Living Alone

My 86 year old mother in law has a very bad heart and breathing difficulties. She has been living alone and with her failing health the family worries about her well being. Hospice house has taken her in for a few days and then this last time she had a stroke and we were able to place her. She has limited mobility and her mind is sharply intact. She lasted 3 days in the facility and was so horrible they basically opened the door for her and she went home. She is very upset with family members and family members are furious that she behaved like this to get home. Please enlighten me on how to help her and the whole family deal with all that is going on. I do not want a lot of family with regrets.

Patty

Dear Patty,

Your mother-in-law has many physical problems and they are usually best served at a nursing facility or a hospital.  But it’s also obvious that she wants to stay home and will do everything in her (limited) power to remain there.

Please be aware that Hospice can be hired and just as effective in a home setting.  Hospice is usually not available unless a patient has been determined to have less than six months to live.

You and your family can also hire an aide and figure out how each family member and loved one can contribute to the cause.  You might also want to hire a Geriatric Care Manager to guide you through this difficult process.  Sometimes it helps to have an elder monitored in the home using the latest electronic technology available.

She obviously wants to be at home and die at home.  Be sure to ask her directly: “What do you want?”  It’s also important to be clear how her actions are impacting you and your family.  Seek a win-win solution whenever possible since now is the time for your family to pull together and support each other as well as your mother-in-law.

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