Hoarding Woes: Downward Spiral

Chaotic, frustratingly a mess. My aunt didn’t stay asleep last night. She pushed the side rail out from beneath the mattress with her good right leg. She left the bed without calling for help. She left her room without her walker. She managed to hobble out into the common area and then fell hard. She called for help…then…and at 2:00am the staff came to the rescue. Banged up and returned to bed.

Again, this afternoon, without her walker she made her way into the bathroom. She managed to fall and bang her head into the wall, and urinate all over. The staff heard the commotion and again came to assist.

It is lost on my aunt. All the concerns, all the admonitions, all the cautions are lost on her brain. This is beyond stubborn. This is beyond being independent. This is degeneration. Sad, growing realization that she will not be going home at this rate.

Home care? Feasible. Here on average $15.00 – $25.00 an hour quality in-house care . You do the math. Living with us? Exhausting. Been there. Done it for my mom for nearly 6 months of hospice and no relief. Not going to happen. Managed care. Sedation, restraints, the tipping point nears.  

This changes many things, I believe, in the hoarding cleanup and my aunt’s care. The sense of urgency and anticipation in preparing a safe home is seemingly lost. The hard reality is my aunt is not understanding. Not just ignoring, but clueless. And a danger to herself. I meet with staff tomorrow to make a plan. My heart is heavy tonight. Courage……….. 

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3 thoughts on “Hoarding Woes: Downward Spiral

  1. Caroline Totah

    I’ve been following your blog with interest and apologize that I never had time to comment. I need to make the time now. I’m an RN and a certified professional organizer that specializes in working with people who hoard. You’ve gone way above and beyond. Your respect and love for your aunt is undeniable. I can’t fathom how much you have sacrificed for your aunt. I hope you can take comfort in knowing that you have done absolutely everything possible to respect your aunt’s wishes, yet provide a safe environment at the same time.

    It’s not unusual for seniors to experience “sundowner” symptoms where their cognitive function declines at night. This can lead to cognitive impairment due to sleep deprivation during the day. Another possibility is meds. I wonder if anyone has noticed a correlation between when your aunt’s meds are given and her behavior. Some cardiac meds can lower the blood pressure or heart rate so much that blood flow to the brain (and hence oxygen to the brain) is not ideal. It’s often a difficult decision as to whether the side effects are worth the benefits of the drug. Hydration status can also play a role in mental status.

    Not trying to add more complexity to your already complex situation, but just throwing out some ideas.

    Best of luck to you all. I hope I’m lucky enough to have such an intelligent, sensitive person who cares about me so much when I’m your aunt’s age.

    1. SwittersB

      Nurse Caroline,

      Bless you! I spent the night sitting with the care provider discussing just these issues re meds and interactions. I have an appointment with a new doctor next Friday. At that appointment, or hopefully before, I want to discuss just these issues because the out of sync behaviors are our concerns. Dementia or Exacerbation via a poor med schedule or interactions. Maybe a combo it seems. Thank you again for the kind words and advice.

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