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Nursing Homes / Discussion forum Not Very Active
« Last post by pwalter on December 02, 2018, 06:57:05 AM »
I added the discussion forum a long time ago, but because the website is very small, not many people use the forum.  I was going to remove it, but decided to leave it in hopes it might grow at some point. 

Please feel free to post articles, stories or questions.

Patricia Walter - owner/webmaster of Nursing Home Diaries
Personal Blogs / It's Not About Me Anymore By Michael Cangemi
« Last post by pwalter on May 14, 2017, 05:29:48 AM »
It's Not About Me Anymore
By Michael Cangemi

Have you heard the one about a son who wheels his mother into a nursing home?

Everybody's a comedian these days, once upon a time class clowns who "made the teacher laugh." We are not professionals, our deadpan maniacal one-liners fall flat in the company of strangers and we readily concede only a mother could love our act. Mothers realize the hurt of criticism. Open mic nights? Been there, done that, preferring instead the built-in home security when watching commercial-free Netflix.

Our modus operandi, playing the fool, is the surest channel for harvesting laughter; when we chime about ourselves everybody knows we're singing their song. We tradesmen and women enjoy working in the bowels of human nature, our pockets stuffed with the one tool of the trade required for survival, the pressure release valve. It's okay when we're the bull's eye in a stranger's target. It’s mostly nothing personal.

We non-comedians tell half jokes, leaden one-liners, failing more often than the industry norm, accepting the consequence because, after all, nobody’s paying us to be funny.

But there's always the backstage critic, invisible among shadows, laughing only to himself. Timekeepers with hook in hand intent upon panning the show, who won't allow a good laugh to muffle the reality of an aged parent.

“Your act is over”, they say. “Your biggest homegrown fan has "left the building, currently playing second fiddle at a nursing facility.”

There's no humor calling it a ‘nursing home’, a place whose website whispers "who's laughing now?"

She's been 'half there' for a while, her mind, still I wonder if the reality of her change of address has sunk in. Would my attempt at explanation help relieve her concern or is it best I allow the dust to settle without interference? The long-ago past is where she finds comfort, laughing about her Pa, eyes sparkling at the recollection of Ma's beauty, wondering what she ever saw in the likes of him. Recent history no longer exists, my childhood and all its laughter simply doesn't provide safe refuge. Be off with it. She speaks of teenage girlfriends long gone, their advice not to date Dad because "he’s got a car and you know what that means."

She in her wheelchair, we sit in the lone quad made for just these kinds of "visits" where a few breaths of fresh air become more valuable than gold, before she catches a chill and I’m obligated to return her to ‘"in there."

I’m tempted to say “Ma, remember when . . .” but cut my hopes short because even when she has lost her ability to recall she's smart enough to fake her response, mothers never let their children down. We will each suffer guilt for different reasons. She’s had to falsify my existence, she doesn’t remember “when” and never will again. And I, for having taken her to where I know I shouldn’t have. It’s not about me anymore.

Her half truths are best appreciated when accepted as what she now believes as the way things are. I know this is the new norm, this necessary readjustment of pandering to the unknown.  Enough with the bad jokes, the entire family is on edge. I'm in the company of a stranger and for the sake of my survival I've got to live by her rules.

There will be other open mic gatherings sure to sate my requirement for laughter. “Remember when Ma said this . . .” or, the time she "saw a four foot tall rabbit cross her path when on a stroll?”

My wife asks “How'd the visit go?” and I almost reply "Are you trying to be funny?" But I don't. Half truths, half jokes. It’s all in the timing and the audience who’s listening.

Personal Blogs / Re: Kay Boyle - My 91 Year Old Mom
« Last post by pwalter on May 06, 2017, 03:08:28 PM »
My Mom was 95 on April 23, 2017.  She enjoyed her 3 piece fish dinner, her favorite, cheese, cheese cake and a big Coke.  It was a nice day for her and me.  She is now in an Alzheimer's Unit at the Genesis Marietta Center, OH.  She has been there 4 1/2 years and gets great care and still enjoys life. 
Nursing Homes / How to Choose a Nursing Home
« Last post by pwalter on December 22, 2013, 07:19:33 PM »
How to Choose a Nursing Home
U.S. News & World Report today released its fifth annual Best Nursing Homes ratings, highlighting the top nursing homes in each state and nearly 100 major metropolitan areas. The ratings cover more than 15,000 nursing homes nationwide and are freely available at
Nursing Homes / Re: Advice upon admitting your loved ones to a nursing home
« Last post by pwalter on December 20, 2013, 07:59:05 AM »

I am so sorry to hear about your Dad's passing.

Unfortunately, there are good and bad nursing homes - in my opinion.  That is based on my Mom being in 3 different ones and in assisted living.

I feel it was very unfortunately, that they did not seem to listen to your requests and sedate your Dad.  In my Mom's nursing homes, only the doctor changes the meds.  He visits often.  I think that is something people need to watch with their loved ones. 

Unless you have been involved with nursing homes,  you just don't know what seems right and wrong.  I can only say to anyone that if what the nursing home is doing does not seem correct or against your instructions - please go to the top and make things right or think about moving your loved one.

I am so glad you posted your story.  It is very sad and difficult to deal with, but by posting it, others might learn.  You have to be very vigilant with family in nursing homes.  When something doesn't seem right, talk to the nurse in charge of all the nurses or the manager of the nursing home.  I can say that is you have to do that more than once, then it is time to find another nursing home.

It is difficult since we can't be there all the time.  We need to be able to trust the staff.  Any time a med is changed or a PT is changed, I get a call. I get tons of calls from my Mom's nursing home.  I think it should be that way.  There should be good medical care from a doctor, not just nurses and they should keep you informed about all changes.

My Mom got very sick, pneumonia or bronchitis, and they called to ask what to do.  I said take her to the hospital.  I thought she was going to die, but somehow she managed to pull through with antibiotics and oxygen and a special breathing machine.  At least I had the decision what to do.

I have a do not resuscitate  order since I know at 91, her ribs would be broken with CPR.  But anything else that is treatable, I make the decision.

I know all this information doesn't help bring your Dad back, but it is here for others to read.  It is so difficult to know how nursing homes should act if you haven't been involved.  Any time you are not happy with their treatment or have that nagging inner voice telling you this is not right - speak up.  There are also advocates for nursing home patients.  They can be helpful, but are not there quickly.

My heart goes out to you.  You can't blame yourself since you did the very best you can for your Father.  I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Nursing Homes / Advice upon admitting your loved ones to a nursing home
« Last post by Barbara on December 15, 2013, 01:04:31 PM »
I am not going to say it was not my father?s time, only God can determine that  but  if I were given this advice I believe we would had more time, perhaps he would of enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with is family before his passing

My father was admitted to a nursing home after a three day stay in in the hospital due to difficulties with his COPD.  The goal was to improve his health so he could move onto an assisted living facility.  The nursing home I chose was clean, did not have the smells associated with nursing homes, the rooms were comfortable and nice.  I felt I was leaving my father in good hands. .  When my father was admitted he was able to walk in on his own accord (with the use of his cane),  the first week he had no difficulty walking to the dining room for his meals , he was alert, read his book and would watch he favorite TV programs.   In a few short weeks he began to take his meal in his room, he did not have the energy to walk down to the dining room; he quit reading and lost interest watching his favorite sports teams. I learned every week day morning he had two hours of PT that  include the use of weights and a walking machine, hearing this I was shocked.  He was an 86 year old man with breathing problems, no wonder he did not have any energy left.
One:  I advise that you use your own personal physician, keep an open line of communication with your physician and only he/she can prescribe what medications your love one can be given.  Only one time did the doctor of staff see my Dad, this was the day he was admitted.    It was the nurses who recommended what medications my father should be given, the doctor of staff would just sign off at their recommendations.   

Two:  Do not agree to have your loved one given sedatives just because the nurse says he/she seems agitated.   I was not in full agreement with having my Dad on sedatives but his attending nurse said he would become anxious when he felt he could not get a full breath.   They had taken away his inhaler and hooked him up to oxygen.   After his breakfast he would be given the ?sedative? and would sleep until the next day, he was only eating one meal per day.

Three:  Do not be manipulated into changing your love one?s Health Care Directive.    Upon admittance to the nursing home Dad had to fill out a HCD.  He stated he wanted all efforts to save his life, given nutrition and taken to the hospital in the event of an emergency.  This Friday I will never  forget, as always I visited my Dad on the way home from work.  The attending nurse (she is the one I always saw in the late afternoon & the very same one who insisted on the sedatives) pulled me aside and wanted me to change my Dad?s HCD.  She told me his time was near and if I did not change his wishes she would have to administer CPR which could crack one of his ribs due to his frail condition.   Something told me not to do so; she was not happy with my decision and made the comment ?so I am to call the ambulance if something happens?? I gave her a firm yes.  I do believe this decision saved my Dad?s live that day.  That evening after I had gone to bed the very same nurse called to say she was calling an ambulance to take my Dad to the hospital.  On admittance to the hospital I told the nurse I did not want my Dad on any sedatives, if it was his time I wanted to be able to visit with him.  The next day I visited my Dad and he was sleeping, they said he had eaten his breakfast but had to be fed since they were afraid he would aspirated his food.  The next day I visited my Dad and he was wide awake, just finished reading that morning?s paper and was watching the football game.  The nurse was feeding him; the food was soft food but from the smell and the little taste I took was very tasty.  We had the first real visit in weeks, I was over joyed.  The next day Dad was transported back to the nursing home.  That evening he was back into the state of being sedated, I noted the meal of soft food that he had not eaten.  It looked horrid and from a small taste would not stimulate anyone?s appetite.  I told the nurse, the very same who I always saw in the late afternoons, no more sedatives.  The next afternoon I dropped by ,as I was going down the hall toward my Dad?s room I could hear him yelling for help, the very same nurse was standing in the hall talking to another nurse not paying any attention to my Dad?s cries...  My Dad had that ?deer in the head lights look? he seems so frightened.  I went out to the hall to see why the nurse had not attended to my Dad?s cries for help.  She made the comment of my request of no sedatives, I was so upset and scared for my Dad that I caved in and allowed the sedatives and took her recommendation to change his HCD.   Now I wonder if having my Dad in such a state was to manipulate me into changing his care and HCD.  Dad passed away shortly after.
Nursing Homes / Happy Thanksgiving to all
« Last post by pwalter on November 27, 2013, 06:01:17 AM »
Wishing everyone with family or friends in nursing homes a Happy Thanksgiving.

I am cooking a small turkey breast with all the trimmings and taking it to Mom's Alzheimer's Unit to enjoy Thanksgiving with her.  She is 91 and in a wheelchair which makes it difficult for me to take her out in my car, so we will share dinner together at the Marietta Center.  When she was in Assisted Living, they always had wonderful holiday meals that visitors could share.  Unfortunately, the nursing home is not quite as elegant - but the care is great where my Mom is.

Personal Blogs / Kay Boyle - My 91 Year Old Mom
« Last post by pwalter on July 27, 2013, 05:20:11 AM »
My Mom is in the Solana Alzheimer's Unit at Marietta Rehab in Marietta, OH.  I moved her there on January 1, 2013 after she lived 4 years at the Pines - an assisted living facility at Glenwood in Marietta Oh.  Moving into an Alzheimer's unit was a big change after having her own little apartment at the Pines. 

Mom was no longer able to take care of herself by dressing, getting in and out of bed or even remembering to eat.  The Pines was great to keep her an extended time assisting her since they like my Mom.

She has really gone downhill since her move to the Solana.  She remembers us, but not a lot else unless you remind her.  She is wheelchair bound and can't even turn over in bed herself.  Her hands shake so that they normally feed her.  It is sad to watch a person deteriorate so, but we continue to support her and give her love.  Her care at the Solana is excellent.  She spent 2 1/2 years before the assisted living facility and that care was not great.  It was OK, but she did not need a lot of care.

She originally fell in her bathroom about 7 years ago.  She was on a ventilator for 14 days to save her from the terrible pneumonia she developed.  The ventilator left her extremely weak and she could not even feed herself, so she had to move into a nursing home.  I have back and heart problems and can't lift her.  She is small at 100 pounds, but still difficult to move dead weight.

Mom started to get well and about 2 months after arriving at the nursing home, fell again.  The aids were not helping her get out of bed.  They were talking and she hit the wall and floor.  Of course the aids said Mom decided not to transfer out of bed - well she wanted to go to the bathroom and they were busy talking.  That fall resulted in being on a ventilator again for 7 days.  She was removed and then actually flatlined and died - but her heart started again on it's own.  So she went back on the ventilator again for 7 days.  When she came off, she returned to the nursing home.

Slowly she began to recover and used a walked to move around.  She was still mentally aware and could play bingo, talk and enjoy life. She could never get along with her roommates and ended up being asked to leave the first nursing home after several roommates.  My Mom has always been bi-polar and very depressed.  She was on a lot of meds.  So I found another nursing home where she stayed for 1 year before she was asked to leave due to roommate problems.

I was lucky that the assisted living facility said they would give her a try. The only problem as that I had to pay $1500 a month with her social security and VA pension.  That was very difficult for me and I went thru all my savings.  Finally I was going to move her to a nursing home because she would go back on Medicaid for that, but the assisted living facility was in the process of accepting Medicaid.  I was very luck and so was Mom   :)  She was able to stay for another 2 years.

She gradually went downhill.  She did less, was able to peddle around in her wheelchair and not able to dress herself any longer.  It was gradual and the staff really liked my Mom. Since she did not have a roommate, she got along really well.

We agreed to move her on Jan 1 of 2013.  So another new chapter of Mom's life has started.  Really about the saddest chapter since she is deteriorating to the point that I don't think she hardly enjoys anything.  She does participate in their activities when she feels well enough which is good for her.  The staff is very nice and they don't change much which is helpful to the patients.

Alzheimer Facilities / Mom is in the Solana Altzheimer Unit in Marietta OH
« Last post by pwalter on July 26, 2013, 01:42:49 PM »
My Mom is 91 and in the Solana Altzheimer's Unit at Marietta Rehab Nursing Home in Marietta OH.  I moved her from an assisted living at the Pines at Glenwood in Marietta OH after 4 years.  It was a difficult move for both my Mom and I since the Pines was a wonderful facility where she had her own apartment and great food.  The staff was wonderful and so were the residents.

Unfortunately my Mom used a wheelchair most of the time and finally was unable to care for herself or get in and out of bed by herself.  The Pines helped my Mom for a long time, but it was finally time to move her.  She has had mental issues for a long time, but now she can't remember what day it is, the time of day or even if she has eaten.  Fortunately, she still recognizes me. 

The staff at Solana is great even though it is still a nursing home.  They are much more attentive than in other nursing homes my Mother had been in, in the past.

I will post some updates in the future.  I post this information for other families to know they are not alone. 

Nursing Homes / Welcome to the Discussion Forum for Nursing Home Diaries
« Last post by pwalter on July 24, 2013, 04:16:08 PM »
I started Nursing Home Diaries when my Mom first entered a nursing home.  Since then, she has been in 3 nursing different homes in 2 1/2 years, been in assisted living for 4 years and is now in the altzheimer's unit of a nursing home.  She is now 91.

There have been many challenges along the way.  Many arguments with nursing home staff, many problems to solve and a few good times.  My Mom is particularly challenging with many emotional problems. 

I did not have anyone to talk to that also had family in nursing homes.  So I started this website.  It has been a place to share information and problems.

I hope that it can do that for many more people.  I have a very large discussion forum on which has about 4000 members.  It is a wonderful place for people to learn about hip resurfacing, find support and share their stories.  Hundreds of people have often written how grateful they are for a place to talk to other hip patients that understand what they are going thru.

Having a source of wonderful people to talk with often helps when there are many problems to solve.  Many have gone before you and are often willing to share information.

I hope few people ever have to have family and friends in nursing homes, but sometimes there is no other way.

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