fantastic for grandma.

Afterwards we've realized that grandpa probably decided to die after he'd been there for her birthday and seen that she was okay. He saw that she was taken care off.

So the only real recommendation I can give is to try and find one that you think can work for your grandmother. and try to talk to some of the people that work there. The people "on the floor" make all the difference.

teacake February 28 2013 11:58 PM

Re: Old Folks Homes
A friend of mine recently went through this with both in-laws. It just about killed her, sorting out the paperwork, all the govco applications, the chaos of their finances, the frequent outbursts from other relatives who wanted to complain about decisions but refused to do anything themselves.. you need some help. It can consume your life. My friend had a relative delegated to do one part of it, which was only partly successful. She got quite irritated with the relative's decisions in the small area she was in charge of (disposing of furniture and other goods), if you have help you have to let go of your preferences and let the helper just do it their way.

You should be able to reimburse yourself for any expenses incurred, including the cost of flying out there and looking at homes if there is money your grandmother has available. Keep all receipts.

As to the homes themselves, research online, look for any forums or reviews. Just adding "review" to a google search will show you a lot of stuff that doesn't normally come up. Once you've got a list of possibilities find out if they have waiting lists.

Trekker4747 March 1 2013 12:08 AM

Re: Old Folks Homes
My brother, sister-in-law and I have agreed our parents (and our parents in law ;)) will never go into an old folks home. We will do what we can to see that that never happens. And if THEY do they're going into a really good, nice, one that's more of an assisted living facility than one of these depressing hospital-like places where old people are stuck in a 10'x10' bedroom pooping into a pan.

Sephiroth March 1 2013 12:10 AM

Re: Old Folks Homes
unless you want to move her to NYC it seems like you are gonna have to take some time off to research homes out there

auntiehill March 1 2013 12:23 AM

Re: Old Folks Homes
Once my father was diagnosed with Alzheimers, we began the search for retirement homes and assisted living centers. A hospital social worker was very helpful in providing lists of centers that catered specifically to dementia and Alzheimer's care, so we were able to visit them. The problem you will encounter is simple: the cost. It's shocking. I mean, really shocking. To house my dad comfortably in a senior living center near-ish to my mom's house would've cost about a million dollars. No, that's not hyperbole. To sign the contract to get him in as a resident was just shy of a million. And Dad, being paranoid in his dementia, had secretly cancelled his long-term care insurance. Luckily, it turned out that Dad may NOT have Alzheimer's after all, as he has actually improved; he might just have had bouts of acute dementia following some mini-strokes after a bypass.

In short, in my area, we found several nice homes but the cost is severely prohibitive. Thank God, Mom has been able to earmark money over the last few years to get him into that care-home someday if need be, but they're lucky to have a 6 figure pension.

If you find a place, you will most definitely have to tour it first, consult reviews and family members of residents (if possible). And definitely read the contract carefully. The costs are truly staggering.

Owain Taggart March 1 2013 12:33 AM

Re: Old Folks Homes
We put my Grandmother in one when she had Alzheimer's when it came to the point that she couldn't take care of herself anymore and only when my Aunt had become too busy, but she hadn't lasted all that long there before she passed away. Same with my Grandfather a few years ago. He was really reluctant to be in one since he loved his independence but eventually relented and lasted several months before passing away.

Not all of them are equal. There was a lot of research involved in deciding where to put them. There are chains out there that are to be avoided that don't take care of its residents very well. I would be focusing on government run locations, which at least in Canada, have a higher quality of service and care.

As an aside, I did some volunteer work for the latter for awhile, and my job was to be the mailman and bring the mail to the residents. It was at the very least, an eye opener. One day, I was just doing my usual routine, knocked on one of the doors, no answer so I entered, and upon opening the door, the first thing I see was the TV (facing directly in view of the door) turned on and set to one of the porn channels, and it was on rather loud too. Rather ironically, just a few months before, I had seen that Curb Your Enthusiasm episode that dealt with Larry's father embarrassing him due to playing his porn on full blast in the retirement home, and it reminded me of that. It was an interesting experience :lol:

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