do they ever settle in the nursing home?


Registered User
Apr 7, 2008
hi all,
I have been browsing for a while and you have unknowingly provided me with great support over the past while and I want to thank you all for that.
My Mum has vascular dementia and unfortunately has deteriorated very fast. It is strange as in some ways she seems fine but in other ways she is totally changed. We were advised that she had to have 24 hour care and I found a nursing home close to where I live that is excellent. So she went in, and whilst she has settled in lots of ways (taking part in activities etc) she still is constantly telling me how heartbroken she is to be there and can she come home, and how browned off she is.
I feel so mean that I am locking her up. I know if she wasn't in there she would have had a very bad accident (came close to it a lot of times) and we tried other supports but she just needed 24 hour care. I have small children and work, and just couldn't do it. The guilt is killing me, maybe if I had tried harder I could have done it.
Not sure what the point of this post is, I just wonder how you cope with seeing someone you love so upset. I hate visiting her as it is just so hard seeing her upset, although the nursing home tell me she is fine during the day, and it is only in the evening, also compared to lots of the residents she is actually quite calm.
Do they ever settle?
thanks for reading, umc

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Yes, they settle eventually

Hi umc,
Yes, your mother will settle in but it can take quite a while. It took my mother about 3 months before she stopped packing up her clothes every single day. And every single day I went in to visit (because I felt so guilty) and unpacked everything.

I doubt very much if you could have tried harder. You have small children and they should be your first priority at this time. The guilt will ease up - guilt seems to be an unavoidable emotion, particularly at the beginning of this journey.

If your mother is upset in the evenings only, she may be sundowning. I used to call it my mother's "witching hour" because things got really interesting sometimes. Can you visit her earlier in the day? Since you work, make that earlier in the day on weekends.

How often are you visiting? If your mother's behaviour really upsets you, why don't you just not visit for a week or so? Your mother is not the only one who needs to settle in, you too need to settle in emotionally with all this. It is very hard but you will be able to get through it. If I could, anyone can.

fearful fiona

Registered User
Apr 19, 2007
Hello umc

Good to meet you on TP. In the last year I had to place my Mum and Dad in a nursing home because they were a danger to themselves at home. My Dad sort of became resigned to it and died peacefully in February. My mother never settled and has been in the psychiatric unit of the hospital since November.

Like you I found it difficult and sad to visit, although the care home was excellent, like yours. I think the only thing to do is keep telling yourself that your Mum is safe and cared for by professionals. Even if she is never really happy, there really is no choice, as you wouldn't have been able to live with yourself if anything had happened to her at home.

It sounds selfish, but I try not to think about her too much when I'm not visiting. It would serve no useful purpose really. I know for a fact that my Mum is OK when I'm not there and joins in all the activities. It just seems that my visits remind her of what she had and now misses.

Hope this makes sense and helps. I think it is really the fact that one's loved ones are safe and "supervised" 24/7 that is so important.

Good luck.


Registered User
Mar 19, 2008
west sussex
settling in

Hi umc
My mothers twin sister has Vascular dementia and is now in a NH and has settled. Not sure she is happy BUT she feels safe and secure there.
How did you convince your mother to go in to a NH. My mother has vascular dementia as well and will not budge. Everyone says/tells her she is not safe and needs 24 hour supervision and still she will not budge. She won't even go and see the place, which is beautiful, really nice.
I hope she does settle in, I am sure she will with time


Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire
Dear UMC

My mum has been in a residential care home, psychiatrict ward, NHS continuing care dementia home and she still begs me to take her home.

I know there is no way she could be cared for at home and it still make me feel guilty, but maybe I am becoming a bit used to it.

When visiting now, I can mostly expect the pleading to go home and accept it as part of the visit. Talk about stock answers:( I now have many, eg. I have to go to make my husbands dinner, as he has been working all day (retired and he makes my dinner):D I will be back later.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't

Take care


Registered User
May 16, 2007
hi UMC
I'm in the same boat as you. mum has been in her residential home now for almost a month and as far as the staff say she's settling in fine. however I'm getting all the nasty side if her. I guess she's taking her frustration out on me which is understandable but hard to endure! She packs her room up every day and I have to unpack it all the time, constantly demanding and difficult with me but nice as ninepence to the staff!!
I know it's hard but we have to realise that our lfes still have to continue as normally as possible and that we CANNOT BE THERE 24/7! thats the care the NH provides. Its now a safety issue - wouldn't it be terrible if something happened to them and they were alone - all the guilt that would bring? keep trying to keep the guilt monster at bay!! x ann x

P.S. Judy, it's almost impossible to get your loved one to agree to go into a home - the doctors need to assess them and determine if they are unable to be on their own. We tried to point out to mum that she was on her own most of the day and was bored and needed company, that she'dmeet new friends in the NH. now she's decided she doesn't like anyone in the home!! What can you do!!
x Ann x


Registered User
Dec 10, 2006
Ilford, Essex
Hi everyone on this thread.
I am so relieved to have read these messages. I am in soon to be the exact same situation. My mum has dementia and has now reached the stage where she just cannot live on her own any more and needs 24 hour care. Last week a mental health nurse went to assess her and my mum became so rude and refused to answer any questions. She was really having a go at me accusing me of getting her into "this situation" and "after all I've done for you....". She said there was absolutely nothing wrong with her and she was perfectly capable of looking after herself. (In actual fact she has got to the stage where she can't even get herself a drink of water! She goes to bed and leaves her back door unlocked, she left tissues on top of her hob to dry them although luckily she didn't turn it on. She keeps going on about how her mum and dad won't know where she is or that she will have to go home soon even when she is sitting in her own flat. Also, because she tends to have quite big accidents, I am having to clean her all the time now which I am finding very hard. She always takes the toilet paper out of the bathroom and uses whatever comes to hand. Sorry, I am going on and on but once I start I find it very hard to stop.

Anyway, I have found a wonderful care home about 10 minutes away from where I live (I live just round the corner to my mum) but she will not even visit. One problem is that she has a dog and obviously the dog will not be able to go with her (I know that that will be really sad for her) but she does tend to forget about him if he is not within her sight. (She used to worry about where he was all the time but the other night she went to bed (in all her clothes and shoes) and left him in the garden!

I, too, feel very guilty but I have a partner and three grown up sons living at home. I have recently given up work because I just couldn't do it all. My partner and I don't seem to have a life (it all revolves around my mum).

I have been told by the nurse that I may have to be very deceitful when my mum eventually does go into a NH and just take her along on the pretense of visiting someone, then sit and have a cup of tea and just say I have to go to the loo and will be back in a minute and then go. I am dreading it and then dreading the visits because I feel sure she will never settle. She can get very nasty and hurtful.

I've finished now!! although I just want to thank everyone for sharing their experiences and letting me know that I am not alone.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I really feel for all the sons and daughters who are fearful for the safety of their parents, but cannot persuade them to go into a residential home.

I know my husband would be in such danger if he lived alone. He panics at the slightest difficulty, has phases of `sundowning` where he packs his bags and wants to `go home`.

He might put bread in the toaster and leave it, if the post comes for example, and if the bread sticks, it goes up in flames. He confuses the grill and oven switches, has problems controllong the ceramic hob, and cannot light the fire.

Yet if anyone suggested he go into a residential home he would hit the roof. He will not even entertain the idea of a sitter or carer coming to be with him if I want to go out. I know if I asked someone in, he would walk out.

But as I am with him 24/7, we do not yet have such problems of risk.

I did, however have the same problems with my mother. She was at risk and couldn`t be persuaded to go into a home. I had to bide my time.

She did attend day care, Monday-Friday, and as her condition deteriorated I made arrangements with a local care home in case of an emergency.

The emergency came when she was taken home from day care and didn`t know her own home, couldn`t understand why she`d been taken back there. At that time she was frightened and agreed to go into the residential home. Within a couple of hours, before she could change her mind, she was packed and away.

I suffered for it later, but at last she was safe.

So I can only suggest you try to be prepared for an emergency.
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Registered User
May 16, 2007
Hi everyone,
I'm beginning to feel quite lucky that my mum came around to the idea of going into the NH! From reading the posts on here I can see we've had it easier than most. My mum must understand a bit more than I give her credit for at times because she went from adamantly refusing to consider a NH to seemingly accepting it although dreading it at the same time (understandably!) She'd been livng with my brother and he just got married in february so we told her that it was a new beginning for everyone! my brother his new wife and her 2 girls starting out fresh together and mum in her new home too with lots of people around.
She's not happy, but this only comes out when she sees us! the staff say she's great! I'm going to spend tomorrw evening with her after work so we'll see what her forms like then.

Grannie G - I think you are an amazingly stong person to cope with your situation 24/7. I can only manage an hour sometimes!!
I feel we should all take time to pat ourselves on the back for the good things we do. It's so easy to let guilt and anger and all the negative stuff be dominant but we need to remember that we are trying our best in difficult situations and we are coping remarkably because we have to! WE need to stop being so hard on ourselves all the time!

Love to all. ann x


Registered User
Apr 7, 2008
Thank you all for your replies.
Canadian Joanne my mother was packing too everyday but I took away the cases, now she packs up all her clothes in whatever she can. I have cut down my visiting and try to visit during the day (I work funny hours as I work around the kids (3 under 6)) or early evening. I ring her in between but it is so upsetting to hear her upset on the phone, and practically begging to go home. Unfortunately she can't, as her short term memory is now very poor (non-existent) and she can't do a lot of the basic tasks (going to the toilet, washing etc). It is strange as in a lot of ways her mind is perfect. I might try staying away for longer but I feel like I am abandoning her.
fearful fiona you are right, the fact she is looked after and safe is what is important.
judyjudy I have to admit we didn't tell her she was going in for good, we just say 'for the moment while you are unwell'. I know though that she knows it is for good, which is why she is heartbroken. The doctor assessed her and the nursing home also came out and assessed her.
alfjess I probably will just have to accept it is part of when I talk to her, as you know it doesn't make it easier. And yes mollieblue we must try and keep that guilt monster at bay, guilt is eating me up. it is not doing anyone any good though.
Sharonlyons you will probably have to be deceitful, I am lucky in some ways that my mum just cries, she doesn't get nasty. That must be very hard. Hopefully she will settle.
Grainne G thank you for your words, it is hard enough that it is my mother, I can not imagine how it must be for you.
Thank you to you all, and I am sorry that we have to meet here. Dementia is so cruel.

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire
Dear umc and others

My mum's been in the Care Home since August and I would say she still isn't "settled", i.e. doesn't want to be there. Fortunately she is a very compliant lady (most of the time), doesn't complain, and I've only ever seen her cry twice and not while in the home, but every now and then she says, very sadly, "I've had enough of this, I'm going to look for a place of my own". I am useless at dealing with this, I attempt to explain to her why she is there, remind her what she was like before, but all she says is "I don't remember all that, but I'm better now". And in many ways she IS better, because she isn't needing to go to the post office at 6 a.m. or the Old ladies club at midnight.

The home have just engaged a new activities co-ordinator (the previous one was dismissed cos not "up to scratch"), I thought mum would welcome that but she finds her irritating, "She's always wanting us to DO things" (all mum wants to do is cook, clean, wash and iron - flower arranging and the like hold no interest for her).

I never visited every day, 2-3 times a week, sometimes less when I am busy at work, and we didn't take her out of the home till Christmas Day, but since then I've taken her out a few times and it has worked very well. I have also noticed that she is glad to get back to the Home - so when I say she hasn't settled, maybe that's a sign that she has. I am hoping that when Spring arrives we can go for a few short walks, runs in the country, coffee in a cafe, and from September I am taking a year out of work (I know not everyone can do that) to enable me to do more for her while she is able to enjoy it.

Sometimes it's little things that make the Home acceptable.

Oh, umc, you couldn't have done any more, you didn't have a choice. I keep saying similar to myself "I wonder if I could have ......." and the answer is always "No, I couldn't".

Love to all



Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
Hi umc

It does take time. My Mum was discharged to a NH from Hospital. Like you I had 2 yo twin sons at the time, other than my DH and inlaws no one would care for them and we lived 225 miles away.

I used the doctors don't think that you are fit yet but when you are....argument. However I am fairly sure, given my experiences with her before she went to hospital, that there was a good chance that she would not, by then, have recognised her own home.

Home is a place where you feel safe and belong. I think that this disease strips that from you, because you forget where that is.

Your children will keep you going through the darker days. And, probably the only good bit of advice I ever got from my HV was that they had to be the priority as they are the future. I knew that my Mum would agree. It takes time but you learn to balance. (though I really think that by now I should be riding a unicycle!!!)




Registered User
May 20, 2006
North East
Hi umc

Mum has been in a home for 3 years now, and I do feel that she is a bit more settled now.

Whereas she too would pack all of her clothes into anything she could find every day - finally, she doesn't do that any more.

Where, she would always be saying that she was going home, now she just worries that she hasn't seen her Mum and Dad for a long time and wants to see them.

Hope that your Mum will eventually settle, but sadly it may take some time



Registered User
Apr 12, 2008
Hi umc,

I am new here too, but please believe that they do settle in nursing homes.

I had to have my father admitted about 18mths ago. I felt awful about it, I felt as if I was dumping him even though I was at breaking point by then and discovered it's impossible to stay awake 24/7.

I was advised not to visit for the first week so he had time to settle in. So the day came for me first visit and I was feeling terrible expecting recriminations. When I arrived he was sitting laughing and talking with other residents and members of staff. To say I was relieved does not come close.

We did have a couple of times when he asked when he was coming home but that was very short lived. I have never told him it is permanent just that he is having a holiday. This may seem wrong but I just cannot even now tell him that.

I know everyone is different and reacts differently but when the time arrives that 24 hours care is a necessity it is the only option available. I know my dad is being looked after properly to a standard I could never have achieved and that he is happy and content.

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