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Help ASAP - finding a nursing home for a smoker?!

13 years ago

It looks like MIL is too weak to go back to her assisted living place, so we'll be going nursing home shopping this coming week. Oh joy. I am very concerned, because MIL is a smoker. Last March, when we initially thought MIL would need a NH, the wonderful hospital social worker explained that most NH's in her area won't even accept a smoker at all. She did find two for us to look at, the nice one turned her down because of the smoking, the creepy smelly one seemed OK with it. But then she got strong enough for AL, and we found one that would accept smokers, so the problem was solved for the time being. Even so, she got in trouble several times at the AL for breaking the smoking rules. And now with her dementia, she's even more clueless.

I talked to a friend of mine who works in sales for a nursing home, and she told me they screen smokers very carefully, because they have a tendency to sneak smokes and are dangerous. I so understand - they can't take that risk.

MIL CANNOT live with relatives - she's a toxic personality, and we all work and have stairs in our homes. She can't go back to her home, because of stairs and no family nearby, and fulltime in-home aides would be costly and not what she needs.

She is a huge fall risk (they said she has "zero safety awareness" because she forgets to use the walker). They said she is not safe behind closed doors. She wanders. And she is complaining about the aides not taking her out for a smoke (she thinks she's back in the AL where she could do that). Her dementia is getting much worse, so she'll probably need a locked dementia unit.

At this point, we are perfectly willing to cut off all supplies of cigarettes and lighters and tell her no more smoking. She'll be furious, but it looks like it's the only way she MIGHT get care.

My biggest concern is - if we can find a nursing home at all, it's likely to be a crappy, desperate one. I guess that is the logical consequence of her smoking habit, though, and there's not anything we can do about it.

And what if NO ONE will take her? What then? My DH asked if they can force us to take her home with us. I assume we have the right to refuse.

But honestly, what happens now? Anyone been through this? Help, I'm starting to freak out.

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