Time for Geriatric Psychiatric Hospitalization

Tuesday I took my mother from her stroke rehab to the hospital for a swallow test. When we returned to her stroke rehab afterwards, she refused to get out of my car. She went so far as to throw my car into park when I was driving toward the entrance. I warned her that her behavior was dangerous and that if she continued she might end up psychiatrically hospitalized.
To get my mom out of my car, the stroke rehab facility had up to ten different staff members try to cajole her out of the car and back to her room. Two Orange County sheriffs were called to see if she would listen to them (not really their job).
Finally the paramedics came. A handsome young paramedic took my mother’s vitals and monitored her heart rate. She refused a wheelchair and pointed to their gurney. After a three hour standoff, the paramedics wheeled her back into the rehab facility on a gurney.
On Wednesday, my mother’s rehab doctor called and informed me that she refused food, drink, medication and all stroke rehab treatment (speech, occupational and physical therapy). He recommended a psychiatric evaluation and checked for a urinary tract infection (UTI) which can result in confusion, a delirium-like state, agitation, hallucinations and behavioral changes.
After her psychiatric evaluation, she was transferred to a small inpatient psychiatric facility with expertise in working with geriatric patients. Maybe my mother will finally get the help that she needs. Unfortunately, psychiatric hospitalization relies heavily on group therapy, a format which she cannot benefit from for she cannot talk due to her stroke.


63 responses to “Time for Geriatric Psychiatric Hospitalization”

  1. Actually, after having a couple of decades of individual therapy, I found group therapy refreshing, primarily because the healing occurs when the group members support each other.

  2. Group therapy is to mental health treatment what Velveeta is to cheese. It tastes like cheese but it isn’t.

  3. Yes. Tomorrow I plan to visit and just wear a mask to minimize transmitting the virus I have.

  4. Maybe this is a chance to get to know her in a different light. Become reacquainted perhaps. Enjoy the time with her – our mom’s are always our mom’s no matter what the illness or behavior. I hope you’re feeling better soon, Kitt

  5. That is terrible of her. Cruel. We have all sung along with my mom, laughing even as we sang nonsense noises and hummed.

  6. If she’s able to produce some sound and snatches of songs, that’s great! A month into her post-stroke, she’s no doubt cycling through the grief process. My dad did that, and it was so painful to see. Plus my mom for 66 years told him he couldn’t sing, so I had to convince him that he should try. He wouldn’t do it when she was home…it was one of our secrets…?

  7. Her speech and music therapist were doing just that with my mother before she refused treatment. She does try singing, but still is having trouble finding the words. She’s just one month into her recovery. I understand that loss speech due to left lobe damage takes time and a lot of rehab. We have sung to her and encourage her to sing. She mostly makes noises, which at least uses her voice, or sings parts of songs she has memorized from long past but is not yet able to converse using song.

  8. That must be so horrible, needing to communicate something but unable to.
    I learned a strategy that I used very successfully with my dad when he lost his speech due to a stroke.
    The speech center is located in Broca’s area on the left side of the brain. The equivalent place on the right side is where we sing from. Often people who cannot speak can sing what they want to say. You might want to tell her about that, then start humming together some familiar song, without words, then when she sees that she can really do that, choose a word, one word, and sing the same tune with that one word. She may very well start singing conversations, if she catches on!
    A couple of months ago I visited my aunt in rehab, and I sat with her at dinner. She is a singer, and she loves to entertain. So we started singing old time songs, and pretty soon we had fifty oldsters singing along with us, some of whom had not spoken in years! It was really sweet. Try an old song that she would know well, like “A Bicycle Built For Two,” if she likes that one. It’s easy to sing.

  9. She does have a UTI, which can affect behavior, as a stroke can, too. As soon as I’m well enough, I plan to visit her. I miss her, which is interesting because I’ve seen far more of my parents since her stroke than I usually do.

  10. Wow, a 3 hour standoff must have been quite traumatic for you. Try to remember, your mom’s current behavior doesn’t define who she is and always has been. She still loves you and will never stop loving you. As sophisticated and advanced as medicine has become, we still don’t know what goes on with the inner workings of the brain. I hope you mom, as well as you, are doing okay. I will be thinking of you

  11. Well, she’s at the small psych hospital desperately trying to communicate but unable to do so. They’ve tried communication boards and writing with no success. She’s had something specific she’s been trying to communicate since her stroke.
    She has been diagnosed with a UTI. Once that is treated, some of her behavioral symptoms may abate. Other symptoms predate both the UTI and the stroke.

  12. So sorry your Mom is going through this. However, like someone said she would still benefit from the group therapy even though she can’t talk. And it may help with her social anxiety as she will need to interact with others. It is a difficult time for all of you. I hope things get better soon.

  13. Sending tail wags your way. You’re in a pinch and I’m very sorry for that. Woof!

  14. What a nightmare!
    But not at all unusual.
    A friend of mine had to hunt his mother down, who had run naked out into the woods, because she knew he was planning to take her to a nursing home (he was).
    One of the huge sources of grief in or elderly parents is the loss of their independence.
    And your mom can’t even vent, because she can’t talk! What a nightmare!
    Trapped, without any say in her own destiny.
    I don’t want to live long enough for that to happen to me. I want to leave the planet with most of my parts working, on my own terms.
    Have things calmed down yet?

  15. You are so welcome, Kitt! Xoxo

  16. You’re welcome. Being on the other end of the health care i know how frustrating and heartbreaking it is for family to see their loved one change after a stroke. Just keep praying-even if for the tiniest bit of peace for your mom. {Hugs}

  17. Right brain handles singing, art, creative. Compensates when left side which handles speech is damaged.

  18. Very interesting ey! And when she prays, it’s fluent too ?

  19. Yes, they checked for UTI. Pretty sure more than one thing going on with her.

  20. True. But she has social anxiety, so it may still be difficult for her.

  21. I get it that she wants out. My parents miss each other and miss their home.

  22. Good vibes appreciated. I’ll take it all right now.

  23. Thank you, Maggie. Bless you.

  24. Thank you so much, Sassy!

  25. Regaining speech after a major front lobe stroke takes time. She has made progress, but the progress is slow going. Thank you, Dy.

  26. Same. I think. Maybe she doesn’t understand everything, but she understands much more than she can communicate.

  27. Right, I understand. My uncle had a stroke years ago. He can’t speak either. But he can sing, it is the strangest thing.

  28. Interesting how they can access speech through singing. Singing uses right side of brain, so for left side injuries that affect speech, can often sing before speak.

  29. Thank you, Josh! Difficult for her to fully benefit from treatment when she can’t speak.

  30. So sorry Kitt, it just gets more complicated. We went through a pretty nasty spell this year with my MIL..it did turn out to be a UTI. I’m sure they’ll check for that. Thinking of you. Hope all turns out well. ❤️

  31. aitcheeevee Avatar

    She might not be able to actively participate in group work, but she may benefit from being present when others are talking. She may be able to relate to the other participants experiences. I’m thinking of you and your family at this time. You truly are a warrior

  32. that sucks when the very people you are trying to help, act like they don’t want it or even reject outright? that would make me feel like my efforts weren’t value. that is not far to you. your efforts are worthy of praise! be strong!

  33. Hugs, strongs and every possible good wish in the world.

  34. Wow Kitt, I know this must be very difficult especially around the holiday season. Stay strong and sending good vibes your way! Take care!

  35. This is an all too familiar merry go round to me between my mom, dad, Jim’s mom, brother (his father died from a heart condition before we met)…exhausting, overwhelming, frustrating, and lots of tears. I am so very sorry for this situation – beyond words.

  36. Hugs Kitty. I KNOW it’s not easy for you or her. Please know you have my heartfelt and deepest prayers, thoughts and positivity to get you through this {HUGS}

  37. Don’t feel sorry, the last thing you need is to feel bad about a well-written effort to share feelings. You need to share this and I’m glad that we can be your audience. I hope it helps, at least somewhat.

  38. You are an incredible, strong, loving daughter. You must be wiped out from such an ordeal – my prayers are with you every step of the way. I’m so glad to hear she is receiving specialized help, Kitt. I’m also hoping for a miracle – that she’ll be able talk soon somehow. I can’t remember if her speaking again is a possibility; please forgive me, but even if it’s not, I am hoping for that miracle.
    Love you!!!

  39. She still struggles to get the words out, but she is totally aware of what everyone is saying.

  40. ? Your poor mum! And poor YOU! My husbands mum had a stroke many, many years ago. She couldn’t speak for about a year, but one day, out of the blue, she began singing “You are my sunshine” to my father-in-law. That moment was so powerful for him that he became a believer. A beautiful story. I pray your mum experiences a miracle too ❤️

  41. Aw, Kitt, I’m so sorry. It’s hard to watch a parent go through what’s happening with your mom. Prayers and hugs for all of you!

  42. I certainly hope they realize the her condition and plan a good individual therapy for her. I am so sorry you are going through this. Please take care.

  43. Kitt, this reminds me so much of my father. The health situations were different, however, his behaviour was really hard on all of us. I am so sorry for what you are going through. I hope she can eventually get the help she needs for both of your sakes.

  44. That was hard to read, I’ll be praying for both of you…

  45. You’re welcome.

  46. I’m so sorry everything is so hard right now. Just wanted to let you know I read this and am sending love and prayers.

  47. Thank you, Tony, for your prayers. I hold you and your family in mine, as well.

  48. Thank you, Trent. I hope so, too.

  49. Oh my. I am so sorry for you both.

  50. Oh Kitt, what a difficult ordeal this must be for you. I’m praying for your mother and the whole family.

  51. I’m very sorry, Kitt. I’ll remember your Mam and you in my prayers. Tony.

  52.  Avatar


  53. I’m very sorry. Hopefully she will be able to get the care she needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.