We don’t know why we are here.

I was looking forward to meeting with the social worker to learn more behind the story of my parents’ visits to the hospital.

The social worker tells me my parents showed up at the Emergency Room and by the time they were seen, they couldn’t remember why they were there. They return the next day and see an Internal Medicine doctor who quickly determines something is quite off with my parents. When she tries to have a conversation with them independently and together, they are both in a confused state. They both fail a mini cognitive assessment.

The hospital was concerned about letting my parents leave. They did not want either of them behind the wheel of a car. When they ask if they have someone to call, they say yes, but can only tell them my first name and don’t have my phone number with them. They do remember my sister’s first and last name, but don’t know her phone number and don’t remember where she lives.

They consider calling Adult Protective Services. When they find out my parents have an apartment at a retirement community, they call the community. However, because my parents are in the “independent living” section, there is nothing the community can do except provide them with contact names and phone numbers for family.

My sister Kathy gets the call. She worked to get them back to their apartment and I jumped in my car to meet them there. Ineffective.


9 thoughts on “We don’t know why we are here.

  1. It sounds as if it’s time to move your parents to more of a skilled nursing facility where they are receiving more assistance.

    1. They are in a facility that has those options, but right now, it’s up to them to determine when to move into “assisted living.” I agree and wish this could be easier!

  2. i get nervous sometimes, because APS can come around to hospitals and other businesses unannounced. i know they have a job to do, but this has happened to me and i am the one who had to prove i was innoncent. my brother had a large bruise one time when we were at the ER and they called them, without even asking me what the bruise was caused from. it had just been that he had stumbled and had fallen into a chair, and had hit his leg against the arm of the chair. it upset me although i knew they were only doing their job

  3. The good thing is that because they are together they are propping each other up. The bad part is their independence is so fragile.

  4. I think the greatest challenge for any child is to know when they have to shift from being concerned with keeping their parents happy to keeping them safe; and more often than not, doing this while gracefully respecting their pride and dignity.

    1. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything without their consent and suing for guardianship seems to crush the idea of dignity and respect. Still working on it.

  5. I will tell you what worked for me. My parent’s physician had a home health nurse go out and check on them. That was covered by Medicare as it followed an ER visit. He also had a social worker check on them. The nurse called me as I had been there when she cared for dad before. She said it is now unsafe for mom and dad to live independently. She also told mom they need to move to assisted living right away. Nurse told me it was probable that the social worker would call APS and they would force parents into assisted living not of their own choice so they should choose and go now. I used that information/threat not convince mom and dad to move to ALF as soon as possible — within 2 weeks. Mom was not happy at that time but later was thankful they were in assisted living. I was glad the nurse pushed the issue. Here in my northern state I have been told that APS wouldn’t ever force elders into assisted living. But I am glad this was stated (threatened) in their southern state. It was a great help when later mom broke her hip and dad was automatically cared for (he has Alzheimer’s) while mom was in the hospital and after she passed away. Sometimes APS can be all wrong for a situation,, but in our case it was a lifesaver even though APS themselves were never called!

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