Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

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ResearchMed
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Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:39 pm

Elsewhere, and a while ago, I described our search for MIL's ALF (Assisted Living Facility).
She is now about to turn 100, and is still sharp as a tack (and "happy" to complain about anything that annoys her...).

She had a health scare a year ago (heart), and recovered, and then earlier this June, she had a different heart problem. After a hospital stay and then rehab, it was decided that she will not return to her ALF apartment. She has just moved to Skilled Nursing, which is basically a hospital room, albeit a nice one, and one that can be customized a bit. (She already has her powered-lift recliner there, and she loves that.)

If any of you have suggestions about glitches that might arise during the adjustment, or ways to make things nicer in Skilled Nursing, we'd love to hear about it.

She now needs help getting around; her walker is no longer enough without someone with her.
Over the weekend, she seemed to be slurring her words, and we worried about a stroke or such. Turned out that she had requested Xanax during the day. She and DH (health proxy/DPoA) agreed that should stop, and today she was just about her old (no pun intended!) self.
The "problem" was that she requested it, and she is not "incompetent"... but everyone will keep a better lookout for "what she requests". (It's a very well staffed facility, thank goodness. So far everyone - other than one aide - seems very attentive/supportive, but they do need to get to know her, and she needs to learn a very different routine, etc.)

One problem we think we've spotted is that because many of the other in each of the SN sections are, well, not quite so with it, the staff was assuming that her slurred words and confusion were... normal for her.
But that is some of the "just arrived" adjustment, and DH has spoken with head nursing staff, and now a lot of staff are stopping by to "chat" (intelligently), etc.

We didn't predict (should have, but...) that there could be some problems because they "didn't know her", and she is well above average in functioning. They are now arranging some visiting and activities with other high functioning residents.

This all happened relatively suddenly, and DH is quite stressed, which isn't good for his health, and we are already a "bit" stressed from the pandemic, and our sequestering ourselves.
And all of this is exacerbated by the fact that he cannot visit her. Phone calls only, as she refuses to try FaceTime or Zoom, unfortunately. (He had previously tried a few times when visiting in person to try to show her about those, but she simply refused, and still does.)

We've also got to figure out how to deal with her furnishings from her ALF apartment, and we aren't allowed there, either. We assume that the facility has ways to deal with this, given that she isn't the first person to deal with changes during these odd days. And there is an "elder moving service" that had helped her move before, first from another ALF to this one, and then from one apartment to another, a few years ago. They probably have suggestions for "now", too.
We'll ask them to take photos of some furniture and dishes/linens/etc., and see if anyone we know would like anything.

Any other suggestions about potential problems that we might be able to anticipate/short circuit?

Many thanks.

[This is, of course, a request for practical issues, NOT medical issues, so this won't get locked.]

RM
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vested1
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Re: Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by vested1 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:30 am

Your MIL sounds like a carbon copy of mine, who spent her last 4 years in a skilled nursing facility, and died in 2018 at age 94. She was very sharpe, in mind and in tongue, with occasional lapses of memory. Small things make a big difference. You had mentioned that your DH can't visit, which is likely because of COVID-19.

My MIL was blind, unable to walk, and had chronic health issues. She had trouble with the hard wired phone they provided so we got her a big button one to use, and we applied raised material so she could identify the middle of the keypad. She missed her brand of coffee in the mornings so we got her a Keurig and kept it stocked. The nurses kept the water refilled. My BIL got her an upgraded flat screen TV, but she never listened to it. My wife and I bought her a cell phone so she could use it hands free but she was too embarrassed to tell us that her facility had no cell coverage for Verizon or any other carrier, so we paid for her service for over a year until I found out. We just thought she was averse to the technology.

Perhaps the best thing we got her cost nothing. The Library of Congress supplies free books on tape and a player on loan for seniors. You'd need to check it out however because it may just be for the sight impaired. She loved it, and the selection of books was astounding. If she is ineligible for the free talking book service from the Library of Congress I would consider getting her a player and checking out titles from the county library. Make sure you also get headphones if she has a shared room. The facility should accept extras you provide for her until your DH is able to visit.

As for her furniture in the other facility, she may be sensitive to disposing of it, as it can be a symbol of hoped for freedom, or have sentimental value. We retained my MIL's furniture in storage because she was convinced she would be returning home after she "got better". After a reasonable amount of time she realized that going home was not possible, at which time the siblings took what little they wanted and the rest went to charity.

The most important aspect is contact, even if it's only a phone call.

Carefreeap
Posts: 2752
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Re: Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by Carefreeap » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:06 am

vested1 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:30 am
Your MIL sounds like a carbon copy of mine, who spent her last 4 years in a skilled nursing facility, and died in 2018 at age 94. She was very sharpe, in mind and in tongue, with occasional lapses of memory. Small things make a big difference. You had mentioned that your DH can't visit, which is likely because of COVID-19.

My MIL was blind, unable to walk, and had chronic health issues. She had trouble with the hard wired phone they provided so we got her a big button one to use, and we applied raised material so she could identify the middle of the keypad. She missed her brand of coffee in the mornings so we got her a Keurig and kept it stocked. The nurses kept the water refilled. My BIL got her an upgraded flat screen TV, but she never listened to it. My wife and I bought her a cell phone so she could use it hands free but she was too embarrassed to tell us that her facility had no cell coverage for Verizon or any other carrier, so we paid for her service for over a year until I found out. We just thought she was averse to the technology.

Perhaps the best thing we got her cost nothing. The Library of Congress supplies free books on tape and a player on loan for seniors. You'd need to check it out however because it may just be for the sight impaired. She loved it, and the selection of books was astounding. If she is ineligible for the free talking book service from the Library of Congress I would consider getting her a player and checking out titles from the county library. Make sure you also get headphones if she has a shared room. The facility should accept extras you provide for her until your DH is able to visit.

As for her furniture in the other facility, she may be sensitive to disposing of it, as it can be a symbol of hoped for freedom, or have sentimental value. We retained my MIL's furniture in storage because she was convinced she would be returning home after she "got better". After a reasonable amount of time she realized that going home was not possible, at which time the siblings took what little they wanted and the rest went to charity.

The most important aspect is contact, even if it's only a phone call.
What a great post +1

My 84 father went into a Nursing Home in Feb. He's not doing very well and of course the pandemic has everyone on lock down. The one thing I've been able to do is to stress that they bring some structure into his life (personal gym visits 3x week) and me calling every Sunday to give him something to look forward to.

I won't sugar coat it. It's tough and if you're someone used to having control it's a hard lesson to learn to let go.

Good luck to you and your DH.
Every day I can hike is a good day.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:21 am

DW has an aunt in assisted living and who will soon need to go into skilled nursing. The aunt received a motorized recliner when another patient passed. The family of the deceased allowed staff to bring it to DW's aunt. I would expect that if you ask the staff to give usable items to other patients, they would all be grateful and those things will be made use of. Otherwise, I expect they'll end up in a dumpster.
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Miriam2
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Re: Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by Miriam2 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:51 pm

ResearchMed wrote: Elsewhere, and a while ago, I described our search for MIL's ALF (Assisted Living Facility).
She is now about to turn 100, and is still sharp as a tack (and "happy" to complain about anything that annoys her...).

She had a health scare a year ago (heart), and recovered, and then earlier this June, she had a different heart problem. After a hospital stay and then rehab, it was decided that she will not return to her ALF apartment. She has just moved to Skilled Nursing, which is basically a hospital room, albeit a nice one, and one that can be customized a bit. (She already has her powered-lift recliner there, and she loves that.)

If any of you have suggestions about glitches that might arise during the adjustment, or ways to make things nicer in Skilled Nursing, we'd love to hear about it.
I assume her beloved bridge games are no longer possible? :(

vested1
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:20 pm

Re: Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by vested1 » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:15 am

Carefreeap wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:06 am
vested1 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:30 am
Your MIL sounds like a carbon copy of mine, who spent her last 4 years in a skilled nursing facility, and died in 2018 at age 94. She was very sharpe, in mind and in tongue, with occasional lapses of memory. Small things make a big difference. You had mentioned that your DH can't visit, which is likely because of COVID-19.

My MIL was blind, unable to walk, and had chronic health issues. She had trouble with the hard wired phone they provided so we got her a big button one to use, and we applied raised material so she could identify the middle of the keypad. She missed her brand of coffee in the mornings so we got her a Keurig and kept it stocked. The nurses kept the water refilled. My BIL got her an upgraded flat screen TV, but she never listened to it. My wife and I bought her a cell phone so she could use it hands free but she was too embarrassed to tell us that her facility had no cell coverage for Verizon or any other carrier, so we paid for her service for over a year until I found out. We just thought she was averse to the technology.

Perhaps the best thing we got her cost nothing. The Library of Congress supplies free books on tape and a player on loan for seniors. You'd need to check it out however because it may just be for the sight impaired. She loved it, and the selection of books was astounding. If she is ineligible for the free talking book service from the Library of Congress I would consider getting her a player and checking out titles from the county library. Make sure you also get headphones if she has a shared room. The facility should accept extras you provide for her until your DH is able to visit.

As for her furniture in the other facility, she may be sensitive to disposing of it, as it can be a symbol of hoped for freedom, or have sentimental value. We retained my MIL's furniture in storage because she was convinced she would be returning home after she "got better". After a reasonable amount of time she realized that going home was not possible, at which time the siblings took what little they wanted and the rest went to charity.

The most important aspect is contact, even if it's only a phone call.
What a great post +1

My 84 father went into a Nursing Home in Feb. He's not doing very well and of course the pandemic has everyone on lock down. The one thing I've been able to do is to stress that they bring some structure into his life (personal gym visits 3x week) and me calling every Sunday to give him something to look forward to.

I won't sugar coat it. It's tough and if you're someone used to having control it's a hard lesson to learn to let go.

Good luck to you and your DH.
Thanks, although it's not possible right now because of restrictions on visitors, one thing we found to be mutually beneficial was reading to my MIL. My wife would visit her often and I would be there too, although less often. At my MIL's prompting, my wife would read to her during every solo visit. She (MIL) enjoyed hearing me read because of my deeper voice and her desire to stay connected to an "outsider" who was not a blood relative.

There's something about reading to someone elderly that harkens back to younger days for them, albeit in a reversal of roles. Sometimes it can seem tedious or a pain, but what it means for them can be meaningful when entering the end stage of their life. Sometimes it can be a relief from searching for words in banal conversations. There may even be lingering wounds that can be healed by displaying a bit of kindness.

Carefreeap
Posts: 2752
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:36 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Very elderly MIL moving from Assisted Living to permanent Skilled Nursing - suggestions?

Post by Carefreeap » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:46 pm

vested1 wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:15 am
Carefreeap wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:06 am
vested1 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:30 am
Your MIL sounds like a carbon copy of mine, who spent her last 4 years in a skilled nursing facility, and died in 2018 at age 94. She was very sharpe, in mind and in tongue, with occasional lapses of memory. Small things make a big difference. You had mentioned that your DH can't visit, which is likely because of COVID-19.

My MIL was blind, unable to walk, and had chronic health issues. She had trouble with the hard wired phone they provided so we got her a big button one to use, and we applied raised material so she could identify the middle of the keypad. She missed her brand of coffee in the mornings so we got her a Keurig and kept it stocked. The nurses kept the water refilled. My BIL got her an upgraded flat screen TV, but she never listened to it. My wife and I bought her a cell phone so she could use it hands free but she was too embarrassed to tell us that her facility had no cell coverage for Verizon or any other carrier, so we paid for her service for over a year until I found out. We just thought she was averse to the technology.

Perhaps the best thing we got her cost nothing. The Library of Congress supplies free books on tape and a player on loan for seniors. You'd need to check it out however because it may just be for the sight impaired. She loved it, and the selection of books was astounding. If she is ineligible for the free talking book service from the Library of Congress I would consider getting her a player and checking out titles from the county library. Make sure you also get headphones if she has a shared room. The facility should accept extras you provide for her until your DH is able to visit.

As for her furniture in the other facility, she may be sensitive to disposing of it, as it can be a symbol of hoped for freedom, or have sentimental value. We retained my MIL's furniture in storage because she was convinced she would be returning home after she "got better". After a reasonable amount of time she realized that going home was not possible, at which time the siblings took what little they wanted and the rest went to charity.

The most important aspect is contact, even if it's only a phone call.
What a great post +1

My 84 father went into a Nursing Home in Feb. He's not doing very well and of course the pandemic has everyone on lock down. The one thing I've been able to do is to stress that they bring some structure into his life (personal gym visits 3x week) and me calling every Sunday to give him something to look forward to.

I won't sugar coat it. It's tough and if you're someone used to having control it's a hard lesson to learn to let go.

Good luck to you and your DH.
Thanks, although it's not possible right now because of restrictions on visitors, one thing we found to be mutually beneficial was reading to my MIL. My wife would visit her often and I would be there too, although less often. At my MIL's prompting, my wife would read to her during every solo visit. She (MIL) enjoyed hearing me read because of my deeper voice and her desire to stay connected to an "outsider" who was not a blood relative.

There's something about reading to someone elderly that harkens back to younger days for them, albeit in a reversal of roles. Sometimes it can seem tedious or a pain, but what it means for them can be meaningful when entering the end stage of their life. Sometimes it can be a relief from searching for words in banal conversations. There may even be lingering wounds that can be healed by displaying a bit of kindness.
We're also trying to get him set up with some talking books. Because he's basically blind and almost deaf reading over the phone would be impossible. If they can get a connection into his head phones it will give him something else to look forward to as well as give him some attention.
Every day I can hike is a good day.

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