The story you are about to hear did not take place in our area. We also want to emphasize not all nursing homes have problems. However, this is only one woman's story of how she took great pains to find a place for her mother to live due to health complications. Unfortunately for her family, that's not where the pain ended.
"We first noticed Mom was having problems when we'd go to her house and you might see potato chips in her medicine cabinet or different things like that."
These are pictures of Brenda Wagner's mother in happy times. Like so many, Wagner's family realized their mother was incapable of taking care of herself as she got older because of complications caused from dementia.
Their first step was to move her into Wagner's home where she attended adult daycare while the family was at work, but the night's proved to be more difficult.
"It got to where we'd find her going out the door with her purse. You almost had to stay awake."
So they decided to try an assisted living home but that too failed.
"It wasn't like I made a decision to just put her in a nursing home. I went through and did all the steps I was supposed to do."
They ended up moving her mother into a nursing home in Northern Kentucky. Wagner says she visited every night to have dinner with her mother.
"I saw a lot of good, a lot of bad, a lot of coldness, a lot of kindness."
In the fall of 2004 Wagner's mother began having falls. At that time, the nursing home took some precautions to prevent her from getting hurt.
"They gave her an alarming mat. It was a mat that went in front of her bed. It was my understanding that as soon as she would touch that, the alarm would go off."
But last May the mat wasn't in her mother's room when Wagner got a terrible wake up call.
"It was about 2 in the morning. And they told me who they were and that mom had passed away."
When Wagner and her siblings went to the nursing home to find out what had happened to their mother.
"We noticed she had a big red mark going down the right side of her face. And none of us knew what that was. And my little brother lifted the cover to hold mother's hand and we could see that her hand was twisted back."
The next morning Wagner got a call from the administrator saying they wanted to discuss how her mother had died.
"She admitted to me that my mom was found with her head between the bed rail and the mattress."
The administrator told her that the employees would be dealt with but that's no consolation to Wagner and her family.
"That's the thing that hurts so bad. I don't know how long she laid there. Was she calling for help?"
Wagner is taking legal action against that nursing home.
Again we want to emphasize not all nursing homes are bad place for future care. When choosing one it is of the utmost importance to research the home and keep an eye on your loved one. In part three of "Protecting Our Parents," we'll give you information on how to choose a nursing home.