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To want mum to have one more chance at living alone before putting her in a home?

(57 Posts)
sandyballs Sat 01-Sep-12 08:29:13

She is 86, diagnosed with Alzheimer's 3 years ago but has been living alone with carers going in twice a day. Her short term memory has been bad, repeating herself within seconds and in the last few months her house has become dirty and also she hasn't been washing, also lost things like bank card, keys. I've helped out as much as possible. She was independent still, going to local shops and having lunch out every day.

Just over a week ago I had a phone call at midnight from one of mums neighbours. Mum had been going up and down the road in her nightie, hammering on doors looking for dad who died 20 years ago. She has been in hospital since then. Urine or blood infections were suspected which would explain the dramatic decline but tests were fine. The OT and a social worker have assessed mum and believe it is in her best interests to now go into a care home. My brother agrees but I can't get my head around the fact that mum will never go back to her little bungalow and will basically be locked up in a home, unable to potter down to the shops or get lunch out unless me or my brother take her. Completely taking away her independence. I think one more chance in her own home but brother is saying now is the time with the help of these people in hospital and says it will be harder to do it if she goes home and wanders again.

I just feel so sad about it all. She talks about going home but talks about the home she grew up in, not the bungalow she has spent the last 20 years in.

Tee2072 Sat 01-Sep-12 08:31:31

As hard as it is, I think an assisted living facility would be the best for her, if not a full care home.

Next time it might be leaving a pot on the stove and burning her house down.

NameChangeGalore Sat 01-Sep-12 08:32:48

Isn't moving in with you an option? She's a danger to herself, yet you still want her to live alOne. That's bonkers. She should be in a care home or living with relatives.

sinkyroselee Sat 01-Sep-12 08:35:21

Sounds like its got to a point she can't lives alone safely.

Sorry. Dementia is a horrible disease.

eurochick Sat 01-Sep-12 08:35:54

Would sheltered accommodation be an option? She would essentially have her own small flat within a complex that has a warden on site. My gran has lived in one of these places for years. She has full independence and can come and go as she pleases and has her own front door, but with a bit of a safety net. But they might not take her if she is thought to be a danger to herself (sheltered accomm will have a kitchen, etc).

BlueGoddess Sat 01-Sep-12 08:36:08

On the other hand she'll have company and be able to make new friends in an environment that is safe, with people there to look after her 247. She won't have to do all the chores, and will be provided with food without having to cook or wash up.

LadyMargolotta Sat 01-Sep-12 08:36:12

This is very very hard for you.

Have you had a meeting with the social workers/ occupational therapists etc in the hospital? You can ask to attend a multidisciplinary team.

If she does move back home again, how will you feel? How often will you be able to check on her? It's great that a neighbour phoned you, but if your mum goes out again at midnight, in her nightie, in the middle of winter when it may be icy out, can you guarantee that someone will phone you? Do you really want that to happen again?

Lougle Sat 01-Sep-12 08:36:18

This is the wrong place to discuss this. How can I say YABU?

What if the next time your Mum leaves the gas on, or turns the cooker on with her handbag on the top? What if she gets run over? Or falls and can't get up? Or gets soconfused she freezes?

Your Mum is already confined. She's just confined with minimal help. Put your energy into finding the right home. Don't just look at the paint work, I worked in a beautiful yet awful home. Look at the interaction you see, both between residents, and between staff and resident.

Lilicat1013 Sat 01-Sep-12 08:40:18

I tend to lean towards your brother point of view on this but obviously I don't have the same emotional connections as you do which help you form your view point.

I would just be worried about her wandering when it gets darker and colder. If a neighbour didn't spot her she could be out all night in the cold.

It is understandable you feel sad about it, it is a sad situation but ideally a decision needs to be made when she is well enough to involve her in the choices and discuss it with her. This should overall be less upsetting to her that trying to do it when she is at a point she can't participate in the process.

Hopefully if you are able to find a nice place where you trust the staff and she feels safe you can be reassured she has someone there 24/7 if she were ever to need any help.

EchoBitch Sat 01-Sep-12 08:43:05

Can't you try and help her decide it's for the best,there are some lovely care homes but you have to look carefully.
Visit them unannounced and speak to the residents and staff.
Ask questions.
Take her to visit with you if would help.
Can she take bits of her own furniture etc?

If she ok to do it can she go home with you and decide what she wants to take with her?

I wish you all the best,i though i was going to have to make this decision earlier this year but didn't have to in the end.

Hopeforever Sat 01-Sep-12 08:45:44

You would do better with this in the elderly parents topic.

If you find the right home for your mum she will still be able to go out and shop or have lunch. It needs to be in the right location with a good attitude from the staff who could send a carer with her

From what you say, it would be vary dangerous for her to return home. I witnessed a lovely lady fall in the shopping mall a few months back, I stayed with her till she got to A&E and her family arrived. She was living alone with carers, she didn't have her families details in her bag on an obvious piece of paper. Had to search her bag, finding hundreds of pounds, to find a scrap of paper with a mobile number on it. It took me nearly 2 hours to reach them.

It is a very distressing time, realising that your mum can no longer live independently.

juneau Sat 01-Sep-12 08:46:11

But would she be returning to her home just to give you time to mentally adjust? I think you need to be honest here. It sounds like her illness has reached a critical point - one at which she now needs constant help and supervision - but perhaps you are not accepting that this sad time has come. She is clearly a danger to herself - possibly has been for some time if her short term memory is shot - and if her doctors are saying now is the time to act, then it probably is.

Lilicat1013 Sat 01-Sep-12 08:49:36

By the way I know there is a lot in the news about awful care home staff. I just wanted to reassure you this is unusual.

I worked in care, learning difficulties and mental health rather than elderly people but most people end up working with a variety of different groups over time if they work in care. In the homes I worked in everyone genuinely cared about the welfare of the service users and what was best for them.

My step father ended up in a care home after a serious illness left him unable to care for himself and the staff were wonderful.

I think the most important thing to look out for is a lack of visiting hours, we used to have service users friends and family to visit anytime they wanted to. It shows there is nothing to hide if you never know when you have a visitor in the building. The only thing is for them to let us know if they were coming at meal times as that could be disruptive otherwise.

EchoBitch Sat 01-Sep-12 08:51:55

And yanbu,i wanted my Mum to go home,she had had a stroke and had great support.
We did get her home but she died there after also being diagnosed with cancer.
Unfortunately Altzheimers is a much more drawn out process and imo worse than most other illnesses,so maybe it is time for her to move somewhere where she will be safer.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 01-Sep-12 08:56:06

It's very hard for you because your roles are being reversed you are having to start being the 'parent' and making decisions for your mum. This is very difficult, but your mum needs to be safe.

Thymeout Sat 01-Sep-12 09:05:25

I'm very sorry but I agree with your brother. And the professionals who have assessed her. Sadly, the situation is not going to get better. Wandering the streets at night is a major cause for concern. She is no longer safe on her own and a transition straight from hospital to a care home is likely to go more smoothly than waiting for the next thing to happen and then having to make emergency arrangements.

My mother also had dementia so I know how upsetting it is for the family and my heart goes out to you, but she really does need 24 hour supervision now. It is likely, too, that she will have declined during her hospital stay and the picture you have in your mind of how she was before would no longer apply so if she went home she wouldn't be able to lead the sort of life she had before.

sashh Sat 01-Sep-12 09:05:48

You would not leave a young child to fend for themselves. And in many ways your mother has the same needs as a child.

How many people on here have had a toddler think it's time to get up at 3am?

The difficulty with an adult is that they are even less safe than a child. They are capable of putting a pot on the stove or getting out of the house at midnight.

This is for her safety.

Try not to feel guilty. My grandmother was in a similar situation. She would forget she hadn't eaten and when the carer came to cook a meal she didn't want to trouble him so would ask for a sandwich.

She spent the last two years of her life in a home, and it was a home. She put on weight because someone would help her to the table and ask which option she wanted for her meal and then put a plate in front of her.

My grandmother wasn't able to take advantage of the activities but the home had entertainment every evening, wine and chese, bingo, singing etc.

They also had trips out, to Blackpool for the lights with fish and chips thrown in (this was in Lancashire).

It really was a nice place to live, there were gardens and the residents could go out at any time, but accompanied by a carer.

When you were little your mum did what was right for you and your brother. Sometimes you wouldn't like it, you probably had a tantrum about brushing teeth or going to school or not being allowed to go somewhere. Your mum did things to keep you safe, it's your turn to do the same.

Go have a look at some places, get a feel, ask to talk to residents and staff.

The last time I saw my grandmother she reconised me and knew my name, but not the relationship, she thought I was married to my dad, and that my mum was a little girl.

But, and this is the important bit, she was happy, she was smiling and trying to flirt with the 25 year old partner of one of the staff.

jubilee10 Sat 01-Sep-12 09:09:23

We were in a similar situation with Mil. Dsil didn't want her to go into a home but could no longer manage to keep a close enough eye on her. She wanted us to give more help with her but she was wandering outside at night and neighbours had found her on the beach. We had young children and could not offer anything more.

She was worried that mil was a very introverted person. She didn't have friends and kept herself to herself. Sil thought she would hate all the people around her.

We found a lovely residential home where she had her own room so that she didn't have to mix if she didn't want to. However she became the life and soul of the place, joining in with reminisce groups and leading the singing at every opportunity. She was very happy there.

It just took sil to get her head round what was best for mil.

CwtchesAndCuddles Sat 01-Sep-12 09:17:28

It is very hard to accept but your mum is no longer safe to live on her own. There are some very good homes, concentrate on finding the best one for her.

If you insist on her "having one more try" and something happened you would never forgive yourself.

Squitch Sat 01-Sep-12 09:22:43

I think YABU. My mum was diagnosed with dementia 3 years ago. Both the hospital and SS advised that a care home was the best thing, but I, like you, couldn't stand the thought of someone who was previously so independent being 'stuck' in a care home (my mums dementia came on VERY quickly, one Friday she was going up to the pub to do the crossword with her friends, the next Friday she was sitting in soiled clothes hallucinating small children).

I decided that she should come home (I lived with her). It was the worst decision I ever made. I worked p/t, had a 3yr old and couldn't cope at all (and I had carers coming in twice a day). Dementia is like nothing you could imagine. People used to say 'I bet it's like having 2 children' - it is NOTHING like having 2 children.

Mum was incontinent, but used to hide her soiled pads around the house. She would refuse to go to bed. I had to resort to bolting rooms shut when I went to bed so that she wouldn't set fire to things. She used to try and 'smoke' rolled up pieces of paper. She would put the cooker on and forget and leave t-towels, unopened tins of food on the hob (thankfully have a good smoke alarm). She used to hide food and refuse to eat, never drank any water. In fact, basically everything you could possibly imagine that would cause either her or me and my dd harm, she did!

She is now in a care home. It was the best thing for her in every possible way. She eats three meals a day now. There's always someone to talk to. She doesn't have a sleep deprived, anxious daughter losing her temper with her, but calm, qualified staff who accept her mental health without having to struggle with their own emotions. She is safe, warm, and happy.

Sorry that turned into a bit of an essay. I do understand that it is hard to see your mum, who has been there to look after you your whole life, suddenly need to be looked after, but she does. You are not letting anyone down by accepting that she needs to be looked after.

iscream Sat 01-Sep-12 09:25:07

I know how hard it is to do, but your mother is a danger to herself from what you have said. Wandering around, she could get hurt or ill. It is really in her best interest to have 24 hour care in her condition.
When you were a little girl, your mom had to do things for your own good that she felt bad doing, like have injections, go to the dentist, take your medicine, but she knew it was best for you and did it for you. She made sure you were healthy and safe, and now you must return that favour.
My FIL had to have my MIL put into a nursing home, in a locked ward for dementia patients. She was a bit confused for a couple of days, but soon settled in. It is a nice place, she has a private room, and she is quite happy there. FIL takes her out for a walk every day. They have activities every day and she is safe and well cared for. She doesn't recognize any photo's of her home and she lived there for over 50 years. She doesn't remember us from the past, but sort of recognizes us as the nice people who visit her.
It is hard for you, but best for your mother. Hang in there.

TherapeuticVino Sat 01-Sep-12 09:27:44

Honestly? She needs full time care now. It is a horrible decision but she's not going to get better. We have just been through this and finding a lovely care home is the best thing we could have done. She is now happier than she has been in years and I wish we'd done it sooner.

Sorry you're in this position, it sucks doesn't it?

MammaTJisanOlympicSumoWrestler Sat 01-Sep-12 09:29:35

It is a very sad time for you, but I think you have to accept that this is what is best for her.

The home I work in, the residents are not locked in and unable to go out. Those who are safe to do so come and go freely. Those who are not safe to do so get taken out often.

Your feelings are your feelings and YANBU to feel like this. It is a form of bereavment, losing your mum bit by bit.

You would be unreasonable and would never forgive yourself if you prevented her from going in to a home and anything happened to her.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 01-Sep-12 09:31:14

It's the hardest decision you'll ever have to make.
My mum was the same, she was in hospital too and like you all we wanted her to do was for her to go back to her own little house.
We were thinking emotionally though, not practically. There really was no way she could live alone, she needed 24 hour care.
She went into a lovely caring home, but sadly only lived another month.
I know how you feel Op, but it will be the best thing.sad

mumnotmachine Sat 01-Sep-12 09:34:16

I've had to make this decision in the last two weeks as well, my father was not looking after himself after my mum died and getting increasingly dependant on me and demanding I drop everything and go down there at a minutes notice.
He went into hospital with dizzy spells and left with dementia- the decline in two weeks was horrendous.
For us sheltered housing was not an option as he was a danger to himself, and I made the heartbreaking decision to put hin in residential care this week.
He seems ok, its not what any of us want, but I couldnt cope with his demands any more, especially with working and having kids, plus I dont live in the same town as him

Its not what I wanted by any means, but it was the best decision for us (once I can get over the guilt)

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