Older and Enjoying Life?

Older and Enjoying Life?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's Better than the Alternative...

Well, speaking of nursing homes. I live in OKC...there's tons of places to choose from. However, there's only ONE in this whole town that hospital/nursing home staffers would allow their loved one to use. ONE. That's it. So, not knowing this, I chose a home close to where I live that is very, very nice.
One of the first things you will have to do is fill out reams of paperwork. Worse than buying a house. Medicare, Medicaid, Governmental yada-yada. Not to mention the home's own paperwork. I took home a "packet" (read 200 pages of gobbledy-gook) to fill out. Once that's done, the home should apply for you to Medicare. Now, one thing to be aware of is that Medicare has a limit on the number of days they will pay for. That's somewhere between 90 days and 120 days. This is a LIFETIME limit. So, if you expect to get help for this, look to Medicaid. They WILL pay, but with deductibles, depending on income. I ended up somehow responsible for this, even though it was (loosely) based on my dad's income. Since he still lived at home, his income was only partially counted in the unknown formula used by Medicaid.
All the while, I am now not only taking care of Daddy at his house, but going for visits to Mom.
This home, while somewhat prestgious, was a eye-opener. Mother wasn't very happy there, and had the bad luck to enter the place just as a MRSA was making the rounds. She got the infection and was transferred to another wing. They plied her with antibiotics (extremely strong) and then had to do it all over again. Horrid. These mess with everything and leave the recipient very weak. I thought she was gone right there.
Once, my aunt went to see her about 7:30 one Sunday evening. The home had served dinner at 4:30 pm. My mother still had the tray in front of her, cold food...asleep...with food in her mouth. She could have choked! Not one person had checked on her in over 3 hours.
Not only could she have choked, she also had not received the potassium and other medications required. Monday morning, she was sent to the ER. Nearly died there, too. Spent an extended time in the hospital.
This was only the beginning. Bedsores, lack of medication on time, unclean bed, unclean mouth, general neglect. Sad, isn't it? I could go on, but this was one of the BEST places in town. What are the ones that are not like?
Speaking of best...this place was...wait for it...$455 per day. PER DAY. Now, that's at Oklahoma prices, where a new home is available for $150,000-300,000 depending on if you want 1700 square feet or 2200 square feet. What would be the price in New York or California for a place like that? I'm sorry, but nearly $14,000 a month for a two-bed room in a place that ignores you?
No matter, I suppose the alternatives would be worse.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Nursing Homes and Nurturing

I did NOT start out to make this a diary of what difficulties I had with my Mom and Dad and THEIR aging! Apparently, that's what's on my mind and in my Blackberry these days, so that's what you'll hear from me right now.
I promised I would give some of the little roadblocks that I have run into so far...in hopes that YOU wouldn't have to encounter them unaware.
One thing...when you have a parent that has dementia...one of the first things to go is their memory, of course. Short term memory. They will ask you the same thing within two minutes and repeat themselves constantly. They also won't do baths or bathing unless forced. Clothes are something to be worn, taken off, then put back on the next day.
The next thing to go is control. Yep, it's DEPENDS time. Now, what happened to my mother is that she a) didn't like "those things" and b) wouldn't wear them unless forced. Consequentially, all the furniture (the really good kind, too...Daddy never skimped on quality) in their house got ruined (still is, but smells somewhat better since she's gone to the nursing home). You can try odor-out stuff, disinfectant, steam cleaning and all that, but some of the smell WILL remain.
Laundry is a daily activity. Now, remember...I don't live at their house. So, laundry must be done daily (or the smell is just...). In addition, the floors have to be watched closely.
Don't attempt to hire an agency for the babysitting chores. They just won't be the same as someone you know. Find someone fast. Someone you know or someone that knows someone. It's as simple as that.
Next, expect ridiculous statements, cutting up of prized possessions (don't understand this one, but Mom cut up all her blankets...just a cut running from one edge to the middle, then a square cut out of the middle. She also did this with a hand-made quilt from her mother), hiding of other prized possessions (especially the remote), hiding of dirty clothes in all sorts of places (WATCH THE OVEN), wrapping things up in toilet paper (loads of toilet paper wrapped around...oh...maybe a watch, a wedding ring, a piece of candy?), telling you they took a bath or changed clothes or went to the doctor or drove a car to the store earlier, and all sorts of fun things that you will laugh about LATER.
Keep a positive attitude. I will tell you some of my tips as well as some of the nursing home problems another day. SMILE...they took care of YOU, ya know?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time Marches On and so does our aging

I tell you, my my how time rushes away from us! Since I posted (has it been THAT long?), I have really been into LIFE HAPPENING! My mother...she was in the hospital with a little old minor kidney infection (a result of her having dementia, which is a WHOLE OTHER story). You might wonder why a simple kidney infection would put someone in the hospital. Well, Boomer reader, you have no idea what stuff like that can do to an older gal (or maybe you do). Mother, who is 88 years old, by the way, didn't take such good care of herself and ended up with this infection. Then, once she was over it, the doc put her in a nursing home. That is also another story. However, I am here to tell you...if there's ANY way that you can keep yourself or your loved ones out of a nursing home, do it. You do NOT want someone you love in a "skilled nursing center". My mother is in one of the best. I will post some of the challenges associated with that another time.
So, mom went BACK to the hospital, then to a specialty hospital. Then back to the nursing home. Have you seen a "specialty hospital"? It's really cool...less than a hospital, but with more individualized care. They don't do operations, but they have labs, etc. Great for a transition from hospital to nursing home. I loved Mother being there! Now she's in the nursing home again. I am trying to meet all her nurses and aides and such...just to make sure someone is checking on her and trying to make her more of a memorable (read "someone to care about and check up on") person to the staff. That's not always easy to do.
There's some pretty good tips here about how to pick nursing homes and skilled centers. Don't skimp on the homework! If you have been thinking that your loved one needs to go, be sure to read up on what the National Safety Council advises, too.
Suffice it to say...stay away from skilled nursing unless there's just NO other choice! I'm an "only kid", and was planning on Mom and Dad being at my house (didn't I say I had construction problems?), but now...Dad will just have to come on and visit me (he doesn't want to LIVE here) until I get the house addition finished. Daddy will get used to it if I start now having him come visit for a night or two here and there. Mom...well, the Doctors say she will never come home again...try telling her husband of 60+ years that information...another day.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A New Year

Is it just me, or does it seem like every year gets shorter? It seems like just a couple of weeks ago that I was trying to get out my fall decorations and wanted my house to be "all fall". Then, just a few minutes later, I decided not to get the Halloween stuff out in force this year, I just went and bought a few new things to make it "ghostly". Well, of course, ten minutes later I was planning for Thanksgiving and wished I HAD gotten all the Halloween stuff drug out of the attic so that I would have my Thanksgiving turkeys out, too. I in my infinite wisdom had packed it up all together last year to "make it easier"? Wow. How do people who work outside the home get this stuff done? I used to work a J.O.B., too, and I am certain I don't remember feeling this old and tired and pressed to "get it done"!
I mean, who wants to crawl around in an attic when it's dusty and freezing cold? I decided to just go get some new things...just a few. So, that's what I did. Had the whole family over and cooked for the crew, but now I was faced with another dilemma...with all the falling leaves and fat pumpkins throughout the house, how can I change it to Christmas without once again having to crawl around in the attic? I certainly don't want to go buy a bunch more Christmas stuff considering that the attic is bursting with decorations in every style and color, plus a bunch of inherited items that just "can't be thrown away".
I must not be very creative, because I just couldn't figure out how to make brown, green, orange pumpkins and turkeys look like Santa. I'm sure you know the next step...put all that stuff up and get out the myriad boxes of Christmas, but make sure you do it the very next day after the hardest cooking day of the year. Rest for the weary cook? Not.
Christmas lights, reindeer, sleighs, all the outdoor stuff...hubby got smart and had his electrical crew come over and install everything. Boy! Snap the fingers and it's done. Can he hire someone for ME? No? You mean I have to do all the inside stuff by myself? Wow. Ho ho ho, jingle, jingle...oh what fun it is.
All that tree-ing, sleigh-ing, Santa-ing. Yippee. Just dragging out a bunch of decorations that I will have to pack back up again in a short four weeks. UNFAIR! We ought to strike or something. They should change Halloween to September and Thanksgiving to the FIRST Thursday in November. That would at least give us another few weeks of Christmas to enjoy!
Does anyone agree? Christmas should last at least two months. Just not fair to those of us that have to do the baking, decorating, lighting, entertaining...and it seems that they shorten the season every year! Wow. Sure am glad I work from home. Not sure how I would have gotten all this done if I had a nine-to-five.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Time Passages

Boy, I tell ya...time sure has a way of flyin' on by...can't believe it's been two months since I last posted here. I have really been involved with lots of business and personal stuff!

My team has grown and needs daily involvement for ME to also grow and prosper along with them. If you haven't visited my team site, you might want to wander off for a moment over there and look around at how we work together from all over the country (and in other countries, too) and have a profitable home business offering value to moms, dads, boomers, retirees, students, and just about anyone!

We are still adding on to my house for my parents' benefit...they get to move in with me (only child and all that). YIPPEE! After considering that for awhile, I re-planned the new addition to hopefully give me more of a private space. After all...being a "boomer" gal...kids are grown and have their own lives and hubby and I have been alone for quite awhile with only the "doglets" as company. Mommy and Daddy moving back in is a shock to the system, and the stories I have heard from others prompted me to find the best solution and floor plan to create separate spaces.

By the way, I researched and tried to find some other way to make Mom and Dad (mine) happy, healthy, and safe. I have considered all sorts of options like nursing homes (WOW, are those expensive or what?!?), but the parents really don't need nursing. They are healthy, just not mentally able to handle the day-to-day cooking, cleaning, dressing, finances, etc. I am blessed with their health, though. How about a retirement center? Well, not just expensive, but they don't offer the sort of care they need. OK. So, I compromised and have them now with a home care company that pretty much supplies maids and companions that cook, etc. Still, pretty expensive stuff.

I also have a girlfriend that goes in and cleans and cooks for a day or two each week. I tell you, though...both of these options that I am currently using are also a real budget strain. With running two home businesses, it doesn't leave ME the time I need to run over there constantly, and the solutions I have put in place just aren't feasible in the long term.

SO...I digress. I am building on. Still. Have barely broken ground. They were supposed to BE here by now, and I am stuck with a lake of water (thanks to the Oklahoma floods this year) and muddy backyard that my pooches can't even use...more on my adventure soon if I EVER get this project off the ground...or in the ground...or grounded...or anything!

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Along the same lines, have you seen "The Secret"? You can order the DVD online on my Squidoo lens, and I tell you...if you work at home, work outside the home, have any relationships in your life, or have always wondered why there are others who seem to "have it all" while you're just plugging away at life, I can't urge you enough to get the DVD yourself and watch it at least once a week for the next six weeks!
There's a lot of motivational books and tapes out there, but this one has got to be on the top of my list. If you really want to age gracefully and live life, get the "Secret" insight of what others who are highly successful do to be so "graced".
My team has been having a Saturday morning class just on "The Secret". We have an exemplary team leader that has put together life lessons and assignments from the DVD. It's amazing to hear the changes in others' lives that I have been working with for some time. The Secret is the reason for the change!
Happy, successful, motivated, contented, positive...does this sound like you? If so, you have probably been exposed to many of the "Secrets" of life before. If not, then...what are you waiting for? Get that DVD or go watch it right now! There's some books on my Squidoo site that you also might enjoy...check them out and order right there on my site! Get busy and do it...just might change your life like it has millions of others!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Failing Forward and Aging

I recently read John Maxwell's "Failing Forward". What a motivational book! I invite you to apply the principles he uses. The subtitle is "turning mistakes into stepping stones for success". How many of us wish we could do that? What mistakes have you made that you would give just about anything to undo?

The point he makes over and over again is that WE cause ourselves so much pain and grief by living and re-living these mistakes in our minds over and over and over...causing much of our own heartache. We have to reach outside ourselves and find lessons, then take them to heart...and then, and only then are we able to finally lay the mistake to rest and move on.

It's all in how we look at experiences that affect our futures. If we fixate on particular events (and who is ever fixated on something good?), we need to focus on the LESSON rather than the FAILURE. Everyone has negative things happen to them, but Maxwell says that if we act negatively, then continually replay these events in our minds...that is what causes failure...and more failures heaped on top of that one!

Maxwell talks about Thomas Edison (remember that he failed so many times that it's nearly un-countable!) by saying that Edison believed that failure is actually conceit. "People don't work hard because in their conceit, they imagine they succeed without ever making an effort." I have seen this so many times with girls and guys that want to work from home. They love the idea of working with a team of successful people, but they forget that one little "four letter word"...WORK.

So, what does all this have to do with aging gracefully...or not at all? Well, if we have a happy, positive outlook on life, it can't help but give us positive, energizing thoughts. Those thoughts have magic! In our appearance, in our carriage, and actually CAUSE us to feel successful and contented. If you don't believe me, then you need to read more, and hey...get the DVD "The Secret" and then we'll talk!