3 days in a care home. Such an improvement.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Jamesthecat, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. Jamesthecat

    Jamesthecat Registered User

    Mar 21, 2016
    #1 Jamesthecat, Mar 21, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
    3 days in a care home. Advice please.

    My mother in law was diagnosed with vascular dementia 2 years ago.

    She's declined rapidly in that time. All the usual stuff - keeping odd hours, calling 60 times a day, not knowing where she is, refusing to wash/eat/take her medication. She rarely went out and was clearly lonely. Although we visited every day she frequently called to say that she never saw anyone.

    Until 3 weeks ago we were getting by with visiting her daily and employing a carer to see her every morning to make sure she took her medication and a cleaner to keep on top of the house. It was hard work, but we were managing. Just.

    Then she fell whilst out with her sister, breaking her hip and wrist. From the moment she went into hospital her condition deteriorated badly. She didn't know where she was, why she was there and was often aggressive and violent with the staff. For the first few days we assumed that her deterioration was due to the change of routine / anaesthetic / shock but 3 weeks later and she wasn't much better.

    2 weeks ago, we met with the social worker and together with the hospital decided that when she was discharged, she would need full time care. She'd need a care home.

    Her 'challenging behavior' meant that places were limited. We visited all on the shortlist and chose the best. We filled out the continuing care pathway form with the hospital and were told that she'd probably be considered for full local authority funding.

    3 days ago, she was transferred to the care home. Within 5 minutes she'd been abusive and caused an argument between 2 other residents and a fight had to be broken up. It was decided that she'd need to be in the unit of the home which housed the most severe cases of dementia.

    We've visited her each day for the last 3 days and each day she's been improved. Today she was almost back to how she was before the fall. She knows where she is and is resigned to it. While this improvement is great, it's made us feel incredibly guilty. Have we done the right thing by putting her into a home? Have we put our needs above hers? It's just awful.

    What I want to know is, is it usual for people to improve dramatically in this way on entering a care home? Does it last? Should we enquire about moving her out of the 'severe' unit that she's in?

    We really don't know what to do for the best.
  2. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    The home's clearly doing a good job in supporting her and helping her to be as happy as she can be. Maybe there'll be even more improvement over the future.

    I'd say - let her stay where her prospects are brightest. Any move will stress her, make her feel more unsettled and quite probably reduce her safety and comfort.
  3. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    From what you say about how she was at home, even before going into hospital, I would think a good care home is the best place. She has her meals provided, she is warm, she has company, she has someone on hand 24/7 to reassure her if she's anxious.

    People often seem to improve once they're in a care home, but that is very often BECAUSE they're there, with people to look after them 24/7, and not getting in a tizz about how to do this or that, or fretting/anxious because they're lonely or anxious, and can't remember who will be coming next, or when.

    All too easy to say, I know, having been there, but please don't burden yourself with guilt. (Well, not too much of it, anyway.).
  4. Maymab

    Maymab Registered User

    Oct 8, 2013
    I am pretty sure she is in the best place for her. However, it would be worth discussing your problem with the care home as they should have a good idea which unit is most suitable.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Talking Point mobile app
  5. TooHard

    TooHard Registered User

    Sep 16, 2015
    I agree with this.

    I am absolutely certain my mother would be far better off in a care home.
  6. chris53

    chris53 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2009
    Good afternoon jamesthecat:)and a warm welcome to Talking Point, so pleased your mum in law seems to be happy and above all safe in her new home, yes the words "putting into care" do trigger the guilt monster, but if you can think of this home as mums "new" home it may help, my mum in law also went into a new home and is happy and well looked after,she has vascular dementia, the caring does not stop but a lot of the stress and worry does:) my mum has Alzheimers and so far is still able to live independently but I know this cannot go on forever and would love my mum to be looked after 24/7 in a different home:)
    Do keep posting
  7. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Yes, it's common for people to improve when in care. That's usually due to the fact that they are getting proper meals regularly, medication on time, and generally are warm and safe. This in turn can improve their mood and behaviour.

    You are lucky that she seems resigned to where she is. My mother certainly wasn't. It took her months to settle.
  8. LadyA

    LadyA Registered User

    Oct 19, 2009
    Agree with Canadian Joanne and the others. My late husband improved enormously when he went into a nursing home, for precisely the reasons given here. At home, he wouldn't eat or drink, wash or allow me to change his incontinence pads. He was aggressive and his medication had to be hidden in food - so he wasn't getting it regularly. Once settled in the nursing home, although he would have liked me to be with him, he blossomed. Gained weight, got his meds regularly, showed no aggression, and in fact used to follow the male staff if he needed help! I think the sense of security he felt had a lot to do with the improvement. He felt very safe - there were so many uniformed staff around, day and night, to help him. And they all knew him. That gave him a great feeling of security.
  9. baz66

    baz66 Registered User

    Mar 20, 2016
    Hi. How brilliant that you visited every day. But how tiring too, physically and emotionally. My mum moved into a care home 2 weeks ago after my dad caring for her for 5 years. She was fine for a few days but has recently become anxious and aggressive with staff and other residents. I would say let her stay where she is. She's obviously getting the right care and her needs are being met. I don't think my mums home has a unit for more challenging behaviour so am not sure if they'll be able to cope with her unless Meds can help. I understand your guilt but I keep telling myself mum is safe where she is and my dad can now live a bit. I don't think the guilt will ever fully go but at least that's a sign that I love her. It's so good to know I'm not going through this alone. There are so many of us out there and it's comforting to know my feelings are completely normal. Strength to you in this difficult time.
  10. Jamesthecat

    Jamesthecat Registered User

    Mar 21, 2016
    Thanks. It's good to know that I'm doing the right thing...and everyone that's replied has agreed - that makes me feel so much better.

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