Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When the Unexpected Happens....

I'm a bit behind the 8 ball now..... Hope your holidays are coming along and that you are taking time to ENJOY them.

Thanksgiving in our house was a little overwhelming as we found my 82 year old mom had spent the night before in the tub and couldn't get out. She was in remarkably good shape despite this. Spent a couple of days in the hospital (without an answer to why she fainted) and we had our turkey in the ER.

I spent a few days and nights with her and we figured out some things....

Now we have a web cam (granny cam) installed so we can "spy" on her (even works from my smart phone) and make sure she doesn't do that again! (We chose the Panasonic model.) We didn't opt for the typical answer of the little necklace life alert mechanism because it would be in the bedroom or the kitchen or somewhere, and she'll be down somewhere else in the house. Her income is VERY FIXED and even $30/mo for this service would be too much esp. if she doesn't use it right.

There are similar systems that don't have installation fees and a monthly cost. They don't connect to a live person; they simply dial programmed numbers until it get's a response. Some only dial 911. That isn't always what you need and can prove costly for non-urgent issues. We're investigating them. I'll let you know if they work out. I've added several to the Aging Parents Amazon Store if you want to check them out.

She has cordless phones and we have placed them in better access areas. One sits on the bath bench in the bathroom gets swapped out daily so it's always charged and ready. It's not waterproof of course and so she moves it away from the spray, and (hopefully) keeps it within easy reach. We keep a reacher in the tub area too.

We're in more frequent phone contact. Most of all she has been given a new set of exercises to do every day forever now by the home health PT to help strengthen her muscles. This has made the biggest difference. (Thanks Charlene!!!) The few visits she was allowed worked wonders!!!

The shower water has to be cooler so it doesn't make her BP drop. (She loves it way too hot!) She HAS to eat! And she has to drink more liquids. No coffee doesn't count, in fact it dehydrates you. (Dehydration and not eating much that day contributed to her fainting and falling. Perhaps a heart problem, but nothing has been detected as yet. )

She tried to tell me one day she had drunk 2 (16 oz.) glasses of water in the kitchen plus her 2 cups of coffee. Well the web cam told me there had been no glass on her TV tray, and no dirty glasses in the kitchen told rest of the story..... caught ya Mom!!!! So now she knows she can't get away with that!

We know that this isn't the perfect solution and things WILL change again sooner than we like, but she still has her independence for now. Moving to my house wouldn't solve it. Assisted living is out of the financial picture.

Like giving up driving, it would be another big step towards dependence and she would again decline rapidly. That isn't essential just yet. Might be one day soon, or maybe not for awhile. We'll take it one day at a time and be prepraed to make more changes as we have to. Meanwhile Mom has her dog and her TV as loud as she wants it.... CNN all day long and OLD movies when she tires of the same old news stories.

God love her she's healthy and that helps and hinders the situation in various ways. The economy sucks and we don't have many choices. Everyone's story will be different, and yet in so many ways the same.......

It's holiday time and we may only have this one left with Mom so we will make the most of it. Make memories with your loved ones this year. Take some time for yourself too!!!!