We always said we’d never place our mother in a nursing home. My mother had severe anxiety for as long as I can remember, and she had even received electric shock therapy in the 70s to treat her condition. We knew that hospitals made her feel claustrophobic, and when our father had to spend a couple of months in a nursing home after he had his hip replaced, she warned us that she wouldn’t fare well if she were ever in the same situation.
Unfortunately, over the years, her mind started to go and eventually she was diagnosed with dementia. My brother and I tried for almost ten years to cope with the struggles of her diagnosis. I even moved back home at 72 years old just so I could be there around the clock to help take care of her.
Once things became too difficult to bear alone, my mother was put on hospice and a nurse came to visit for two hours once a week. During that time, she would give Mom a bath and make sure she took her medicine, but we did these tasks every other day of the week. Eventually, she stopped recognizing who we were, and started to hallucinate people sitting in the trees outside of her living room window, laughing at her.
It was then that we knew we had to place her in a nursing home. We were doing her a disservice at that point by not doing it. . . or so we thought.
We did our research and found what we thought was a reputable nursing home facility for her and moved her in. It wasn’t long before we became increasingly concerned. Our mother didn’t recognize us at this point, but she had always been social and loved to chat about her grandchildren and play Parcheesi.
Almost immediately after moving her in, we noticed how withdrawn she became. She stopped asking us to see pictures of the kids, stopped wanting to play board games, and stopped wanting to visit with us altogether. The more we voiced our concerns to the staff, the worse she got.
Finally, everything came to a head one day when I noticed a bed sore developing on her right shoulder when I went to hug her goodbye. If she was being cared for properly, she never would have had a bed sore develop. I screamed for the nurse and demanded to know what was going on. The nurse claimed to have no idea, and with that, we immediately removed her from the nursing home and set her up with a (very) expensive room at home, where we could provide her with everything she needed.
We hired a lawyer and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing staff and the nursing home facility. Further investigation revealed that the nurses had also been stealing money from my mother. With that, the jury awarded my mother over a million dollars for her suffering, and the nursing home ultimately closed and declared bankruptcy.
What my mother went through was deplorable, but thanks to her, we were able to ensure that this particular nursing home can never harm another elderly person again.