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My mother's hand

(61 Posts)
littlebillie Sun 23-Aug-20 22:30:42

With the announcement that we have a few more years of Covid ahead I realise I may never hold my mother's hand, kiss her cheek or hug her.

She is a nursing home where we have to sit 2 metres apart for 20 minutes a week. She has been very ill and is fading away.

Every time I see her she reaches out for my hand .

I feel we have failed a generation

OP’s posts: |
macaroniinapot Sun 23-Aug-20 22:33:32

In your situation I wouldn't not touch her. But I know what you mean.

I think that whilst it will be with us, it won't be as it is now. I would hope that the most vulnerable and those around them will be first in line with vaccines.

MiniMaxi Sun 23-Aug-20 22:38:14

Are you being monitored while you are with her? I would wash my hands, and hold her hand.

NavyKitchen Sun 23-Aug-20 22:43:22

I am in the exact same situation and I totally understand. In my case, my dm has advanced dementia and touch is the only communication we have really (except singing - she can't talk but she can sing in key!) I'm also in a restricted area (although frustratingly, my town has very low numbers but lumped in with the rest of greater Manchester - due to be lifted for us on Wednesday) so I've been banned from seeing her again.
My sister (who lives 15 minutes away but just outside the restricted area) has been allowed to go but got a phone call on Friday to say the home has closed to visitors again (we're not exactly sure why) so even after Wednesday I won't be allowed to go.
I'm very aware that dm in probably in her final months and I've seen her twice since March. Frustrating and heartbreaking. You have my sympathy thanks

Thneedville Sun 23-Aug-20 22:47:25

That’s so sad. Hopefully things will change in time.
But to those posters who say you should hold her hand - it’s not just about her but also about keeping all the other residents in the home safe, so no people can’t go against the nursing home’s policies. Sadly.

NavyKitchen Sun 23-Aug-20 22:51:55

@Thneedville I agree. I would never risk potentially sending infection into the home. There are too many vulnerable people who live there. I suspect my dm's home has closed to visitors again because of a suspected/confirmed case. This is what could happen if we don't comply, however devastating it is.
The only thing I'm thankful for is that dm is so advanced that she probably doesn't know anything about any of this.

RealityExistsInTheHumanMind Sun 23-Aug-20 22:55:16

These people, along with kids who have missed education, are the real victims, along with their relatives.

Would you rather hug your mum daily for a month before she dies (covid or non covid - most are non covid these days)
or
have them exist for another 2 years, alone and bewildered.

I know what my choice would be

Uhoh2020 Sun 23-Aug-20 22:55:37

Apologies if this come across rude or disrespectful but is your Mum aware of the current situation and why you are maintaining distance? If she is aware her holding her hand out is maybe her way of saying she doesn't care about and wants to hold your hand anyway regardless of any risk?
She's a mother wanting to hold her child regardless of age you're still her baby.
If she isn't aware of the risk, if it was me I'd be discussing with the rest of the family what you agree is best going forward with physical interaction. Are you at the point of quality over quantity now in terms of timescales? Only you and the family can decide when is the right time to abandon SD, I'd hate for you too look back and regret any missed hugs or interaction. Sending you lots of love this can't be easy flowers

zebrapig Sun 23-Aug-20 22:57:09

It's so hard. DM didn't see DGM from the middle of March until 2 days before she died at the start of May. She used to visit 2/3 times a week before the care home stopped visiting. Sadly DGM passed away at the start of May; the home let DM see her once before she died and she also managed to be with her when DGM passed. It was an awful situation.

littlebillie Sun 23-Aug-20 22:58:32

I feel this is so cruel I am showered with hand gel as I go in and I can't make that real physical contact with her. I understand the risks but the elderly need to hold hand have human contact.

This is killing her

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littlebillie Sun 23-Aug-20 23:01:27

Uhoh2020

Apologies if this come across rude or disrespectful but is your Mum aware of the current situation and why you are maintaining distance? If she is aware her holding her hand out is maybe her way of saying she doesn't care about and wants to hold your hand anyway regardless of any risk?
She's a mother wanting to hold her child regardless of age you're still her baby.
If she isn't aware of the risk, if it was me I'd be discussing with the rest of the family what you agree is best going forward with physical interaction. Are you at the point of quality over quantity now in terms of timescales? Only you and the family can decide when is the right time to abandon SD, I'd hate for you too look back and regret any missed hugs or interaction. Sending you lots of love this can't be easy flowers


As I said in original post she is reaching out but the virus is not in the forefront of her mind. We are an affectionate family, this is so painful and cruel.

We have no choice on SD.

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NavyKitchen Sun 23-Aug-20 23:02:05

The problem is that we wouldn't just be putting our own relatives at risk, we would be putting every single resident in the home at risk too. Making the decision to abandon social distancing for my own mum is akin to making that decision on behalf of every resident and relative. Care homes are working so hard to prevent infection and spread but inevitably, when so many people live under one roof, especially many with dementia who don't understand hygiene or social distancing, it is incredibly difficult to prevent spread.
My dm doesn't understand but she would devastated if she thought our actions had put all her fellow residents at risk.
Op, I truly understand and I wish with all my heart that things were different. I hope you get to spend as much time as possible with your dm

Uhoh2020 Sun 23-Aug-20 23:04:28

@NavyKitchen I never thought of it that way. Its such a sad situation sad

WorkinWomansBlues Sun 23-Aug-20 23:07:12

TBH... how much more risk is a hand gelled hand than the air you exchange across 2m in 20 minutes for a visit in person?

My guess is... not much.

It’s bobbins and blind adherence to these broad brushstroke “rules” are erasing people’s capacity to think clearly and risk assess on a case by case basis, taking into account circumstances e.g. risk to mental health etc.

OP- just hold her hand. Just reach out and bloody hold it.

NavyKitchen Sun 23-Aug-20 23:07:24

@Uhoh2020 it really is and there's just no easy answer. The frustration comes when, as the op said, we are gelled to within an inch of our lives, I know I've been careful, I know I'm sticking to the rules and not taking unnecessary risks but I have to trust that the staff are doing the same. The same staff who CAN hug her or hold her hand. Maybe I should get a job there...

WorkinWomansBlues Sun 23-Aug-20 23:08:20

Sorry OP- not of course having a go at you- am cross on your behalf.

littlebillie Sun 23-Aug-20 23:08:39

I think what I am saying, my DM is having a miserable existence in a nursing home where yes she is cared for, but there is no love, no real contact and a grim life. The staff all wear masks there are no smiles, no entertainment or anything to look forward too.

We are not allowed within two metres of her and there is a "supervisor" who watches our interaction and monitors everything we do - as I said it's grim

OP’s posts: |
WorkinWomansBlues Sun 23-Aug-20 23:09:15

What would happen if you held her hand? Would they chuck you out?

BrassicaRabbit Sun 23-Aug-20 23:09:39

This situation is so horribly cruel. So hard for you to not just reach out. I know it's not at all the same, but I wonder if you could ask one of the carers to hold your mothers hand while you speak to her?

Justnormajean Sun 23-Aug-20 23:10:19

Just hug her, seriously hug her, hold her hand, Humanity first. How many more summers will she ever have?
Sod the effing ‘rules’

Skinnyjeansandaloosetop Sun 23-Aug-20 23:12:08

Ask the member of staff if she wouldn’t mind getting you a cup of tea and hold your mums hand.

Kaiserin Sun 23-Aug-20 23:13:54

I don't know your full circumstances, OP, but if I was in your situation I would seriously consider whether a nursing home is the best place for my mother to spend the rest of her life, or whether she could, perhaps, be cared for in your own home.
(... I understand this may not be possible/desirable for very real practical reasons. And the covid risk would probably be greater for her)

littlebillie Sun 23-Aug-20 23:15:33

I know I would advise anyone to do the same, but this last week they have really restricted visitors to one family member a week and there only 15 slots for around 45 residents. They will die of a broken heart before Covid.

The supervision feels more like a prison visit than a care home.

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NavyKitchen Sun 23-Aug-20 23:16:32

@littlebillie would moving her be an option? In my dm's home, they very much interact and smile and show care for both my dm and us. They have lots of activities. Every relative received crocheted hearts with a poem during lockdown, they've facilitated phone calls and FaceTimes (where appropriate - wouldn't work with dm). They show her love and care every day. It's not a substitute for us but they do their very best.

littlebillie Sun 23-Aug-20 23:17:31

Kaiserin

I don't know your full circumstances, OP, but if I was in your situation I would seriously consider whether a nursing home is the best place for my mother to spend the rest of her life, or whether she could, perhaps, be cared for in your own home.
(... I understand this may not be possible/desirable for very real practical reasons. And the covid risk would probably be greater for her)


I would if I could but her needs are now complex. I supported her at home until Covid

OP’s posts: |

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