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Sunday, March 29, 2015


The staffing shortages might be more severe when it comes to care at home. Been there, done that, and need to be doing it again.

When my time comes, I do want to go to a nursing home and I will want drugs. Not necessarily antipsychotics, but if that is what it takes to keep me from physically or verbally abusing whoever is taking care of me, then those will do.

No way am I going to put my daughters/granddaughters through what I experienced with my step-mother 8 years ago and is now beginning with my father. You might be surprised how strong someone who is only days or weeks away from death can be.

For the 4 months my step-mother was in hospice, my sister and I were there 24/7. We hired two full-time aides and 3 other siblings were in and out as their responsibilities allowed. She had lots of visitors too -- some who were a help and some an additional person to care for.

I've never worked so hard, and we might have been better staffed than many nursing homes.

My Dad's been in hospice for 2 weeks now. He's not going to be nearly so easy to take care of. For one thing, he's refusing to allow us to hire additional help. It's mostly my sister taking care of him because I've had some injuries that limit my mobility in the past few years and I now can't leave my husband home alone for more than a few days at a time. Plus Dad weighs 100 lbs more than my tiny step-mother.

That's probably TMI, but I sort of needed this opportunity to vent to people who won't think I'm asking them to do something about it.

I hope that I didn't come across as critical of people who must rely on nursing homes and other forms of residential care because that was neither my intent nor my feeling about the matter. It's often the best choice among the options. Personally, however, I hope I never find myself in need of extended institutional care or chemical restraint. I would much prefer to go with a brief illness in the most familiar environment available.

We all hope that, I think. There's an old tasteless joke... "I hope I die in my sleep like my Dad and not screaming in horror like his passengers."

And no, you didn't come across as critical though I can see how my reply might have made you think so. The thoughts have been running rampant through my head since I read an article on the same subject last week and you gave me an opportunity to let them out and play ;-)

Many families do not have the financial resources to do what we did (and are about to attempt again). Nursing homes are cheaper and for many, Medicaid covers most of the cost. Medicare covers (through hospice) medications, equipment, and weekly visits from nurses but it does not pay for daily care, food, or household chores/maintenance.

We are fortunate that we CAN do it, but I don't recommend it and I don't want my daughters doing it for me.

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