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Managing My Mother's Decline

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So, despite all of our efforts and optimism, my mother's experiencing cognitive and physical decline. In only a few short weeks, we've notice trembling, forgetfulness, moodiness and anxiety.

After talking with her caregivers, nurses and doctors, there was one person who suggested we come in to do a test for a urinary tract infection (UTI). Sure enough, she had an infection.

After taking some antibiotics, which quickly got rid of her infection, she returned to normal. It was like night and day. Incredible. I was amazed at how quickly her health returned. Not only that, her personality came back to normal.

I had no idea that a UTI could have as big an impact on someone's mood, memory and personality as it does. Apparently my mother's not alone. UTI's are common and so are their effects.

What really scared us as a family was the rapid change she experienced in her health, almost overnight. So while we took all the precautions we could, buying an emergency help system, making a senior friendly home and fall proof environment, she went from an independent to a dependent person overnight - and then back again.

We now feel very insecure, because before we were operating under the assumption that we would see her decline gradually before it was necessary to put her into a home with full time care.

Now we're in a situation where one day she may and the next day she may not need full time care. But the day she needs, but doesn't get it, could be dangerous.

As a result, we've kind of thrown up our hands and realized we'd like to place her in an assisted living community. We're just feeling too insecure. With a family of our own to manage and worry about, to have to go to bed with the anxiety of a parent, for my own mother, is just too stressful.

How we'll cope financially is another story. My mother has some assets and we'll have to pitch in. But I'll also be able to spend more time working (used to finish my work day at 2 so I could spend an hour with my mom, before coming home to take care of the kids.

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