Your breath stops and life comes to a standstill when news comes that your 92 year mother was taken to the hospital. Broken leg – not a problem. It will heal. Not so when you are fragile, incontinent, unable to open jars, and confused. She was treated and kept for three days and then transferred to a nursing home. She wanted to ride with family but was forced to ride in an ambulance. They took her to Stanford Court Nursing Home in Santee for approximately six weeks.

This is a crucial stage in any senior’s life. The assessments of the Doctor’s were that she cannot return home. She wants to go home! “They all do” stated the Doctor. We were told to research other facilities to transfer her when her leg heals. The reason is that she has two sets of stairs, one leading to her condo and one within her two story condo. She is wearing a cast now and will be transferred to a boot when appropriate. It is unsafe for someone who cannot feed themselves, and who will depend on a wheelchair for mobility to be left alone with stair challenges. She has been in the facility for a month and the Doctor’s recommend 24 hour care according to the nursing home assessment. She is in diapers and her skin bruises when touched or when blood is taken as a result of required blood testing. She has been constipated and complains that she has had no bowel movements. I have been there on a daily basis and know that the nurses record all medication given, bowel movements, food intake and visitors who come to see her.

Mom has always been in charge, independent and fairly healthy. She complains all the time about staff and then alternatively sings their praises. I am there and they treat her with respect and take good care of her. She has cookies and candy in her drawers for company. She attempts to rule her shrinking kingdom from her bedside. She gets angry when she doesn’t get what she wants. Her boyfriend visits several nights a week. He keeps her sane. The bad news is she fails the tests given to her by staff to determine her ability to care for herself. Their determination is that she needs 24 hour care and the family agrees. She wants her children to provide that care. My sisters and I have done just that for the past two years. We have husbands and need to go home at night. She won’t move in with me because of our limited space. She does not want to sleep on a couch. Her options are to live where she has 24 hour assisted care available to meet her needs. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out. It is a wake up call for families with aging parents.