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agitated in care home

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by LinofSC, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. LinofSC

    LinofSC Registered User

    Nov 27, 2016
    Mum has advanced Alzheimers and has been in care for approx 3 months - had a fall at home. Since being in the home she has had another fall which resulted in a broken femur. Having recovered from that she fell again, sprained her ankle and now has a DVT in her leg which is obviously swollen. Before her fall in the home, we thought she was just beginning to settle in, but oh no! My brother lives locally, I live 100 miles away. He visits regularly and I visit once a fortnight. Recently she has been asking about going home, not being able to stay where she is, 'they don't do anything for her' etc etc. She is very agitated and is constantly walking round and asking the staff where my brother and I are. We both phone her once or twice each day. We keep telling love lies that we have to wait and see what the doctor says and that she is convelescing at the moment. We cannot let her go home because it had become a nightmare there - she wouldn't accept carers preparing meals, helping her with personal care or anything. She would phone us 30 or more times a day. We had always promised Mum that she could stay at home but that will not work. She has been under the Mental Health team and we have a meeting arranged with them and the Home Manager to discuss the way forward. Mum is not interested in joining in any activities, having her hair done in the salon etc etc. Family have always been the most important part of her life. She looked after her own bed-ridden Mum for a while. Unfortunately, neither my brother nor I are in the position to do so, and actually Mum would not want us to. She is a very thoughtful person and tells us we must enjoy ourselves while we re young (I am 66!!)
    I wonder if anyone has been in a similar position and can offer any advice. Mum is 90 years old and it is so sad that she is spending the last years of her life in this unhappy state
  2. Jessbow

    Jessbow Registered User

    Keep on doing what you are doing, although I would reduce the phone calls if I were you. You keep reminding her that you and your brother are somewhere else.

    She will settle eventually, keep on saying that the Dr wants her to stay as long as her leg is swollen.

    its so hard but she will settle eventually.
  3. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
    You say that your Mum was beginning to settle in before her fall in the home but has since been very agitated and constantly walking around. Just a thought, but is it possible that she is in pain? My Mum with Alzheimer's had the same symptoms and the Mental Health team tried all sorts of different medication but the agitation only reduced when my Mum was given string pain relief. Might be worth looking at if it hasn't already been considered. I hope you find a solution as it's difficult to see someone so agitated and in distress. I would agree with the above advice too though and reduce the daily phone calls.
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Your mum is talking about wanting to go home, but you may find that she doesnt mean the home in which she used to live before moving to the care home.

    When people with dementia talk about "going home" what they really mean is that they want to go somewhere away from the confusion of dementia - a place that they understand, know what it happening and who people are. If asked what home is like many of them will describe a childhood home, or it may be a composite of different places that they have lived, for others it is a fantasy place; it is a place in their mind, it doesnt exist in real life. many, many people say they want to go home when they are actually sat in their own home.

    Have you asked the staff what she is like when you are not there? Quite often people have settled, but seeing family (or having them phone) will trigger off the "want to go home" loop. Another one here voting to hold back on the phone calls.

    You are doing the right thing to use "love lies" - she is convalescing etc. She has had a rough ride recently which has obviously unsettled her. Im sure that once she has recovered from her DVT she will settle again, but some medication might help with that. See what the Mental Health Team suggest.
  5. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    I so sympathise with you, LinofSC. My mum is. In a similar situation to yours, agitated and distressed for much of the time, calling out and constantly wanting to 'go home'. Canary, I think, gives a good. Insight into the meaning of home, but it's still hard to keep saying that she has to wait for the doctor to 'let her go' ( although her respect for the medical profession does come in handy!)
    My mum also is not interested in activities, doesn't even listen to music now, which she used to love. Family was and is the focus of her life, she was the one everyone used to turn to for help and support. It must be so hard for her now, she simply has no focus. The vacuum seems to be filled with distress.
    I can only say that the degree of her distress does vary. Sometimes this seems to be down to medication, sometimes there seems no rhyme or reason. At least she no longer bites or scratches carers....I used to hate that.
    I suppose I'm trying to say hang on in there. There will be good days and bad days, and it sounds like you and your mum are due a few good ones.
    Thinking of you and sending hugs
    Lindy X

    PS I too would be inclined to reduce the phone calls. From experience I know that they don't always help mum....maybe they also trigger a sense of loss for your mum?
  6. Baz22

    Baz22 Registered User

    Dec 30, 2017
    South West
    Hi LinofSC
    What canary/Lindy50 have said is so true. My Mum also wants to "go home" but as has been said that is not necessarily where she used to live. When I gently chat with Mum about "going home" she does not know where it is or how to describe it, it is just a place of safety. On one occasion I think she just meant where her Mum & Dad are. This week she asked again when her Mum & Dad are going to see her. My granddad died in 1952 and gran in 1971.
    Mum had several falls and two major fractures in the years before she went in the care home. This week she has fallen again and has a fractured shoulder. The whole care home thing is not easy and racked with anguish and guilt but it is the best thing we have done. Mum gets 24/7 care that we cannot provide and we are less stressed and so more able to cope with her. My Mum introduced me to one Doctor has her cousin and to the next one as her nephew but you just roll with it. Mum's hearing is excellent but her cognition is totally shot but I never contradict her verbally when she is there as it causes aggression and agitation.
    My Mum won't join in and we had a period of her refusing to have her hair done but now at least she has her hair done. I have found this forum so reassuring as you realise you are not the only one going through this. Take the small pleasures when they come
  7. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    I so identify with this Baz. I did try to gently ask mum about 'home' this week and she was completely unable to describe it. When I suggested that maybe it's 'where your family is', she leapt on this, but then was unable to say who her family were, other than, after a pause, 'well, mum, I suppose'. I don't usually probe in this way, but occasionally I really want to try and get some understanding of what's in and on her mind. Otherwise how can I relate or help her? The sad thing is, often there is little there other than anxiety and worry....so the best I can do is try to offer comfort. What a dreadful disease it is....:(
  8. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    All I can say is that although my mother was much the same, this stage did pass eventually.
    Keep going with the 'love lies', say whatever will help for that moment, however 'fibbing' it is. I told so many and various love lies to my mother, I could almost write a book entitled 'Love Lies for Every Occasion'! As long as they pacified her for the moment, I didn't care.
    I do agree with cutting down the phone calls if you possibly can. They may not be helping her to settle.
    Before she went into her care home (at 89 with fairly bad Alzheimer's) my mother had been in the habit of ringing my brother up to 30 times an HOUR.
    For this reason we said absolutely not to a phone in her room. For the first week or two she was endlessly asking staff to 'ring my son' but they would restrict it to once or twice a day, and otherwise tell her he was out or it was engaged.
    To be honest we were amazed at how quickly she forgot about it.
  9. LinofSC

    LinofSC Registered User

    Nov 27, 2016
    Thank you everyone for your advice. Sitting here crying now but will carry on and do our best for Mum. She would be devastated if she knew what problems she has caused. It certainly helps to know we are not alone. Lets hope one day there will be a cure! I also hope that my children don't have to go through the same with me!!
  10. Lindy50

    Lindy50 Registered User

    Dec 11, 2013
    Oh Lin ☹️
    I am so sorry about your situation. And I too actively hope my children don't have to look after me.....
    (((Hugs))) to you xx

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