The Cold Hard Facts?

  1. I've been involved in nursing (in some form or fashion) for 11 yrs.. Recently, we took in my elderly father-in-law.

    I believe I have "been around" when it comes to geriatrics and LTC. The more I look around at what is going on with this the more depressed and hopeless I feel. Time after time, you see these little old people lose everything they have to go in the nursing home, and their dignity and dreams of leaving anything to their children slip right down the drain. One old lady told me, if she knew she was going to wind up in "this" kind of shape she would have offed herself before it got to the point it was (she owned a big farm that neither of her children would be inheriting, and she was really too high acuity to be at home) I could have said, Oh now, Ms. Brown, you don't mean that, you shouldn't say such thing! but I couldn't bring myself to be that hypocritical. It's got me to thinking about when I get old, if I live that long.

    Why should healthcare be to the point where the middle class must accept being reduced to paupers to receive any benefit from it? Are there really so many old and infirm people using the recources and putting a strain on the government that it drives up the cost of everything to the point only the extremely wealthy can afford it?

    What's the point? Work and slave your whole life so the little bit of property/savings you were able to accumulate can be used to keep you hanging onto life a little while longer in a nursing home? Do you think those people worked and saved because they intended for their money to go to "the company"?

    You see all kinds in the nursing home, the virtuous and the trash of society, and in the end no one of them are any better off than the other.
    The nursing home equalizes everyone (before their time to be equalized comes).

    It also got me to wondering about the real purpose for giving Dr. Kevorkian all the attention he got in the news. It's unknown to some people, but the government really does plan ahead. As cold and heartless as it sounds now, with more and more old and infirm being kept alive longer now, maybe all this technology has backfired on the government and perhaps this was to get society acclimated to the idea of human euthanasia? Of course, they had to bring about the idea in a more subtle way (Dr. Kevorkian) but you know they couldn't just push a law in our faces saying The nursing homes are full and you can't afford the services on your own, but now you can take Grandma down to the clinic and we can make this easier for everyone.
    I honestly believe that is where this is heading, though.

    Gives me a lot of hope for what the future holds for me...
    Last edit by Jo Dirt on Dec 6, '06
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  2. 44 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    I am so very sorry - I know you have an awful lot on your plate. You really must call your OB doc TODAY and get some help.
  4. by   morte
    actually , i dont find mamma so off base......a few months ago, one of the CNAs i was working with came to work speaking of a show on tv, stating that in ~10 years nursng homes would no longer exist, because the gov couldnt afford it.....so where will all those persons go????????????
  5. by   scrmblr
    Quote from traumaRUs
    I am so very sorry - I know you have an awful lot on your plate. You really must call your OB doc TODAY and get some help.
    I must be missing something. I have thought alot about elderly/disabled care and I tend to think along some of the same lines as mamma...And I'm not pg, nursing, pmsing or even menopausal...

    It is a depressing scenario that we see all too often. In fact, just yesterday I had a pt (80yo female) come in to the ER because her daughter was SURE she had a CVA. why? She was confused, slightly hostile and had become increasingly incontinent. She had a rip-roaring bladder infection. The daughter was in tears because we were giving her IV abx in the ER and then sending her home. The daughter was just beside herself because the care of her mom had become too much for her. This was a decent person. We asked about nursing home placement and she said that she couldn't stand the thought of her mom in a "home" But, she was at the end of her rope-trying to keep her mom toileted and out of harms way.

    I certainly have thought about euthenasia. It scares the hell out of me to think about becoming dependent on someone for my basic care.
  6. by   NRSKarenRN
    My view:

    We come into this world needing the help of people as totally dependent as infant. Some of us need similar help prior to leaving. Care and maximizing potential is given to infants, just like adults in my book.

    Having cared for aunts, uncles, inlaws and 2 sets grandparents have taought me what services are available in my community AND to take advantage of them....guess that's why I've specialized in home care.

    Dignity and respect goes a long way...along with kind words, smiles, hugs and kisses provided by both generations.

    Please take with your OB and FIL doctor for assistance.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Dec 6, '06
  7. by   RNfromMN
    Maybe I'm going a little overboard here, but this is something that should be included in our classes...& I'm not talking about reading a chapter in a textbook on Dying With Dignity & then taking a test on it...instructors should make it a point to explain things like things...well, things like this:
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    Time after time, you see these little old people lose everything they have to go in the nursing home, and their dignity and dreams of leaving anything to their children slip right down the drain.
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    What's the point? Work and slave your whole life so the little bit of property/savings you were able to accumulate can be used to keep you hanging onto life a little while longer in a nursing home? Do you think those people worked and saved because they intended for their money to go to "the company"? ...
    Especially with (& please, no offense meant here) so many 20 yr olds graduating from nursing school...A lot of the younger girls graduating with me really impress me when it comes to how caring they are towards the elderly, but I don't think it ever occurred to me how important this kind of respect is until I began working with the elderly myself.
  8. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    I watched a discouraging special on PBS about 401Ks and how the middle class is going to struggle to retire. Ticks me off that the current bankruptcy law allows the banks to be paid first when big corps (like United Airlines) goes under. The worker bees are the ones who pay the price. Their wages are cut and their retirement is chipped away but the CEO of the company who was included in the reorganization of the 'new' company was allowed to keep HIS 5.4 million dollar pension :angryfire
  9. by   wefdm21
    Back in the day the community cared for the elderly in their homes, and most people died with dignity in their own beds. Everything has become about money now. I wish we could go back to those days.
  10. by   SouthernLPN2RN
    I have thought along those same lines before. That's part of why LTC isn't for me. Of course, it's also depressing to know I probably won't be able to retire until I'm 72 or so and my family doesn't usually live to be 75.
  11. by   New Horizons
    Quote from wefdm21
    Back in the day the community cared for the elderly in their homes, and most people died with dignity in their own beds. Everything has become about money now. I wish we could go back to those days.

    I hear people say this a lot. I don't think the "community" actually took care the elderly, I think it was more of the individual's family. I think it would be great if most families could still do this, but a lot of families don't, not because they are selfish and chasing the dollar, but because they honestly cannot afford to stop working to be a full time caretaker. We all know this is the case for some of our elderly. If you have a significant amount of money you can afford around the clock assistance. If not, maybe your loved one will get an aide 4 hours a day. If you are going through medicare this might only lasts until the person is "better" than they were when they went into the hospital. Then the family starts all over again trying to get help. Even if you do have someone for a few hours a day, who is supposed to take care of your family member during the remaining time?

    Please don't say this is about selfishness. During the "good ole days" some women didn't work so they were able to be the care takers. What do you do when a family has children in college and both parents need to work to pay the mortgage and afford college? Even if tuition is not an issue, often both people need to work to make ends meet. I know if either one of my parents were to become ill to the point where they needed around the clock care, I am not in any shape whatsoever to stop working and care for them.

    The entire situation is sad.
  12. by   wefdm21
    When I said things have become just about money, I didn't mean that families are selfish. I meant that society in general has become just about money. Meaning that the cost of things is just rediculous. Not only can women not stay home (if they wanted to), but now the kids have to get a job once their 15 ( I know I did). And now MONEY has caused the condition of LTC to decline, and it will continue to do so. All I'm saying is that this issue along with many others that we are facing now comes right back down to money.
  13. by   morte
    and how many of the elderly wanders, died...wandering in the cold.....and how many were restrained to prevent that.....ever read the book The Thirty-six Hour Day"?....taking care of ONE able bodied alz patient, would take3-5 persons over a weeks time.....I know, because i helped do it.....driving to uork one night, came up on a man walking on the limited access highway through the city, beeped at him (he was walking with traffic) he swung his arm at me, in dismissal.....when i got to work had one of the guards call the cops.....but i was too late, he was already dead......this is were some of those persons will be.....
  14. by   caroladybelle
    Quote from New Horizons
    Please don't say this is about selfishness. During the "good ole days" some women didn't work so they were able to be the care takers. What do you do when a family has children in college and both parents need to work to pay the mortgage and afford college? Even if tuition is not an issue, often both people need to work to make ends meet. I know if either one of my parents were to become ill to the point where they needed around the clock care, I am not in any shape whatsoever to stop working and care for them.
    I am single and have never been married.

    My parents got divorced, when my mother was 51 and she had to go back to work. She never went to college, and had a subsistance job, with limited retirement. Daddy's retirement, saved partially by her scrimping and saving, making our clothes, etc. for 25 years of marriage...went to the step witch at his death, and she changed the Will, so that everything went to her mother when she died. Momma owns her house, is the only way she makes it. House however is way too large for her to care for, and she has accumulated way too much (utterly useless) stuff to move. I try to clean in out and get a fight. She has several pets, but two have bad hygiene problems, and I cannot stand to be around them. Momma is also significantly overweight. When she falls at home, I physically cannot lift her. And it is getting to the point, that she needs me near by. The house needs serious repairs.

    1
    What do I do - move in (with my stuff in storage), fight with her to clear out the crap, screen the porch and move bad pets outside (breaking her heart) and have no life, not to mention get paid crap wages at the facility near her - repair the house - and if she gets sick, lose all the investment and have no home or life of my own?

    2
    Move nearby, and help out - a slightly more comfortable alternative, but may not be financially viable, if I am to repair the house?

    3
    Keep working heavier assignments away from home, pay for repairs, and hope that her health holds and worry?

    I of course have all the lovely caring MARRIED w/ children health care couples which tell me how I need to move in and take care of Momma - to hell w/ me having so much as a date in the next 10 years or til she dies. And laying plenty of guilt trips on me. Let them try to lift her alone at night or try to get her to exercise.

    I nearly lost it caring for her s/p rotator cuff repair. I was close to calling Kevorkian to TAKE ME out.

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