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Can I ask how you cope with visiting your parents in nursing home?

(12 Posts)
chickensaresafehere Wed 12-Oct-16 15:37:03

Dad has been in a nursing home for the past 2 years,after my Mum could no longer care for him at home.
I am finding it increasingly difficult,emotionally,when I visit.
For a bit of background,I am an only child(have a child with SN),my Mum is elderly & fairly frail.Dad's nursing home is a 30-40 minute drive away & Mum doesn't drive & there is no public transport to the home.Dad has one disabled elderly brother,who visits maybe twice a year(although this is becoming less) & no friends.He was a loner really.
So basically me & Mum are his only visitors,we try to visit once a fortnight.
His dementia has reached the stage where he struggles to recognise us.My eldest daughter(16) has not visited for a month or two,as it upsets her too much but then she gets more upset about the fact that she will regret it when he's gone.Youngest daughter(with SN)loves to visit but he does not interact with her & she struggles to understand it.
So for the past two visits it's just been me & Mum.
Each time we plan to go,I get worked up & anxious then when I come home I am very upset & down for days after.
To top it all off last time we went,we realised he had lost control of his bladder & bowels & is now in nappies.sad
I know there are a lot of you in a similar situation,how do you mentally prepare & cope with this awful,fucking disease?

Sosidges Thu 13-Oct-16 18:34:36

I think for most of us do not cope. I think we endure. Nothing ever prepares you for the emotional tug when visiting or leaving the care home.

Even. If it is a wonderful home, even if you know it is the only solution, even though yo know that without the safety net your relative will be in physical danger the guilt and sadness don't go away. There is a wonderful although very sad thread called "Elderly Parents" on MN which has kept me sane for,the past 5 years. The advice, hugging, handholding and knowing you are not alone does make it more bearable. Hope someone will come along who can give you some coping techniques.

CMOTDibbler Thu 13-Oct-16 18:56:33

My parents aren't in a home yet (mum just had her first respite stay) but mums dementia is pretty advanced and she hasn't really been interactive for a couple of years. I find the only way to cope is to be doing something - a walk with the wheelchair, lunch out (one of the elderly parents ladies swore by a trip to the M&S prosecco bar), a garden centre - anything to get out. Or take something that you can talk about - knitting, scrapbooking, writing your christmas cards even. Then it feels a bit more natural to witter to yourself.

And then do something nice for yourself - a coffee, a swim, anything to let you decompress after the horror of seeing your beloved parent like that.

Do come and join us on the Elderly parents support thread. I really would have lost it by now without the ladies on there, and theres always a hug and somewhere to vent when you need it.

SusanneX10 Sat 15-Oct-16 06:18:27

My mother suffers from dementia and she refuses to shift elsewhere for her treatment and moreover I wanted her to be with me. Since I'm working I have got a caregiver [ ]for her who takes care of her needs in my absence. She makes my mom play games like bingo, hangman, listen to music and these did bring changes in her. She gets relaxed when she goes abnormal. I do have peace of mind even when I'm at work as my mom is safe at home. My mom is just past her early stage but your dad's case is well advanced. I do understand your trouble and the loneliness your dad undergoes. You can think of an in-home care taker if possible.

BeBopTalulah Sun 23-Oct-16 06:53:57

Despite appearances, many people with dementia will retain the oldest memories the longest. You could take in some old photos to look at. It doesn't have to be the entire family album, even 'old photos' of the town he used to live in, family pets or even old pictures of hobbies or interests your dad had i.e pictures of vintage cars. It's also worth bearing in mind that even if your dad is non-communicative or appears disinterested, there may be a lot more going on than you think.

CMOT the christmas card idea is great. Depending on how advanced your dad's dementia is, sitting in silence for an hour or desperately finding interesting things to talk about can be awful. Take in a small task to do while sitting with him. My family found great comfort in making sure that our grandparents had everything they needed while in the care home. Simple things like buying them their own nice bedding, putting nice things in their room and getting them toiletries they'd especially like. Little things like this make you feel more involved.

It can be deeply upsetting and I empathise with you completely, but in the future you will be glad of the effort (emotionally and practically) that you made to see him.

Rosa Sun 23-Oct-16 07:10:30

Its fucking hard. My mum and my sister go weekly. I am abroad but when I went he recognised me and it was very emotional. I know he has gone downhill and he probably won't recognise me when I next go. We take a photo album or a pcture book of things that we know interested him in the past , they went down well. Sometimes he is a bit too agitated to sit with it and so maybe we participate in the activity that the centre is doing. There is no way my mother could have coped any longer with him at home and we know he is being looked after well ( and how much it is costing us). When I went I sat in the car for about 15/20 mins just 'getting myself together' before driving home as it took and takes me longer to adjust to seeing him there and accepting it. ...

Roystonv Sun 23-Oct-16 07:31:58

What about reading to him, either a favourite poem or his newspaper of choice or did he have a hobby that there is a magazine for. But if you can get him out and about makes it easier for you and gives him a change of scene again if you can a favourite place.

MartinGoresLeftToe Mon 07-Nov-16 22:13:12

It's really hard- often need time in the car after to have a good cry. My dad is in a home, doesn't recognise me. Heartbreaking. Sometimes I just sit and hold his hand, if he's not very responsive. Other times I take old photos, or a 'pictures to share' book, especially designed for people with dementia. Sometimes I just have to admit I'm not in a good enough place to visit him, and not visit.

thatsn0tmyname Mon 07-Nov-16 22:20:06

When dad went into a home, I was shocked and upset when visiting for the first time. Not because it wasn't lovely and cared for but because it was like a primary school with lots of 'do you remember'? displays. I cried more when dad was alive, TBH, especially during the drive home. We made friends with the staff and other regular visitors and that helped keep our spirits up. It's a tough time. X

spankhurst Mon 07-Nov-16 22:23:46

It breaks your heart, every time. I just talk to her as normally as possible. It is a vicious, awful illness.

PoisonousSmurf Mon 07-Nov-16 22:29:49

Not exactly the same thing. But my grandmother (92) was in a care home last year. She had dementia since 2011. This was summer 2015 and even then I knew it was the last time that I'd see her. She was always a lovely lady, but that day of our visit, she was very angry at everyone. Being argumentative. Then she fell asleep in her chair.
I saw how 'feisty' she could be and for some reason it made me happy.
She was still in there...Somewhere.
She passed away two months later after a fall.
I'll always miss her.

PoisonousSmurf Mon 07-Nov-16 22:30:54

At her funeral just before Xmas. Many of the staff turned up. It was very heartwarming.

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