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Does Dad really need to be in a Care Home?

(34 Posts)
NormaSnorks Mon 26-Nov-12 22:07:35

Dad is 80. Has had Parkinson's for 3-4 years. Has lived alone (Mum died 8 years ago) in sheltered accommodation near me for last 6 years.
Things were getting a bit hard for him, and I had flagged up to his GP that I thought he wasn't coping on his own:
- he wasn't washing / couldn't get in bath etc
- wasn't eating proper meals
- stopped socialising in communal activities of the building
- Losing weight and very low blood pressure

we had a carer coming in to bath him 2-3 times a week, and I'd just put in place another one to come in and prepare meals, but then he had a fall which put him in hospital.
He was very confused, so discharged to a nursing home for a period of convalescence, and to give us time to assess how he was once he 'recovered'.

That was a month ago, and he's still there. We now need to decide what next.

GP says she thinks he needs to be in care, but not nursing care.
I took him for a trial visit to a nice residential home, but they said they couldn't take him, as he 'needed too much care' - they said he definitely needed nursing care!

He would be self-funding, so social services don't seem very keen to do an assessment hmm

He seems to find the communal/social aspect of care homes rather stressful, and I'm just wondering if it really is such a good idea, or whether he couldn't still manage at home with numerous carers coming in.

HOWEVER - he was beginning to do things at home which were becoming worrying e.g. putting fresh food away in cupboards until it was green with mould/ putting potatoes in pan on cooker without water/ putting things in weird places (electric razor in fridge/ dirty cereal bowls behind curtains etc)
Sitting in dirty, food-stained clothes, not washing face etc.

I certainly feel a huge relief knowing that he is safe and cared for in a home, but I wonder if it IS the right thing for him?
He can't articulate what he wants hmm - I just don't know how to decide!

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Fri 30-Nov-12 22:15:59

I didn't take my dad back home. i did bring some familiar things in (which went missing), but when he talked about going home we realised he meant back to his mums house and not to where he had been living sad

Similar to your dad wanted to go shopping, my dad used to think he was in a restaurant at meal times and was always surprised we didn't have to pay.

I'm glad your dad seems happier now. Perhaps you could 'furnish' his room with some familiar pictures and objects from his house to make it feel more recognisable. My dad's Alzheimers was too advanced for him to ever really appreciate the care home facilities.

NormaSnorks Sat 01-Dec-12 15:51:01

Oh lord...this is so hard... saw him today and he asked if I could get him a loaf of bread, so he "had something in" as he didn't have any "supplies in". I can't believe he's hungry - they seem to have regular meals and snacks, but I'm going to suggest we keep a biscuit tin in his room with biscuits and chocolate, just in case he gets peckish?
I've also ordered a whole load of photos for a multi- photo frame, as he doesn't really have enough shelf space for lots of little ones, and I thought a 'wall' picture frame might be better.

I still feel rather in shock - one day he was at home, reasonably OK, and then suddenly the rest of his life is mapped out for him in a care home.
Feels so sad. sad

CMOTDibbler Sat 01-Dec-12 16:13:21

I think a biscuit tin (though maybe don't fill it up, give the carers replacement supplies so he doesn't just keep eating from the tin) would be a good idea - gives him the feeling of having food in.

Perhaps for Christmas you could make him a photobook of the family - my mum loves looking through them each year, and I put very simple text in about the pictures. Currently I'm making a more historical one for her of her siblings, parents, grandparents, and children as a 'this is your life' sort of thing

DowagersHump Sat 01-Dec-12 16:22:29

Putting the names and relationship of the person to your dad under the photo is also good because it means the carers can initiate conversations with your dad about them (ie ooh what a lovely photo of Josh! how old is he now etc).

Label all his clothes otherwise stuff gets mixed up sad

ThePigOfHappiness Sat 01-Dec-12 16:45:06

I'm a nurse in a dementia unit and there are lots of feelings of guilt around having to out a parent in to a home. It's totally normal, but you must consider the families needs as a whole. Your kids need you and it's ok to prioritise them.

Settling in periods vary, and if your Dad does have some dementia/ memory issues, then referring to his room as his flat and worrying about having things in for visitors is common. Some things I've found great for new residents;
Have you thought about doing a life story book for your dad? An album with plain pages and clearly marked photos that carers can look through with him? Little written pieces about his life, as a child, meeting your dm, married life,jobs, friends, hobbies, favourite foods, little habits etc. basically everything you'd want someone to know if they were starting to care for you from scratch.
A voice recording of you, if he becomes distressed staff can play a message of you saying hello, sorry you can't be there right now but you will visit very soon etc
Familiar items from home, pictures and photos, trinkets, and normal brands of toiletries help with confusion
A tuck box of snacks or treats that he can help himself to if he wants to. If gorging becomes a problem staff can put a limited the box daily.

I can't think of much right now, but I'll try to brainstorm later. I'm glad you're happier with your decision, hard as it is to come to smile

NormaSnorks Sat 01-Dec-12 18:10:51

Thanks - these are really good ideas.
I've thought about the book, but I was just worried that it might just be a waste of time, as Dad doesn't seem to read things anymore.
He always used to read the Radio Times and the newspaper, but now he just kind of 'looks' at them as if he doesn't know what he is meant to do sad.
I suppose if the carers were able to prompt him then that would work though.

Not sure what sort of biscuit tin I could use - I doubt he could open a normal one these days. Perhaps a click type plastic box - but even then, I'm not sure he'd know how to work the clips...

CMOTDibbler Sat 01-Dec-12 18:20:12

How about a biscuit barrel ? You know the cylinder sort with a knob on the lid ? Should be easier to open.

If you keep the text super simple, your dad would prob enjoy looking at the photos, and the carers could interact about them. My mum still 'reads' - but very, very little actually goes in. But older pictures do seem to make sense to her, and current pictures act as a prompt to who people are

YouveCatToBeKittenMe Sat 01-Dec-12 20:06:59

I suggest you don't get anything too fancy as things do have a habit of going for a wander. I don't think it's 'stealing' it's just the residents wander about and pick up other residents things.
I used to leave my dads biscuits in the packet by his bed in the end, after several containers went walkabout! When he first went in I used to take him apples whenever I visited which he enjoyed.

Also I copied and then laminated photos for my dad as when they were in photo frames they kept getting knocked out of windows or off furniture and it was easier to pin the laminated ones up anywhere.
I honestly wouldn't take in trinkets or anything of big sentimental value, my dad even lost his cannon and it was hard to even pick it up! (not a real cannon!)

RustyBear Sun 02-Dec-12 12:20:07

We put Dad's cakes in a Pyrex casserole dish - a rectangular one with rounded corners, not a round one- when he became unable to cope with lids on tins. They seemed to keep quite fresh and the lid was easy to deal with.

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