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Could someone who works in a care home help me please?

(4 Posts)
duckme Fri 15-May-20 00:25:57

My elderly nan has dementia. She was diagnosed at the beginning of the year but her condition began to deteriorate rapidly, coincidentally, from the onset of lockdown ( I think the severe disruption to her routine has bought on this deterioration). She has lived with my parents for 8 years.
Over the past three weeks my nan has suffered about 20-25 falls, miraculously she has not injured herself, but seeing as these falls generally happen during the night (she sleeps during the day and then wanders around at night) my parents weren't able to sleep. My nan also left a hob on when she began to cook bacon at 2am, luckily my mom woke because of the smell.
The social worker deemed it unsafe for my nan to stay at home and we took her to a care home on Friday for respite care. It was the singularly most horrendous thing I have ever had to do. We had to just hand her over at the door and walk away.
We haven't been able to visit, obviously, though we are phoning every day.

My questions, to care home staff, are;
Was it a good idea for her to go into respite care (with the view to moving to permanent care) during this pandemic? How do new arrivals cope under these circumstances? Do staff get fed up of relatives calling?
What can we do to make my nan feel comfortable and safe and happy in her new situation?
This bloody virus has made an absolutely shit situation, a billion times more shit. The fact that we can't visit her to reassure her feels absolutely barbaric to me, though I obviously understand why. But I feel as though she's sitting there wondering why we've just abandoned her and the guilt is just tearing me up.
Any reassurance would be most welcome, but any I also want to get a true, and real view too.

Thank you

nellodee Fri 15-May-20 00:54:44

Its been a long time since I worked with people with dementia, but what stuck with me was that whilst memories were very fleeting, emotions were not. So, even if someone couldn't remember what happened five minutes ago, if it had cheered them up, that mood boost could still be around a while afterwards, whether or not they could remember the cause. Even though your nan might not remember your phonecalls, it doesn't mean they don't have an effect. Your love for her is very apparent in your post, and I'm sure it will be apparent to her when you speak with her. That boost will stick with her. Obviously, it would be much better if you could see each other and I'm sure this is very hard on all of you. This virus is truly bloody shitty.

Everyone loves presents - a packet of pringles, a bottle of brandy, or whatever her favourite treat is. I don't know how bad your nan's memory is at the minute, or what she has in her room, but photos of loved ones, special trinkets at the side of the bed, a favourite perfume, a much loved DVD, or favourite music are all good sensory triggers that can help her feel connected to home. I'm sure you've thought of all of these.

And however busy the staff are, I know we always thought highly of the families who had a lot of contact. Wouldn't we all want family like that, if we were in one of those places?

Mo81 Fri 15-May-20 14:52:50

Again been a while since i worked with dementia patients. If you are able you could take familiar things in such as photos ornaments maybe a memory box. As a nurse i find it really usefull to know the persons story life history likes dislikes this can help communication with the person.
Your nan may well be having all these falls due to new surroundings or other reasons. There are things that can beput in place for this speak to the home and discuss pressure mats they go onthe floorandwill alert staff if your nan gets up at night.it sounds like as a family you have all done your best to care for your nanas long as possible .please dont feel guilty your nanwill soon settle and this virus wont last forever.and no the staff wont mind you calling at all xx

duckme Fri 15-May-20 15:25:28

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm really happy to hear that the staff don't mind relatives calling, it puts my mind at rest to know that she will be able to speak to one of us each day. When she goes into the permanent home, she will be able to take more of her home comforts with her. Her current care home have said that we will be able to drive up today and they'll bring her to the window so the kids can see her and wave to her and my mom has dropped a cake off and a postcard we sent.
I think it's going to take us all a while to get used to this.
Thank you again

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