Family Saga Update

Aunt, Mom and Us at Nursing Home

My family when things were better

Just about a month ago, I wrote about some serious issues that were happening in my family. Specifically, my mother became the caregiver of my aunt who has been residing in a nursing facility. And after about two weeks, my mother realized the task was too difficult.

To update you, my aunt was hospitalized, then moved to a new nursing facility, where she became depressed. She wasn’t eating right, refused to get out of bed, take a shower and even have discussions with us. Within 4 days, she was back in the hospital and in ICU. Her white blood count was extremely low and her hemoglobin was also low.

My mother was scared and blamed herself for my aunt’s deteriorating health. Instead of berating me as before, she became child-like. She asked me to drive her to the hospital, to call the doctors and nurses back after they had already spoken to her. I realized that my mother didn’t remember what she was being told. So, although my mother is my aunt’s health care surrogate and I’m named second in case my mother can’t fulfill her duty, I told the hospital to call me about everything.

I learned that my aunt had a bad reaction to a new medication. She had lots of tests and needed plasma and medications to increase her blood levels. I am the main person that visits my aunt and makes decisions about her care.

My mother is even more forgetful than last month. She calls me to tell me that she doesn’t feel well almost every day. I had to rush over there Sunday, only to find that she had an upset stomach and felt weak. I’ve called her primary care doctor about all of the issues including her anger, paranoia and forgetfulness. She had just seen him for a regular check-up. All I was told is that this is expected because of her age (82) and that she is actually one of the better patients when it comes to memory loss.

I’ve also been in touch with her therapist after another visit to her with my mother. We are trying to get my mother to accept moving into an apartment in an assisted living facility. I’m not putting a lot of hope into this, though.

The name calling and yelling has stopped and I am grateful for that, but I do watch what I say and how I say it as to not set my mother off. There’s another appointment with the therapist mid-December as we continue to work on communication and decision making.

My aunt will return the nursing facility when she is able. And, I’ve made the decision to request someone else take over as her financial guardian (if possible). With the responsibility of caring for my mother increasing and the needs of my daughter remaining the same, I have to put things in priority.

This is very stressful. I’m the only child and the closest living relative to my aunt (there’s actually a long story about that, but let this suffice). I’m the only Mom that my daughter, Sammi has too. And she needs me.

Did you have to make difficult choices about caring for your elderly family members?

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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