Families, please take care of your elderly

Through the years I’ve witnessed so much of our elderly being neglected, abused or just plain ignored by their loved ones. I know there are two sides to every story and some elderly family members are just plain cranky and difficult to get along with!

Example!!

No two women could be more unalike than these two. The one on the left is my ex-mother-in-law who is a saintly, sweet, soft spoken woman. The one on the right is my mother. The woman who gave birth to me. She is the difficult, cranky one I referred to earlier. She is very difficult to please. And that is putting it nicely. She looks cheerful and pleasant though, doesn’t she? And she can be! She just chooses not to be! Key word: “Chooses”

Suffice it to say, they are both elderly and loved by their family and friends, but I digress…

For those of you that are following my blog, you know that I’ve just returned from an anniversary celebration in the DFW area. You also know that I am the FT caregiver for my almost 93 yr. old mother-in-law. We are pictured below:

[caption id="attachment_509" align="alignnone" width="169"]Granny & Linda Granny & Linda

My current mother-in-law aka “Granny” is also a saintly, soft spoken, gentle woman. She wouldn’t harm a flea even when she was able bodied. Every 30 days we are entitled to 5 days of respite. During that time she is transported by ambulance to the local Hospice House for alternate care since we will be away. Although we very much look forward to the break from taking care of her, we hate leaving her in the care of “strangers”. It’s just not the same!! She never returns in the condition she was when she left. Please understand the Hospice place where she goes is one of the best in our area and on a day by day basis we are very pleased with the services that they provide. We love the nurse that comes to visit Granny once a week to check her vitals etc; We also love her Aide that comes 3 times a week to bathe Granny. We get a visit from a social worker once per month and a nurse practictioner each month. They are all very kind and competent individuals.

You also need to understand that as a team (Hospice and her family) we are not trying to prolong her life. She is terminal and there is no hope of her improving. We are just trying to keep her as comfortable as possible for whatever days the Lord decides she has left. BUT REALLY???? She came home with ugly purple bruises on both arms, hands, and feet!! I don’t believe for one second she was abused. But, I do believe at least one person that was caring for her was too rough handling her. She also came home with a very croupy, ragged cough!! We have repeatedly warned them against leaving Granny near any kind of draft. Thirdly, she came home with a UTI which wasn’t discovered until day 5 (the day she came home) and an anti-biotic had to be prescribed! What’s up with that?

I remember when I was in college writing a paper in English class about nursing homes etc; and the care that the elderly receive. I know that nursing homes probably get a bad rap in most cases, but I know for certain that the elderly do not get the kind of care from an institution that they will get from loving family members. It’s a HUGE sacrifice, I know. And now that I’m getting to retirement age I worry with who will care for me in my declining years. How many of you have ever heard an older family member say, “I don’t want to be a burden”? Only to hear, “you aren’t a burden”. Tell them another lie! It is a burden. Anyone that says it’s not a burden to care for an aging family member regardless of the condition they are in, is lying!! It’s tough. It takes a toll on you. Emotionally, psychologically, physically, mentally – you name it.

You know how they used to vote and put in your high school year book – “most likely to…”??? Well, it would have said above mine “least likely to lovingly care for an elderly person” – and yet that is exactly what I am doing and have been rewarded in so many ways that cannot be measured. And yet, if we hadn’t been out of options for Granny, we too, would have continued to allow someone else to care for her. I am ashamed and embarrassed to admit that.

Approx. every 30 days we will continue to take advantage of the respite that Hospice allows us, but know in our hearts that she will not get the love or care that she gets right here at home.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Black
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 00:40:19

    What is up with the UTI? How? Glenda Black’s mom got them all the time in the nursing home and ended up in the hospital. I am so sorry that happened to Sis Stevens. Breaks my heart. My 73 yr old mother takes care of her 95 yr old mother that is home bound, blind and a pacemaker recently. Both are gentle women. Not really soft spoken. But good natured. I love them both very much. I visit my mom and sweep her away so she can get out and breathe. Her favorite restaurant is 85 one way and I always take her. We cross 3 state lines. Missouri, Ohio and Kentucky on the way to El Chicos. I love it!

    Reply

  2. augielife
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 14:50:26

    There is so much I want to say about this. I honor you and your love for doing the right thing. God Bless you!

    Reply

    • bittygirl51
      Aug 01, 2013 @ 02:59:18

      Well, say away, girl! If you don’t want to air your opinion publicly – e-mail me, Sheri! I enjoy our little chats…I’m just a little slow in responding. I haven’t totally kicked the TV habit as you have! 🙂

      Reply

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