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Advice please. What to say to mum on the day she moves into the carehome.


Registered User
Jun 11, 2012
I phoned the care home today and a place has come up so mum can go in next week.

Part of me is relieved but the other part is filled with guilt and feels sick.

I took dad to his carehome 3 years ago but his dementia was so advanced I really didn't need to give him an excuse he was so trusting and accepting. I can still remember the day as if it were yesterday I cried all the way there ( with sunglasses on) and all the way home. I couldn't have felt any worse if I was taking the dog to the vets to have it put down.

Mum is much more with it so will need a reason. Can you please help me as I really don't know what to tell her and when to tell her. The home want us to arrive about 11.30 to settle her before lunch. Do we tell her just before we leave her house ( it's only a 10 minute drive) or earlier in the morning and involve her in the packing.
I was planning on making it sound like a temporary measure and not saying it was a carehome, more of a hotel. Mum was a geriatric nurse and worked in care homes at the end of her career. When dad went into a home she said she would kill herself if we put her in one. I am totally dreading it.
Any tips for the day would be really appreciated. I've smuggled some of her clothes home to label but what else should I do/ get for her.
Thank you in advance.


Registered User
Sep 10, 2011
hi betsie .. well firstly I'd ask to have lunch with your mum, this may help normalise the day and give chance to get the feel of the place. when my parents went in for a month initially they were already used to respite stays. I stood up an A4 note by the bed to remind them they deserved a good rest and during their stay we'd all think about what it would feel like if they lived there. I knew they would not be returning home and felt like I'd tricked them. mum settled well but wheneverdad asked about going home I'd skirt round the answer. eventually a friend said I needed to tell him straight. when I did, Ithought I'd choke on my words but he actually began to settle in. looking back, it was harder for me to say it than it was for him to be told, I'm sure but it felt like a weight off my shoulders. I'm guessing it'll be harder for you than for your mum. sorry if mistakes here, cat's on my shoulder!


Registered User
Jun 11, 2012
Yes, the manager said we could stay and have lunch with her. I'm hoping she will be ok, she is very social and has hated living on her own. Mths main problem will be her missing her dog. My sister is going to get her a very lifelike pretend one and one of the admin ladies at the home takes her dog in every week day so I'm hoping that will help.


Registered User
Nov 29, 2015
Will you be able to take your mum's dog in to visit as well? That was one of my main worries when my husband went to a care home, as he is devoted to our dog. I take her in nearly every time I visit, and I also got him a life sized toy one as well - she is a border collie and I found a very realistic life-sized one on Amazon. It really helped him, as he wouldnt go to bed at first, but the carers gradually were able to get him into the bedroom using the dog.

He loves seeing the real one, and makes a big fuss of her, and it gives me an excuse when I have to leave him, saying she needs to go out, and that I wont be long.

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
Hi, Betsie, I'm sorry to hear of your distress about the move to the care home for your mum. You do sound upset and no wonder. Please try to remember that you are not dumping your mother by the side of the road to die, but taking her somewhere she will receive good care. You are not a bad person or a horrible daughter. You are someone who wants her mother to be well looked after.

Again, I hear you are upset and I'm sorry.

I think your instinct to not tell your mother this is a permanent move to a care home, is one you should listen to. I think you should use whatever term your mother will respond best to, whether it's a hotel, a convalescent home, rehab, respite care, "a new housing scheme for older adults," whatever will go down best. And definitely blame it on the doctor or some incident, if need be. "The doctor says you need to stay here for a while," or "this is until we get the boiler sorted out at home" or "we have to get that leak in the roof fixed" or whatever.

I would stay for lunch, yes.

I probably wouldn't mention it either at all, or not before you get in the car. You can even just say you are going out to lunch; that's a strategy I've heard people use.

Anything from home, that will look and feel and even smell familiar, is a good idea. Her clothes, photos, favorite artwork for the wall, her sheets and bedding if that's possible, anything that is comforting.

When I visit my mother at the care home, and am leaving, I am always careful to say, see you soon, and not "see you Tuesday" or "see you next week." My mother either gets anxious trying to remember/figure out what day I'm coming back, or focuses on how many days until I return, or just gets upset. If I say, I'll see you soon, it reassures her that she will see me again soon. Depending on your mother's personality and sense of time, you may or may want to try that.

Don't hesitate to talk to the staff over the phone to find out how your mother is doing. Try to give your mum time to settle before you panic that it's terrible and will never work out.

If it would help you to hear more about other people's experiences, you could have a search here on TP for some past threads. If you have trouble, speak up and I'll see what I can find for you.

Best wishes and we will be thinking of you.


Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
I hate reading post like this (nothing personal betsie) but how do you do the right thing when your mind says it's the wrong thing?
Many of us on here have dropped the children off at school for the first time, day one, aged 4 or 5 and they don't want to go in, you walk away with tears in your eyes but you know you're doing the right thing and it's what's best for them, children need an education and sometime older people need care.
Like your mum my wife was a "geriatric nurse" as it was called in the old days but strangely she's fitted in quite well (well as well as you can in a in a secure physic unit) and gives me updates on the other patients, I actually thinks she believes she works there sometimes.
You could tell her it's only temporary and hope she forgets, you could go the long way round so it seems like you live miles away, tell her it's a hotel or whatever all might work, but ultimately you didn't take this decision lightly so never feel guilty when you're doing what's best.
If possible you could have a few of her familiar things; photos, clock, knitting bag even something like a familiar bed cover/duvet cover (or whatever) put in her room before she goes in there for the first time so there are things she can relate to as being hers.

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