Monday, May 21, 2007

A New Life Chapter for My Grandmother

I’ve shared that my paternal grandmother who lives about 30 miles away from me was in the hospital twice recently and was admitted to a nursing home. She was receiving rehab at the nursing home but upon admission no one knew if she’d truly be discharged to go and live home alone again or if she’d end up being in the nursing home for life.

I got the news this weekend that the nursing home is preparing her for discharge within the next 5-10 days. I can’t believe it as I was under the impression based on how they were limiting her movement and not letting her take care of herself, that they felt she should not be moving towards independence.

My grandmother is very happy at the idea of returning to her own home to live. She has not been happy in the nursing home. I could share a lot of stories of what has gone on in there but I am not doing it because I want it to remain private and to also respect the privacy of the other patients in there, and the employees. But boy, do I have stories. It is hard to not blog about them.

The next step now is getting her house ready for her to move back in. We have general cleaning to do. The wall-to-wall carpet that her cats ruined will be replaced. (The cats are gone now.) I feel that more things have to be done to adapt the home to be more user-friendly to an elderly person with limited mobility.

We are also going to find and hire someone to help her out, bathing her, preparing meals and such. If I lived closer there would be more that I could do myself to check in on her. While she lives 30 miles away in most time of the rush hour (which really is about 5-6 hours of the daytime) the drive can take up to 90 minutes to go in one direction. It is just not feasible for me to be there daily or even five times a week.

There will be more work to do to iron out who in the family will do what helping and who will oversee what part of her life.

My grandmother’s desire is to live at home alone and to enjoy the end of her life in her own home. Her desire regarding the actual end of life is for her to die peacefully in her own home, not in a hospital and not in a nursing home. I am very happy that she is returning home and getting what she wants. She is not terminally ill and she could live for many, many years, we have no idea what her future holds.

So this is some of what is on my mind recently and this project of moving her back home is something else that I’ll be working on and spending my time doing in the next couple of weeks. So if I don’t blog on a particular day just imagine me helping my grandmother out, cleaning her house, decluttering it or driving her to medical appointments, as that is probably what I’ll be doing instead of blogging.

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Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

How wonderful that you do live close enough to keep an eye on the situation, even if you cannot be there every day!

My grandmother died in her sleep at home when she was in her ninties. Since she had all of her children within 60 miles, and one a few blocks away, it all worked out very well. The aunts and uncles got a nursing student to live-in with her, giving free room and board in exchange for simple care and companionship. They were close enough to keep an eye on the situation and it really worked out well!

Good luck with it!

Sharon K. Brothers, MSW said...

Please share your stories about your grandmother's nursing home experience! If you can't do it via the blog, email them directly to me. If we don't share our stories, we can't effect change. And change is so crucial if care for all of our loved ones is going to improve. Thanks for your comments.