Advice for first day in care home


Registered User
May 16, 2007
Sorry, I haven't posted on TP for many months!

Mum has had vascular dementia for about 4 years now and has been deteriorating more rapidly of late. She had been living at home with my older brother but he got married two weeks ago and now can only visit her a few times a day. we've been waiting for a long time for a residential place in a locked door facility for her (as she goes out walking constantly!)

Finally the move is this weekend! I'm filled with mixed emotions: relief because I know she'll be safe and well looked after and have company, but also sad as I know it must be terrible for her to leave her home where she and dad raised us . I do feel guilty too but thats more because of my increasing inability to cope with her behaviour. She can't help how she behaves but I can and don't very well!

So has anyone any tips to make it easier for her and my brother and I?

We brought her out to see the home a few days ago, showed her the room, put pictures up and them encouraged her to say hello to a few lady residents. they have a piano in the conservatory and she can play a bit, so I got her to try a few hymns. She managed to get a few of the residents singing to the tunes so we were encouraged by that!

but saturday will be different as she won't be coming home with us! we plan to arrive just after lunch time and stay until she goes for her dinner in the evening and then leave while she's distracted? Is this a good idea?

It would be nice to get pointers!

Cheers Ann :)


Registered User
Jul 31, 2007
Dear Ann,
Welcome to Talking Point.
My husband was placed on a E.M.I. Unit 10 months ago and it is a lovely C.H.
Firstly, the feeling of guilt. We all feel that but what you must remember that your Mother will have the care 24/7.
What you have written about the visit sounds as if she has felt at home already.
It will be a big step but your plan for the day seems to be spot on.
On my husband's first day, I did exactly the same and when I left he was happy in his new home.
I can only offer you very best wishes for you and your family and later on people will come on line and add their views.
Best wishes


Registered User
The first day

I know that this thread goes back a long time but I've only just seen it.
If you think it was bad for you all on the first day of placing your loved ones in a home then just try to imagine what it was like for a gay man to place his partner in a straight environment and then leave him there, with him having a slightly scared look on his face as I left.
In reality the home tried very hard to make us both feel ok but the fact of the matter was that it wasn't used to looking after gay people and they didn't know how to react. At the time it was made worse by the fact that I hadn't told them that we were gay - I was scared of what might happen to him while I was away if it became public knowledge, especially when his dementia was so profound and he couldnt react sensibly.
The place was lovely and clean and welcoming but weekly bingo sessions and the occasionally sing songs were not what we were used to, to say the least!
Additionally he kissed me all the time and that was not easy to cope with.
AND the second day I went to leave and he followed me downstairs to the door to leave with me - I didn't feel good and have resurrected the same horrible feelings just to write this.
To those who ask about us gays and want to know what the problem is, just think about our environment and our lifestyle and see how that feeling of 'being out of place' is intensified for us!
End of sermon.
Best wishes all


Registered User
May 16, 2007
I'm so sorry you have had a terrible experience. However I fail to see how your comments are relevant or helpful in my particular situation with my mum. I am genuinely in need of help and advise and don't like to be made to feel like my problems are trivial compared to yours. maybe my trying to seek help on this site is not going to work!:(



Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
Hi Ann

I think you're right in trying to leave while she's distracted with dinner. Don't be surprised, though when you take her, even though you've shown her the place before, that it appears to be an entirely new place for her - you can do a great deal of prep but we are talking about someone with memory problems. You might ask the home whether they have any tips - some places suggest no visiting for a while to give the person time to settle. I think whether or not you do that does depend on how she reacts. My mother settled fairly fast, but some people never really come to terms with the placement, so you do have to play it by ear. Enlist the help of the staff - they've done it before and it's in their best interests to make the transition as calm and smooth as possible.

Guilt: well yes you are going to "feel" guilty even if you know intellectually that this is the only option. It's a battle between reason and emotion. Also, as you say, there's an element of relief there and that will make you feel guilty as well. All I can say is: some days will be better than others, and at least when she is safe, you can use your energies to enjoy your time with her rather than sorting out potential disasters.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
Hi Ann, and welcome back.

I think you're right to leave when your mum is having dinner. I did this with John when he went into care.

One tip though, don't go into the dining room with her. I made the mistake of doing this, and John was very upset that I wasn't going to sit down and eat with him. Get the staff to take your mum in, then slip away when she's not looking.

As Jennifer says, there are different views on whether to visit in the early days. I visited every day from the start, and I couldn't have not gone. I'd try a short visit the second day, and ring up afterwards and ask the staff how your mum was after you've left. They'll be able to tell you whether your visit gives your mum reassurance, or more distress.

Roger, I'm sorry you had such a difficult time leaving your partner. I can see that there could be problems different from what most of us experience.

But we do not measure the severity of problems, difficulties, anguish, grief here. We each suffer in our own way, and everyone's feelings are equally valid. We try to support each other, not minimise other people's problems.



Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
hi molliblue,excellent advice given,as always!me working in a home can reiterate the all depends on yourselves you react to the move is as important as the move for a relative,they will be looking for reaction from you.i know its hard for all concerned,but if you can,try not to make it a big lengthy or tearful departures(easier said than done i know).see it as a new start for all of you and from the instance you walk in the home,make it your sure the staff will be welcoming and reassuring,knowing thats its a hard day for all concerned.let me know how it goes elainex