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Elderly parents

Mums first week in the care home

24 replies

FlatOutAgain · 04/01/2023 15:15

Hi all, just to follow up on this thread that seems to have quite a long history now.

So its been an absolutely awful week after putting mum into care last Thursday. She did not want to go but we lied to her by saying the GP wanted her there so she could monitor her as she had called out so many ambulances.

Just to quickly answer a previous point that was raised about Mental Health Act. I was concerned about this following the previous thread and I spoke to several professionals. It was ok to put mum into care but if she got to the point that she absolutely did not want to be there then we could have a meeting with the Care Home manager and a social worker (mum has one). The social worker could then decide what course of action to take. I also followed up this answer with a clinical psychologist who confirmed that a social worker could act in this capacity.

So we placed her into care and on arriving all the care staff were at the door to meet her. She shook hands with each of them saying 'I won't be any trouble'. If that is not a huge red flag then I don't know what is.

For those who have relatives with Alzheimers you may or may not know what Sundowning is. In brief it is where the person suffers with a number of issues; anxiety, restlessness, halucinations etc. late afternoon and early/late evening. It is common and mum does indeed follow this pattern.

The high or rather low lights so far. She has packed every day as she says she is coming home (again rather common), she has removed safety equipement from bags to use the bags to put her things into.

She has smeared hand cream over the window as some boys were trying to get in and they would then slip on the cream. She is on the first floor. They were also on the roof trying to get in.

She has wandered the home at night and slept in someone elses bed.

She has said she will escape.

Worse of all last night she became violent by banging on doors and windows and trying to be physical with the staff.

I fully understand that it is a stressful situation for her and that in my opinion has fast tracked her alzheimers. Before she went in dad said she had been physical with him so it was a pattern that was already starting to happen.

There are many other small things that have also happened.

I have been in pieces all week that I have done the right thing and apart from 1 day I have visited every day and also visited dad and driven him around to the home. I have not been sleeping because I feel truly dreadful about myself and my poor Dh has had to listen to nothing else but my outpooring that I know goes around and around in circles. No matter who I speak to they all say wait it out and give it time. The GP said she is in the best place as dad is in no state to look after her. Dad cries every day about the situation and I am trying to keep him going as well as clean, shop and sort out his meals. I go back to work (part time) soon so not sure what will happen although we are sorting out a home help for him. Our local Age UK has closed due to a lack of funds. My sister came down to help and I really needed her and she has spoken to her boss to go down to 4 days per week to help every other week.

I know many of you have been through this.

OP posts:
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Mosaic123 · 04/01/2023 15:24

I think, very very sadly, your Mum's behaviour at the care home absolutely means she can't live at home any more and you have done the right thing.

I wish you strength to cope,. It's such a hard thing to see a parent like this but the trained staff go home after their shifts, however difficult they are.

Your Dad can't do that.

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Mummapenguin20 · 04/01/2023 15:27

You honestly have done the right thing

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Chardonnay73 · 04/01/2023 15:35

I could have written exactly that about my relatives. Every single one of them who has gone into residential care with dementia has behaved like this. It’s heartbreaking to see. The staff advised us to limit visits to once a week until they were more settled, which was hard on us, but helped them settle much quicker. They will soon forget their home that they left. You have absolutely done the best thing for all of you.

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quicklybeendrivenmad · 04/01/2023 15:58

I had dad with alzheimers and mum with dementia kept them at home as long as I could with the help of carers, ended with a really bad incident which meant both of them had to go into a home, not easy I felt guilty, a failure and just cried. Took a while to realise I could not have kept them safe and they were in the best place, pm me if you need a private chat xx

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2bazookas · 04/01/2023 16:02

Your mum is in the right place. One of you knows that.

How to help her settle;

Are there any pictures, photos .ornaments, music she specially treasures that she could have with her.

The family could send her cards, postcars etc with little messages of love and assurance.

I'm currently doing the latter for an old friend in hospital far away. She's had a bad stroke, she will never be able to return to her beloved home; she can't communicate and she'll never respond to the cards. She has no family. I just hope some nurse shows her and reads them to her and she remembers she is loved.

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helpfulperson · 04/01/2023 16:03

As others have said this proves it was the right decision. The home will either be able to cope with this or this will be a catalyst to finding her somewhere that is right for her. My dad was given medication which helped with his sundowning and violence. The staff were amazing with him.

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LivingInaBuildingSite · 04/01/2023 16:09

Echoing others, you have done the right thing.

I work (well literally just left today for a new job) in a care home. New residents to take a while to settle.

tips

  • reduce your visits, for a while, not necessarily forever, they can cause more stress for her and they are wearing for you and your dad seeing her upset


  • if you have any family photos - put stickers on the back (or frame) with peoples names on, so much easier for staff to talk to her about cousin Jane, than pointing at a face and having to ask who’s that? And she can’t remember and gets upset


  • do you have dc? Remember when they started at nursery for eg, they will settle, trust in the process, the staff will be used to a restless new resident, insisting they’re going home, etc.
  • if she has any particular interests that are feasible for in the home, do let them know. Eg crosswords, they can print out large ones and use a clipboard to try and do it sat in the lounge. Favourite foods and drinks, same again, let them know and/or take some in.
  • you can deliver stuff to the home without making it into a visit, allow yourself to do that, remove the guilt factor.


if you have any questions, I’m happy to try and help.
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staciea31 · 04/01/2023 17:31

Hi my heart really does go out to you I am in a similar situation with my grandad and it is heartbreaking trying to hold it together sending you lots of love and hugs xxx

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Norachance · 04/01/2023 17:59

I feel for you and I can honestly say my dad went through similar for his first 2/3 months in his care home. Any change to someone with dementia really hits hard for example going into hospital. She will calm down soon I'm sure. My dad packed his case daily. He called the police to say he was locked in so regularly they were on first name terms with me, he smashed a window with his walking stick and he regularly spat abuse at us all ( in my whole life I never once heard him use bad language- until dementia).
I always found a good way to get him back on an even keel when he was mid flow is to say something that will make them take notice. Eg I would say "omg dad you guess what happened - and would then proceed to tell him something shocking (not scary but something that would have made him Moan pre dementia) "the neighbours put their bin bags out too early and the foxes have ripped them open - there's rubbish everywhere - should we complain?" This would trigger him to start moaning about neighbours, rubbish etc council street cleaning ... everyone has an annoyance!
Or I would ask him if he had seen Boris Johnson on the news hiding in a fridge ( my favourite) any random thing could make him talk and calm down rather than manically trying to escape.
I visited daily in the beginning though the carers suggested I leave him a week or Two to settle. It is hard but just like any of us settling into a new home/job/school/ town it take a moment to feel ok. This is the most stressful part. Honestly give it a month longer and things will improve Flowers

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Parky04 · 04/01/2023 18:09

I echo the advice about reducing visits. This helped massively with my FIL. We went once a week for around a month, and then 2/3 times a week from therein on.

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Cuppasoupmonster · 04/01/2023 18:11

You’ve done the right thing. Can your dad go in with her? It sounds like he may reach that point out of need soon anyway.

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User4873628 · 04/01/2023 19:17

That's tough op. Hang in there.

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CrocodilesCry · 05/01/2023 00:07

My DGM is in a home and she gets like this (Parkinson's and vascular dementia) about twice a year. Sundowning (she has this daily) gets worse, then she has episodes of trying to escape, lashing out with her walker or stick at staff and hallucinating. She's been in the home several years though.

Definitely reduce your visits. I can't express this enough.

DM was going 3-4 times a week and I was going weekly. DM now goes once or twice a week and I go twice a month. DGM is more settled for it - during the height of Covid we couldn't visit at all and she's much better for us not visiting as regularly now. The home did say at the very beginning that regular visits are disruptive and don't help.

It's really hard for you, but she will likely settle better if you and your Dad don't go every day.

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Beamur · 05/01/2023 00:17

My MIL needs 24 hr care and has been in her care home for nearly 4 years. She still asks pretty much every visit if she is leaving now. We know that the staff reiterate that this is her home now and we usually answer with something non committal. DH was advised to only visit once or twice a week until she settled in. He usually goes once a week but if he's busy it can be a fortnight between visits.
She's not particularly happy but the reality is she needs looking after in a way we can't do for her.

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justasking111 · 05/01/2023 00:34

Reduce visits. Concentrate on your daddy he's been to hell and back and needs a break too.

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TheShellBeach · 05/01/2023 00:35

Beamur · 05/01/2023 00:17

My MIL needs 24 hr care and has been in her care home for nearly 4 years. She still asks pretty much every visit if she is leaving now. We know that the staff reiterate that this is her home now and we usually answer with something non committal. DH was advised to only visit once or twice a week until she settled in. He usually goes once a week but if he's busy it can be a fortnight between visits.
She's not particularly happy but the reality is she needs looking after in a way we can't do for her.

May I make a suggestion - obviously you don't have to do this - but when she says she is leaving/wants to go - try telling her that the car has broken down but you'll be along in the morning to get her.

I find that lying, in order to produce a feeling of relief in a dementia patient is absolutely worth it.

Or you could just say "Yes, MIL - X is coming for you later." MIL will not remember but she may very well calm down when she thinks you're taking her seriously.

It doesn't matter if you repeat this frequently. MIL will not remember anyway.

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Beamur · 05/01/2023 06:22

Thanks, that's a nice idea. What we have tended to do is say something like, not today rather than no, with the reason being DH has to go back to work etc. There's no connection for her in terms of the practicalities of having somewhere else to go to. I think she basically dislikes being around lots of other people all the time.

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MyMumhasDementia · 05/01/2023 07:39

I’ve thought about the lying advice.
I’m loathe to lie to dm and tell her that she can go home/move to a ‘different’ care home/go out for lunch/go to the shops because the does remember some things that are important to her.
I really don’t know how to deal with her when she starts on me. I’ve tried distracting her but she always returns to the original conversation.

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Roselilly36 · 05/01/2023 07:43

Sounds really tough, but you have done the right thing. Your mum will settle down but it will take time. Good luck.

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helpfulperson · 05/01/2023 09:46

We told dad it was a convalescent home and he wasn't ready to go home just yet.

Other tip is to make visits short. They may remember that they had a visitor but not how long for.

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EL8888 · 05/01/2023 13:10

Thanks for the update. Thinking of you all. Dementia is so hard and horrible

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FlatOutAgain · 05/01/2023 14:26

Thank you for all of your kind replies.

I absolutely know that cutting down the number of visits is essential although I feel like I have abandonded mum and its a dreadful feeling.

Just returned home after sorting out Dad at home with washing, bedding, cleaning etc. I ran him to the care home and spoke to the incredibly lovely care home manager.

Last night mum threw a chair at a window, tried to punch and bite the staff and then got a towel wet so she could use it as a weapon. She has no recollection of it today. The care home have been in-touch with the GP who has referred it back to the OPMH, who cut ties with mum as she would not take her medication.

The situation is a complete and utter wreck and I need to gather my thoughts but have other responsibilites to deal with as well which are even more important than mum. I have a very supportive Dh who does everything under the sun to help but sometimes it feels like your both just clinging to a raft waiting for the next wave.

thank you very much

OP posts:
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Mum5net · 05/01/2023 17:06

The situation is a complete and utter wreck and I need to gather my thoughts but have other responsibilities to deal with as well which are even more important than mum.

Your DM, while in trauma. is safe. This every day of the week. Sometimes there are more immediate priorities. {flowers] Look after you, too.

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TheAustralian · 20/03/2023 06:33

2bazookas · 04/01/2023 16:02

Your mum is in the right place. One of you knows that.

How to help her settle;

Are there any pictures, photos .ornaments, music she specially treasures that she could have with her.

The family could send her cards, postcars etc with little messages of love and assurance.

I'm currently doing the latter for an old friend in hospital far away. She's had a bad stroke, she will never be able to return to her beloved home; she can't communicate and she'll never respond to the cards. She has no family. I just hope some nurse shows her and reads them to her and she remembers she is loved.

I cried reading this.
when she’s in a nursing home they’ll read her your cards snd letters. She’ll be showered with love and care.
We take extra time out for those who have no visitors and/or no family

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