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Moving mum with dementia between care homes (70 miles away)

(92 Posts)
Numberlock Mon 22-Jul-13 11:11:46

My mum is 87 and has recently been diagnosed with dementia. She lives around 70 miles away from me now but as her current care home do not cater for dementia needs, it seemed a good time to bring her near to me.

I have found a great home 5 minutes from where I live. I plan to move her 2 weeks today. This will give 2 weeks for her settle in before I go on holiday for 7-10 days. (She has no other family.) The alternative would be to wait till September which is too long.

The question is how do I help to manage the move? Most days she is too confused to have a conversation about it. However, yesterday she had quite a 'clear' day when I broached it, saying that I would really like her to come and live near me so I could visit her every day and so could her 3 grandsons. She just said that she wouldn't know anyone. I will continue on the same vein but it very much depends on how she is on the day as to how much she will be aware of what's going on.

Has anyone else had experience of this and how did you manage it?

greenhill Mon 22-Jul-13 13:13:19

I have no experience of this, but am bumping your thread for the lunchtime crowd to have a look, hopefully smile

Please forgive me if I have phrased this insensitively: if your DM's dementia is progressing (so that she cannot remain at her current nursing home any longer) she may not be aware that she has moved after a little while, as presumably, the other residents at the nursing home would have changed relatively regularly (as their health situations changed or worsened). Although your DM would obviously be aware of the change in her immediate surroundings, unless the staff were constant and she had really good local friends visiting too, there may not be a need to draw attention to the change in town (unless she is well enough to leave the premises regularly on outings with you).

I think you have done the right thing, by having your DM nearer to you and your DC, as your DM will remember her own family more than regularly changing residents.

I hope someone can come along to give some practical advice smile

Numberlock Mon 22-Jul-13 14:52:27

Thanks very much greenhill.

Your comments aren't insensitive at all and your input is much appreciated. How it all goes will very much depend on how she is on the day and how aware she is of the change in her surroundings or where she thinks we're going. I will take one of my sons with me and make sure one of my other sons is at the other end when we arrive.

Everything else you have mentioned is spot on and is exactly why I am moving her - she no longer has links to the town where she is, the residents/staff have changed in the 4.5 years that she's been there, friends who used to visit have either passed away or are now housebound.

I just don't want her to think she's being kidnapped on the day. smile

twentyten Mon 22-Jul-13 19:04:46

Can the new home help here? Often the professionals have done this before and know how to do it- and ask advice from the current one. Perhaps Alzheimer's society? Making sure some familiar things are already in her room? You are doing the right thing. But be wary visiting every day- that is a massive commitment to take on. Good luck.

Numberlock Tue 23-Jul-13 13:33:47

Thanks twenty, I have taken advice from the new home and am liaising with the current home to prepare her.

I am also a member of the Alzheimer Society's message boards so good idea to post the same question there.

Regarding visiting every day, I just meant visiting her a lot more frequently than I can at present. I travel a lot with work plus am often away at weekends so sometimes could only see her once or twice a month. With her being so close I can fit in visits much more regularly, even if it's just for a short period of time.

Thanks very much for your kind wishes.

twentyten Tue 23-Jul-13 18:23:50

Glad to help. Have you come across contented dementia book- ideas to help.
It's so hard but you must look after yourself.

Needmoresleep Tue 23-Jul-13 19:01:30

I was also gong to post that Oliver James has a whole chapter in "Contented Dementia" about settling someone into a care home, what to take, what to say and how often to visit. I am not too sure about the rest of the book but this bit seemed practical.

Numberlock Tue 23-Jul-13 19:39:49

Oh great, thanks! Not heard of that so will have a look. Sounds very helpful.

Numberlock Fri 26-Jul-13 11:31:58

I've ordered the Oliver James book and it will arrive tomorrow.

In the meantime, I've had some good advice from her current home - they said to keep on with the same policy of telling her I want her to come and live nearer to me. And on the day of the move to tell her we're just going on holiday so she can try it out.

I think this could work so feeling a bit less nervous now. smile

twentyten Fri 26-Jul-13 18:01:24

Sounds a good plan. The staff will have been through it all before. Good luck and keep posting. You are doing the right thing!

Numberlock Mon 29-Jul-13 10:04:26

I have skim read the chapter on moving people to new homes and it's put the fear of God in me!

He recommends:

- 2-3 visits to the new home in advance (not possible as it would be a 3-hour round trip)
- a family member being in the new home constantly for the first 72 hours (!) - again not possible

I will just have to stick to the plan and hope for the best.

greenhill Sat 10-Aug-13 07:12:51

How did the move go? Hope your plan worked smile

Numberlock Sat 10-Aug-13 08:17:24

Hi greenhill thanks very much for asking, the move went well. I arrived at her old home at lunch time, cleared her room while she was eating then told her we were going on holiday for a few days and she was excited about that.

It's just sad that she's had to leave her friends behind in the old place. As the old home was just residential care, ie no dementia residents, it was very sociable so there was a nice atmosphere - they would watch TV, play cards and chat. Someone would always be asking my mum how she was or coming to give her a hug.

In the new place though it's all dementia residents so there's no opportunity to make new friends or chat to people. I think she feels really miserable and lonely.

It's all very sad. sad

greenhill Sat 10-Aug-13 08:26:17

Although it seems sad now, hopefully she'll have adjusted to the changes soon, and will be pleased to be seeing more of you and her grandsons.

Is there any way of getting messages to her from her old care home? Can you say the supervisor or such-and-such was asking after her? (I was wondering if getting her some postcards to send to her friends there might remind her of the exciting holiday feeling)

Do you play cards with her too?

Numberlock Sat 10-Aug-13 08:47:57

Yes hopefully it's just a case of adjusting. I do lots of things with her - last night we did some jigsaws that we found and we always do some line-dancing as she loves that grin.

It's just a totally different atmosphere in the home as I'm sure you can imagine.

She keeps saying she doesn't know what she's done wrong to be moved there and talks of going back to her house.

Sorry to be negative, hopefully things will settle down in time.

greenhill Sat 10-Aug-13 09:26:20

What a shame she thinks she's done something wrong sad

Your DM probably still feels just as before, rather than recognising that she is at the point of needing additional, specialist care. You have done the right thing though smile and at least you are able to do familiar and fun things together. It is early days yet and it will take a period of adjustment for you all. Hopefully with your extra visits, your DM will feel more content soon.

Numberlock Sat 10-Aug-13 12:52:36

Thanks Greenhill.

greenhill Mon 26-Aug-13 10:13:08

How is your DM now? Has she settled in yet? Are you finding it more convenient to visit her regularly?

Sorry, too many questions! This message is really to say, I was thinking of you and hoped your situation has improved.

Numberlock Mon 26-Aug-13 10:22:49

Thanks so much greenhill, can I PM you? The whole situation has got me really depressed. sad

filee777 Mon 26-Aug-13 10:25:01

I was just going to suggest contended dementia, I work extensively with dementia sufferers in my job.

I know a move can be very, very hard

If I can help at all just ask

Numberlock Mon 26-Aug-13 10:28:58

Thanks so much, I would love your help.

greenhill Mon 26-Aug-13 12:25:03

Of course you can PM me numberlock I'm here to offer support, (but filee can probably offer you more practical help) I'm not about this afternoon, but will be able to reply later on.

Numberlock Mon 26-Aug-13 12:42:35

Thank you, I've sent you a message. I will be out this evening so apologies for any delay in replying.

filee777 Mon 26-Aug-13 12:51:35

I think it's really common issue in dementia that people think they are doing/have done something wrong, I think it's part of the loss of memory. Repetition and stability are the key, make sure you visit at the same time of day, same day of week etc. to be honest I have found that doing an activity with a person is the best way to ensure they don't sink into a repetitive cycle of self hatred. So rather than just going to see her, go and have lunch with her or do singing with her, integrate into her life a bit.

Numberlock Mon 26-Aug-13 12:55:35

That is what I've already done.

She loves Russell Watson, line dancing and ice cream so we always incorporate that into a visit.

But she is a very sociable person and misses having company around her.

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