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Thread: Latest Mom Adventures

  1. #1
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Latest Mom Adventures

    The other morning my mother called me up because she was "freezing," and it was "ice cold in this house." I had her check the thermostat, which she said was on 80, her radiators were cold to the touch but since it was possible something was wrong with her furnace, I went over to her house. (I should also mention that it was a pretty mild day, but she is always cold). She must have turned the heat up when checking the thermostat, because when I got there, the heat was on high, radiators were hot, and thermostat was on 85. I fed her breakfast, we did her medications and I went home.
    Later in the afternoon, she called me again. "It is so hot in my house, I can't even breathe!" LOL, because sometimes you have to laugh because it beats crying.
    I try not to think too hard about all the fossil fuels being consumed by senior citizens living alone in single family houses that are being heated to 80 degrees or more.
    Next up is her phone service. I jumped through a lot of hoops and went through a bit of frustration to get her phone service changed from Verizon to Comcast earlier in the year. I did this because she was paying for a "triple play" from Comcast, so phone service would not cost anything extra, and she was paying about $90 per month to Verizon. I was trying to be prudent with her resources. Well the Comcast service has flat-out sucked. She has lost service at least 4 times (it seems to correlate with rainy, windy weather, although that could be a coincidence). So then my 87-year-old mother with Alzheimer's who lives alone, has no phone. I have to go to her house, do a modem restart, spend a hour on the phone with Comcast agents, etc. etc. So long story short, Mom currently has no phone service, Comcast is going out there today, and Verizon is going out there on Friday to switch her phone service back to Verizon. Maybe not the most frugal move, but who can put a price on sanity?
    We can theoretically communicate via Alexa, but Mom doesn't seem able to learn how to do this. I gave her a cheat sheet with the following Magic Words:
    Alexa, call Rosa
    Alexa, answer the phone

    We practiced for awhile, but I have no confidence that she can do it without me there to prompt her.

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    This sounds like my mom, I remember getting her a jitterbug phone and preprogramming it to call me and then explaining to her what buttons to push and just hoping she could remember how to do it.
    Dementia is so terrible. Would she be open to moving to assisted living? My mom became a danger to herself--would melt things on the stove, put weird things in the microwave, tried to mow the lawn with a new zero turn mower and threw herself off it into the side of the barn.

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    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    My mom was doing similar before we moved her to assisted living. I'd come for a visit and the stove in the kitchen would be blasting and she'd be sleeping in a room down the hall. She'd forgotten she had a thermostat and was using the stove to heat up the 2200 square foot house. Conversely, it was hotter than hell one day in the summer. Because the air conditioner had membrane switches and not the physical buttons she associates with controls, she couldn't turn on the AC.

    My sister set up Alexa in my mother's apartment because my mom can't turn the tv on and off. When she gets frustrated, she first hits random keys on the remote and then unplugs the TV, the cable box etc and then of course nothing works. She swears she didn't do anything! Even though there are prompts next to the TV, my sister still has to get on the phone and have my mom repeat the phrases. Sometimes at least the staff can do the Alexa part to get the TV on, and to her favorite channel.

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    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    Is she not willing to move, or has no one broached the subject with her?

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Ah yes, the 90 degree Fahrenheit rooms of our parents,

    I remember finally learning to smile and nod when my mother fussed around my visits to her, worrying that I would be too cold. When I got into her guest room I closed the bedroom door, and then opened the windows. That was in January in Northern Iowa. That was easier than talking rationally about heat.

    When the old people move to a group setting where they are always cold, they co exist with staff who are not cold because the staff run around all the time and also are often overweight.

    so who controls the temperature in those places? The staff. And the poor seniors are still cold.

    My mother stopped complaining about the cold when she was well into dementia-land. I always wondered if she was still cold but didnít notice or what, exactly.

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    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I think we can keep Mom chugging along at home for another year or two, and of course being at home is her preference. In the big scheme of things, the phone and the heat are manageable annoyances that I can live with (although I still need to vent occasionally, lol). Fortunately, she has no inclination to turn on the stove (we're a lot alike in that regard!), and she has no tendency to wander (it's COLD out there!).

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rosarugosa View Post
    I think we can keep Mom chugging along at home for another year or two, and of course being at home is her preference. In the big scheme of things, the phone and the heat are manageable annoyances that I can live with (although I still need to vent occasionally, lol). Fortunately, she has no inclination to turn on the stove (we're a lot alike in that regard!), and she has no tendency to wander (it's COLD out there!).

    The problem comes when your mother has a critical incident and cannot live by herself any more. When you have to drop everything in your life and scurry around to find an emergency placement, that is a huge challenge.

    I hope you are working with her, or your sister, to identify the next step for her living arrangement. Having that lined up when the chit hits the fan is key.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    The problem comes when your mother has a critical incident and cannot live by herself any more. When you have to drop everything in your life and scurry around to find an emergency placement, that is a huge challenge.

    I hope you are working with her, or your sister, to identify the next step for her living arrangement. Having that lined up when the chit hits the fan is key.
    That's a really good point. Have you been able to look around and see what you would want to do next for her, if it came to that point? I think that is how a lot of assisted living/memory care admissions come about, when someone falls or gets sick. That was what happened to my parents. They could not go from the hospital back home.

    Looking back, I would have seen what was out there if we needed it down the road. I have toured six or seven places and they are all different, and you will get some good ideas for the future.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    That's a really good point. Have you been able to look around and see what you would want to do next for her, if it came to that point? I think that is how a lot of assisted living/memory care admissions come about, when someone falls or gets sick. That was what happened to my parents. They could not go from the hospital back home.

    Looking back, I would have seen what was out there if we needed it down the road. I have toured six or seven places and they are all different, and you will get some good ideas for the future.
    My mom’s nursing home placement took place somewhat seamlessly without tons of drama, well from my point of iew anyway because I’m six hours away. She was hospitalized for ongoing severe leg pain. We never figured out what it was, but she was transferred to a nursing home while the health insurance would pay for it to do further care and analysis, and after a while we just said she needs to stay here. Of course she was unhappy and complaining about it, but she did not make efforts to leave.

    My brother and sister-in-law spent some time shopping around for nursing homes and they ended choosing one that was not the closest, but was fairly close, and seemed pretty nice to me all things considered.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    That is good advice, IL and Tybee, and something I know, but have not yet acted on. It is just such crappy stuff to think about, which makes it very easy to procrastinate. She keeps saying "I wish god would take me," and I certainly wish she could shuffle off her mortal coil before next steps become necessary. However, I realize that hoping for death is as much of a non-plan as those who wish to win the lottery to fund their retirements. She does not have a lot of money in the bank, not even enough to fund a year of assisted living or nursing home, so it would be a matter of selling her house - another fun endeavor.

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