Helping mum to settle in care home(6 Posts)
This week I moved my 83 year old mum into a care home. She has always said that she doesn't want to ever go into one, but after a few years of carers coming in four times a day she is now at a point where she needs 24 hour care. The option of having a live in carer is potentially there but to do that her house needs a lot of renovation (all the walls are covered in yellow cigarette stains, the ceilings are coming down in one room, another room is covered in mould). My mum thinks the house is fine as it is and doesn't want anything done to it. To add to this she keeps having UTIs and falls and broke her arm recently. Each time she has a fall or a UTI me or my brother drop everything and come to try and help her through it. But we each live 150 miles away from her in opposite directions. We both have young families and jobs. It is not sustainable. She is profoundly depressed and lonely at home. She is barely mobile.
So, on the pretext of respite I've brought her to a care home near me. She doesn't want to be there and she repeatedly asks to go home and tells me I've done a terrible thing. Every day I have to explain to her that she is there to get stronger and to work on her mobility but she doesn't want to hear it. She is the queen of denial and will block out anything that she doesn't want to acknowledge.
She is eating well in the home but refuses to leave her room. She is generally quite shy and finds it hard to make friends but if she stays in her room all the time she will be bored and won't make any friends at all. I worry about her so much and try and take her out everyday to make her time there more interesting but I go back to work this week and I can't be there for her every day.
Does any one have any tips on how I can get her to engage more with her surroundings. Or am I asking too much of her at this stage?
So sorry Frangie. It is such a difficult thing to do but you have done the very best you can. You can't make her happy, and she will take time to settle- fil stayed in his room for months. If you visit less she may engage more paradoxically.. does she have personal info for staff about her background/ family so staff can engage with her more? Photos etc? Could you pay someone to visit and talk to her? A friend paid for a chap to visit his df and take him to the pub once a week. Remind yourself you have done the best you can but can't fix this any better. And look after yourself and your family.
I was where you are a few months ago Frangie (though dm has since passed away). In a way I suppose it was 'easier' as dm's dementia had got so bad she hardly knew where she was anyway, and she only survived 5 weeks there (no fault of the home!).
However I just wanted to say that I had to force myself to stop visiting every day, but I paid an Age UK person to come and visit her once or twice a week for an hour to chat and do crosswords with her (she couldn't see to do them herself). The lady was lovely and my dm really enjoyed her visits. Age UK have paid staff like this and also, if your lucky, some volunteers.
Try not to beat yourself up - you know she needs to be there. I wish in a way my dm had gone in sooner and avoided the months and months of falls, UTIs, hospital stays and me in a state of high alert/panic the whole time. However it took that long for SS to assess her as needing 24 hour care.
Good luck and I hope she settles in. Remember her life before the home was no bed of roses so it can only get better.
I used to organise events in a care home. If she's a naturally shy person then she sounds she would benefit on a one to one activity with the activities coordinator, have a chat with him/her and tell them about your DM likes and dislikes, if you have photo albums of her family or childhood this can be a useful tool for the activities coordinator or carer to engage in meaningful conversations. You may find that she starts to come out of her shell and if she's gained some trust with the activities coordinator engage in coming out to join in other activities within the home.
I've had my Mum in many care homes and have never known them to do 'one-on-one' activities. Mind you, she didn't speak much - advanced Parkinson's - so that sort just get left in their room. Any UTI she has, only goes treated because we notice. None of the staff ever ever have.
I agree about paying extra for a visitor to come to do stuff, play music and so on. An electronic picture frame can help with some photos and memories, etc.
Only other advice is ffs get Power of Attorney while you still can, otherwise the local Council i.e. social services legally assume control of your mother if and when she loses mental capacity - which could happen not just thru dementia or anything but through untreated UTI or stroke.
And in any dispute between you and the care home, the Council will side with the care home to stitch you up.
Nobody mentions Power of Attorney before you need it and afterwards it's the very first thing they mention. Being Next of Kin has no legal bearing at all.
I assume they will be pressing you to sell the house to pay for her care?
Newspaper well your mum is in the wrong home, there should be an activities coordinator who you can speak to
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