My 90 yo Mom's Covid Test.....

tvq1

My Mom is in a lovely senior facility and they are taking very good care of her.

She started coughing on Tuesday, and has some congestion. No fever, and the chest X-ray was clear. BUT--it will take at least 7 days to get the results of the Covid test, and of course she is quarantined to her room for the duration. I'm guessing it's just a cold, but at her age, nothing is "just a cold". She is quite frail.

I don't fault them for this, but it has been so hard on her to not be allowed to see her family. I can definitely tell that she has had major cognitive decline in the last 7 months. To not be allowed out of her apartment is so sad. To top it off, Sunday is her 90th birthday! We had planned to have a cake and balloons delivered to the dining room, so at least she would have a bit of a celebration with her friends. The only blessing is that she won't know or remember it's her birthday.

Anyone else dealing with aging parents they can't see and hug? Have you done FaceTime calls or window visits? Any other ideas to make it easier for her? I do call her at least once a day, if not twice.


** Edited to add: It didn't take 7 days to get results, the nurse manager called me this afternoon to let me know her Covid test was positive. Also received a call from her Doctor, she has consulted with several geriatric doctors in our area, and is prescribing steroids, and a few supplements. They will call me each morning to let me know how she is doing.

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whatsayyou18

My very mentally astute and fairly healthy 102 y.o. MIL has been dealing with it since March. They were on the verge of reinstating in-person visits but today announced that due to the increase of cases in the county present measures will remain. It sucks.

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annztoo

Like whatsayyou, my 101 yr old Mother is mentally astute and fairly healthy, but fortunately she still lives on her on and even does Facebook. My sister checks in on her daily and gets her to Dr. appts.

I live on the opposite coast and feel I cannot chance possible exposure from air travel and transmission of the virus to her or my family here. She thinks I should just 'mask up' and come visit but there's so much more involved than me just showing up with a mask on. Not an easy decision but one I have to deal with daily.

One would think by now that rapid, molecular testing would be available to everyone, especially those in nursing homes. Waiting for 7 days is senseless when symptoms can become worse in a matter of 2-3 days.

If you were to test negative, would they at least allow you to visit? It's just horrible how this has isolated those in nursing homes.

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Sandplum1-Bring Sophie back!!!

I'm so sorry your mom's test results will take so long and totally agree with annztoo. One would think that since the elderly are a vulnerable group that testing results would be stepped up!

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Michele

I’m really sorry. My mom’s 91. I’d hate for her to be in the same situation. A week is ridiculously long. I hope she’s just caught a little cold and is better soon.

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nickel_kg

Daily phone calls are good. Can she receive flowers, cookies, cards while she is quarantined?

My dad's in assisted living. It's a very nice facility. Since lockdown started, my sib's and I have taken turns baking cookies for the staff twice a month. We figure they deserve the treats, and it can't hurt for them to know we haven't forgotten about dad, or his care takers.

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tvq1

Nickel--yes, I can drop off gifts and/or food at the front portico, they then deliver it to her apartment. I like your idea of treating the staff. I am so grateful for them, they work so hard and are always cheerful and helpful.

Annztoo--I agree, I would think they would have a better test available, as waiting 7 days doesn't make sense.

I will say our state, and our county is spiking, having the highest daily numbers since June and July. I can't imagine her living like this for several more months.

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bpath

Tvq, a couple of weeks ago, during a ”care team” meeting, I asked about hospice. Within a week, I had signed my mother up for hospice. Two weeks later, the facility closed indoor visits, but through hospice, I can visit my mother. I don’t know if your loved one is eligible, but you might want to ask about it.

ETA, my mother is 96 and actually in good health, except for her Parkinson’s and related dementia and needing assistance with all her ADLs, and has been in memory care for two years. My thread over on Home Decorsting Conversations discusses it more.

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Raye Smith

To those with extremely elderly family members, think about this. They do have a higher likelihood of dying of something other than covid long before the covid restrictions end. How will you feel if you missed that last chance to see and hug them in person before they die? This is a good test to find out if you should visit them.

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nickel_kg

Raye, that's basically the question DH asked me. Dad is middle-stage Alzheimers. He's not entirely tethered to reality, of time or space, but is still good enough to not be in the memory care unit. As of last week, families are allowed to visit but only outside, masked, six feet distant, must stay on campus. Would my dad understand all those restrictions? Would he be disappointed if we couldn't take him in our car for a ride, or go back to his apartment with him?

Right now, his memories of us being with him are floating through his consciousness. When we phone him, he'll often say, "oh yes, someone stopped by yesterday, we went for an ice cream" ... which we used to do, but haven't since March. If we visit but with all those restrictions, will his memories build up of NOT being able to visit normally, and make him unhappy? It's a puzzle. But DH said yesterday, dad won't live forever, so our need to see him deserves consideration too. If he were of sound mind, the answer would be easy -- VISIT! But for now, we're going to take it slow. One short visit every other week, until we see if it upsets his mental state.

LOL I doubt that helps anyone here, but it helped me to write it out. Thanks for listening!

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tvq1

bpath: Thank you for that suggestion. Mom's doctor had mentioned hospice a few months ago, as she has a reoccurrence of a slow growing cancer. I guess that's hard for me to accept, I equate hospice with "very end of life". I'm just not ready. But I need to be more realistic. I will discuss it with her care team and also again with her doctor. (I'll check out your thread in Home Dec, too)

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tvq1

raye and nickel: Raye, I do understand your question! It's a tough one to answer, and I've had many sleepless nights thinking about it. The possibility of my mom dying alone just breaks my heart. There are no easy answers, for sure.

Nickel: My Mom is mid stage too, still knows who we all are, but is not so good at remembering family members & friends that are not close and immediate. The only blessing of her dementia is the she really doesn't remember how long it's been since she has seen us in person!

I totally understand the it helps to "write it out"! I wish there was an active "caregiver" forum here on Houzz, would sure be comforting and helpful to hear other's experiences and opinions.

Thanks again for your comments and advice!

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nickel_kg

tvq1, yes, that's where my dad is now, too -- very much a mixed blessing.

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maifleur03

Having gone through dementia with my husband and he was placed in hospice twice. Talk to the doctor some doctors will only place patients into hospice if they are actively dying.

A second thing depending on how rapidly the dementia progresses the Alzheimer's units in this area once a patient needs additional care they are sent to a regular unit. If your loved one is in a regular unit there is nothing other than keeping the people locked up that can not be done in a regular skilled center.

Thirdly while you are visiting your relative when you step inside a center you are also visiting all the rest of the patients especially if the hallway that you pass down is the one that the residents must use. Each year at my husband's there was a sign on the door stating if you have a cold or flu do not enter. Since you can have the virus and have no symptoms error on the side of caution.

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chisue

I'm so surprised that a hospice program accepts patients not expected to die within six months. I understand that the six month period can be and is extended should the patient improve, but for how long? Also, how is this funded?

My mother died before hospice was available in the Chicago area, and we have supported the concept from its early days.

I've planned to die in hospice care -- in a facility, after seeing caregivers 'give out' trying to do it at home, even with hospice support. I'd expected to sign up when treatment for my multiple myeloma is no longer effective. Even before my diagnosis, I'd spoken with a hospice about what to specify for paliative care, not wanting to prolong dying. For instance, I had decided to decline hydration unless that was the only means of providing pain relief.

I'd appreciate hearing more about others' experiences with hospice. (I allow PM on this site, if you'd prefer that.)

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maifleur03

chisue my husband had a urinary infection along with an enlarged heart the first time he was placed on hospice. His doctor still thought he would benefit from it the second six months. Sometime in the middle he had regained enough that he was able to feed himself again and hospice was ended. The second time I was the one that was insisting because I knew he was actively dying. I am not certain the first time was necessary but it was one of those the doctor suggests so I did it. Medicare will pay for the Hospice charges but the person that is placed in hospice is required to pay for any other charges. In my case it was the room, board, and regular medications. However each state and company has their own requirements. My husband's diapers and bed pads were furnished by the nursing home. A friend had to go purchase them because they were not covered.

Make certain that all family members know of your wishes and agree to them. I have seen too many people from the home rushed to the hospital because a family member insisted that something must be done. If you can find out if there is a residential hospice facility in your area. They are more likely to follow your wishes rather than the distant relative.

Since it may be a long time before you end remission along with a long time before needing hospice when you are actively dying but are just to ill to take care of yourself I would like to suggest that you and others look at the skilled nursing or assisted living places that do allow hospice care for that time in between. Before I found out that my husband weighed to much for assisted care I only found one that would allow a person to die at the facility. The others insisted on a transfer to a skilled facility. Not something you want your loved ones to be trying to handle at that time.

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Raye Smith

maifleur03 - the couple of seconds it takes to walk down a hallway, where all the patient room doors are closed (standard now under covid) is extremely unlikely to spread infection to any other patients in a facility. Is it really worth not allowing anyone to have one last visit with their family member for that remote of a chance?

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maifleur03

Yes.

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nickel_kg

Even during deepest lockdown, my dad's facility said they'd make special arrangements for end of life visits. What specifically, I don't know, but I do trust their judgement.

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chisue

Yesterday I read a death notice that included thanks to a hospice for enabling a patient to come home to die. That sounded reasonable to me...provided the family could cope and the patient could be transferred before death was *imminent*.

Gives an additional meaning to the old hymn, "Going Home", doesn't it?

maifleur -- I appreciate you counsel. Nothing like the voice of experience! My DH and DS and his family know my wishes. My diagnosis was 2.5 years ago, and MM patients last an average of seven years, so I hope to be here a while longer -- killer busses and Covid not getting to me first.

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tvq1

Just got a call from the nurse at my Mom's place--so guess they really didn't need 7 days to get results.

I am just stunned--the test was positive for Covid. Even the nurse said she actually sounded better today than the last couple of days. Still no temperature, and just a mild cough. I do know that it can go from mild to much worse very quickly, so I'm still very concerned. She IS 90, and very frail. Having said that--she is also quite the spitfire, and if any 90 y.o. can kick this, my Mom can.


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maifleur03

I am so sorry to read about it being positive. I had so hoped that it would not be.

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tvq1

Thank you maifleur--that is very kind of you. We are just hoping for the best....

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Kathsgrdn

I'm sorry your mom is positive. I hope she continues to get better.

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jupidupi

Another thing to consider in deciding about hospice is that it offers a range of services for the family members. Our family didn't want the religious counseling offered, but we did benefit from the social worker and my brother was able to see a therapist for grief counseling for up to a year following my mother's death.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

I've SEEN her once from the beginning of March until now. Her dementia is so bad, she does not understand what's going on. Even when I saw her I did not get to hug her. I did use hand motions to show her I wish I could, and wrote it down on the white erase board because she couldn't hear me. I think she understood what I wished I could do. I'm quite glad they're not letting people near my mom, and it breaks my heart daily because I miss her so much. I understand, but I wouldn't want to give her COVID. October 8th. They shut the facility down last week. The week inbetween her brother got to see her.



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Michele

Tvq1, I’m sorry to hear the test was positive. I hope she has a mild case and recovers quickly.

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yeonassky

So sorry the test was positive. Thinking positive thoughts for your mother. Sounds like she's got excellent care and that you are kept well in the loop.

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Debby

My co-worker has a brother in a nursing home here in Calgary that has had two outbreaks of Covid in HIS unit! He's been tested many many times and never gotten it. He's been very lucky, but went five months without being allowed out of his unit nor having his sisters and nieces come visit him. He has dementia and is only 65 years old and we don't believe he realized how long he had gone without seeing them. He was in another lockdown last month when another patient came down with Covid. That along with my co-worker taking care of her 101 year old mother in her home has taken a toll on her. Half the time her mom can't remember who her daughter is. A few weeks ago, co-worker was pouring her mom a coffee and her mom asked her how long she worked there. Her mom thought they were in a coffee shop, I think. Her brother rarely remembers exactly who she is.


I'm sorry to hear your mom's test result for covid is positive. Let's stay really positive and hope it stays milk and she has a complete recovery. I've seen many stories of people even old than she who have completely recovered. ((hugs to you))

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chisue

tvq1 -- My city's website lists ounty-wide cstats on positive cases, deaths...and recoveries(!), which are 96.7% on the report posted Friday. That includes cases/recoveries in nursing facilities. So...although deaths are largely (about 75%) among those in care, clearly many of those people do recover.

Our county (northern Illinois) is about to reach the 8% 3-day rolling average that will result in lockdown. My city has very few cases, but Covid is spreading fast through larger areas of the county. It's one of the most economically diverse counties in the nation.

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nickel_kg

Best wishes for your mother, tvq! A positive is a shock and concerning -- but there is hope she has a mild case and will recover fully.

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sjerin

I'm sorry your mom tested positive, tvq1, and wish her a speedy recovery. Remember the over-100 woman who got the virus early in the spring and recovered! She's right as rain now. I'll say a prayer for your mom.

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glenda_al


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tvq1

Thank you all for your kind words--I am really touched. I talked to her this morning, and she sounded great and was very perky. When I asked her if she still had a cough--she told me "no, I threw it out the window and it rolled down the street".

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Michele

Your mom has a great attitude. I’m glad she is doing good! This is a weird virus. I know of 3 people who had it, were in the “high risk” category, and came out of it alright. So many unknowns about it makes it very unnerving.

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Raye Smith

Maifleur03 - I wasn't given the opportunity to say goodbye to one of my parents before they died, it was and still is awful and cruel. You might want to rethink what is truly important in life.

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rob333 (zone 7a)

tvq, don't they always say exactly what we need to hear? I love that answer. That makes me so happy. I hope it does the same for you. Moms are the absolute best.

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wildchild2x2

I 'm sorry your mother is ill. Wishing her a speedy recovery.

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