How do I know when my mother needs full time care?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Steve n asked...

My mother is in the late moderate stage of Alzheimer disease. I had to stop working for a breadman because she would call me telling me to come home quickly because she was gonna die and today was the day. Then I'd come home to a meal cooked and no signs of whatever it was that morning. I can't go anywhere for a very long period of time if I am doing so by myself. I haven't done a thing since she's gotten worse, but how bad does she have to get before I can get someone to help care for her or someone to sit with her? Mom donated a lot of her time to Hospice, delivered meals, etc etc. Now it's her turn. What do I need to do?

Expert Answers

Kay Paggi, GCM, LPC, CGC, MA, is in private practice as a geriatric care manager and is on the advisory board for the Emeritus Program at Richland College. She has worked with seniors for nearly 20 years as a licensed professional counselor, certified gerontological counselor, and certified geriatric care manager.

As long as your can call you on the phone, she is not dying. She has a long way to go before dying of dementia. People in the late stages do not know who they are or what a telephone is, and they certainly cannot cook.

What she is doing is getting you to come home and be with her. She will probably feel better and be less lonely if you place her in a nursing home. Don't put a phone in her room. Let her depend on the nursing staff for company, and they will regulate how often she uses the phone to call you and complain. She will have a peer group and scheduled activities, and she will greatly enjoy your visits after work and on weekends.

No matter how much volunteer work she once did, none of it contributes to nursing home payment. That will have to come out of your pocket, or from Medicaid. The nursing home social worker can help you apply for Medicaid but you will need to tell them this from the first time you visit. Some homes will not accept Medicaid, so you will have to make some calls.

Best not to tell your mother that you plan to move her. This will upset her, and there is nothing she can do to improve or change her behavior. Treat her with lots of love and kindness, and continue your life. Visit as often as possible.