Family visits to Altzheimers residents in care home.

toosad

Registered User
Aug 6, 2012
2
Mum who suffers from Altzheimers, recently was admitted for respite care and possibly permanent nursing care to care home. She gets on well with those residents who are at her level of awareness (poss only 2 others?). Problem is her mental anguish. When I visit she chats briefly then starts to scramble over me and everything else in the room in a bid to get out and go home. She has lived in her own home for numerous years, going to a day centre 4 days a week. She has fallen a few times and has been hospitalised. Now she cannot stand or walk freely without a zimmer. She needs help getting out of bed, washing and dressing. She doesnt know what day or time of day it is and forgets where she puts things. She repeats stories from years ago, gets frightened if left on her own and is depressed. She is on morphine, antidepressents and other painkillers and when free of pain thinks she is perfectly healthy.
My heart breaks to watch her pleading to go home with me when I visit. The whole family and carers alike went to the limit of our ability to keep her safe and contented in her own home but she needs constant monitoring and caring. I keep wondering whether I should take her out of home and try looking after her in my house again (I have stairs and she cant climb them now). I almost had a nervous breakdown looking after her in several forms over the last few years. Does she pine when shes going about in the nursing home or do the TV lounges and activities keep her from thinking about the family? Its so difficult to understand whats happening in her head. Love her so much and cant function til I resolve her pain.
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
61,166
68
Dundee
It sounds like your mum is in the right place. I think you know yourself that it wouldn't be a good idea for you to try to look after her. Your health would suffer. Have you asked the staff how your mum is when you're not there? That might put your mind at rest. x
 

zeeeb

Registered User
depending on her level of recall, i would encourage her to dream of going home, and tell her that in a few months, once her house has had some renovations done, she will be able to go home. if she's going to forget you told her, that's fine. If she's going to dwell on it, perhaps, just skirt around the issue and try not to keep repeating that she's not going home (breaking her heart over and over), but don't make any promises you can't keep so to speak.

The repeating of the old stories, i think is a coping mechanism for them. My grandmother in law does it, and we've all heard the stories a thousand times, but her grandchildren always ask her to tell them because it's only in those moments, that she's actually sure of herself, and her story. she tells us about how she met her first husband over and over and over, and the ice skating story, and she's so happy when she tells it, so we ask her to tell it again and again. we ask her about her sewing (she used to be a seamstress) and she tells us over and over again, and the poetry that she has comitted to memory, we always, ask her how it goes, even though we now know it by heart ourselves.

it gives her a moment where she thinks "yeah, i'm the master of that story, or that piece of poetry" and i'm telling these people something that they want to hear, and that they couldn't possibly remember without me. so it gives her some confidence.

perhaps next time you see her, ask her about her story, as if you've never heard it, and ask probing questions. "really? oh, i'd forgotten all about that, and what happened when....?" and see if she lights up being able to shed some light on the story, that is etched into her memory as if it were yesterday.

if it gives her joy to tell the story, it doesn't matter if you have a laugh along with her because it gives her a moment of clarity where she is the one who knows best, which i'm sure she doesn't get very often these days.

My partners family are great how they all seem to ask her those same questions, as if they are dying to know that story again, and we all laugh along to her funny storys, and she's happy in that moment with her family hanging on her words, laughing with her, and that is all that matters. it is repetitive, but it is so nice to see her take the helm with a story, after all she is the matriarch of the family, it's where she belongs at the helm. she doesn't get to steer often.

another thing she does, is everytime we visit, she tells us that her son is picking her up, and taking her to melbourne soon. this story has been going on for some years now. We ask her when she's coming, and is she flying or driving, and she gets some joy for the moment thinking it's going to happen, but she forgets 2 minutes later and it doesn't seem to distress her.
 

Chemmy

Registered User
Nov 7, 2011
7,591
Yorkshire
Hello toosad

Welcome to Talking Point.

I keep wondering whether I should take her out of home and try looking after her in my house again (I have stairs and she cant climb them now). I almost had a nervous breakdown looking after her in several forms over the last few years.
Don't even consider this - it's the Guilt Monster sitting on your shoulder putting these ideas in your head :) We've all been there and it sounds like it's still very early days.

One suggestion is to type out a list of the reasons why she's better in care and stick it on your fridge door. Then read it whenever you start to have doubts.

I suspect seeing you is the trigger which reminds her of home. As Izzy says, maybe have a word with the staff about how she is getting on when you're not there - or if possible, could you perhaps peep through a window or round the door and observe her for a few minutes before going in?

It can take months for someone to settle so please do give her time and come back on here for a chat whenever you feel the need.
 

BeckyJan

Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
18,972
Derbyshire
Hello Toosad,
I also think it would be a mistake for you to care for your Mother again at home. You have already said that you and the carers went to your limits to keep her safe; many of us have experienced that too.

As well as chatting to the carers, I suggest you ask to see the Manager and discuss with him/her their views on your Mother and how she has settled. It may also be worth discussing this with the GP and/or MH Consultant who may consider some mild medication to calm her. I am not suggesting something to zonk her out but to help her relax.

You say the move into care was recent. Most sufferers take some months to settle and it could be a matter of time before she feels 'at home' there.

Let us know how things go.
Best wishes
 

Lucy Lastic

Registered User
Nov 30, 2009
135
Dorset
I had similar problems with my Mother when she moved to a care home 5 months ago, always wanting to go home when I visited. We always go to her room for the visit and it becomes "her home" now, as there are no other residents in view, so she thinks she lives alone again.

In the early days I had to come up with an explanation as to why she had moved out of her house. At first it was "you have been ill and you are here until you get better". That did not work after a while as she would say "but there is nothing wrong with me - so I can go home now". Then I told her that everyone in her road had moved out because of subsidence and the council were fixing it, but it would take quite a while. That worked so well that the care home staff used it too. It seemed to make sense to her that the property was unsafe so she could not go home until it was fixed. I think it helped that I said her neighbours had been moved out as well, so it was not just her.

Mum has not asked to go home now for a few weeks and is gradually forgetting where she used to live. Apparently she sometimes gets annoyed that there are other people in "her lounge", so she must see it as home now.

To some it may seem wrong to lie, but you have to say whatever will distress someone with dementia the least.
 

frazzled1

Registered User
Aug 25, 2011
212
london
Mum who suffers from Altzheimers, recently was admitted for respite care and possibly permanent nursing care to care home. She gets on well with those residents who are at her level of awareness (poss only 2 others?). Problem is her mental anguish. When I visit she chats briefly then starts to scramble over me and everything else in the room in a bid to get out and go home. She has lived in her own home for numerous years, going to a day centre 4 days a week. She has fallen a few times and has been hospitalised. Now she cannot stand or walk freely without a zimmer. She needs help getting out of bed, washing and dressing. She doesnt know what day or time of day it is and forgets where she puts things. She repeats stories from years ago, gets frightened if left on her own and is depressed. She is on morphine, antidepressents and other painkillers and when free of pain thinks she is perfectly healthy.
My heart breaks to watch her pleading to go home with me when I visit. The whole family and carers alike went to the limit of our ability to keep her safe and contented in her own home but she needs constant monitoring and caring. I keep wondering whether I should take her out of home and try looking after her in my house again (I have stairs and she cant climb them now). I almost had a nervous breakdown looking after her in several forms over the last few years. Does she pine when shes going about in the nursing home or do the TV lounges and activities keep her from thinking about the family? Its so difficult to understand whats happening in her head. Love her so much and cant function til I resolve her pain.
hi there,

I too wrestle with my thoughts, just having placed G in a CH. I did Chemmys suggestion to make a list of all the good reasons why hes in a CH...mostly health and safety ones BUT there IS another one....he was depressed the moment his wife died, and told me he really didnt want to carry on living without her....I cared for him but i wasnt his wife, it wasnt the same, it couldnt be, hes never been happy since the day she died. he deteriorated so quickly here with both the AD and now cancer that I found a CH for him, a beautiful house by the sea. On the way in 2 ladies staggered up to me and said hello.....they were holding hands. Blissful in eachothers company, neither is denied love and companionship and this was forged between residents of the NH. It will surely go a long way to easing their pain.