1. TomN235

    TomN235 Registered User

    Mar 5, 2007
    I posted a few months back just to introduce myself. Mum (64) has now been in a care home for just under three months. The mve finally became inevitable as she was living on her own and started wandering at night.

    The home she is in is really lovely - a nice, modern building with great carers, good cakes (very important to her!) and the ability to walk around freely.

    The only problem is that it is comparatively far away from her old home - just under 20 miles (20 minutes by car or 45 minutes by bus). This has meant that some of Mum's friends have given me a lot of grief for not putting her in one of the homes in town. The reason why I haven't done so is that they are simply nowhere near as good. One has basically just been closed down, one is just a psychiatric ward and the other two are poky, old and look like hospitals from 20 years ago. As she has been sectioned she would also be confined to the one corridor of her ward, whereas in the home she is currently in she has been tagged electronically so she can walk around the enture home and garden - and she walks a lot.

    Her friends now think that a 20 minute drive is absolutely unacceptable and consequently "won't be able to visit more often than every couple of months". The way I see it they are finding it hard to deal with the illness, especially given tat Mum is so young and most of them are roughly the same age. Consequently, they are trying their hardest to off-load their frustration onto me. This has led them to come up with wild accusations and claims, often based on knowledge gained from the local newspaper and radio chat shows, that I am systematically doing everything to make Mum's situation worse. The fact that I sometimes take her out for lunch or dinner now apparently means that I am not doing anyting but just coming home on holiday. When the home mixed up her laundry with that of another resident this simple mix-up was clearly not an adequate explanation - really, one of Mum's friends told me, I subconsciously want to punish my mother and therefore deliberately only provided her with two old jumpers to wear. My reply, that I distinctly remember taking several suitcases full of warm jumpers over there and the whole thing must have been a mistake, was just regarded as a lie.

    Anyway, I am tempted to ramble. Luckily I have a lot of support from some other friends and all the doctors and carers (some of whom are connected to old colleagues / friends of Mum's as well), who all agree that the home she is currently in is the best solution for the time being. Was just wondering what techniques others have for dealing with those people who always know better even though they've never actually done anything constructive.

  2. noelphobic

    noelphobic Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
    no answers I'm afraid but I do sympathise and empathise. It amazes me how many people know what is best for my mum and yet rarely see her, let alone do anything for her themselves. She has 4 sisters and a brother and yet only one of them bothered to send her a card this year and I can't remember the last time any of them visited.

    It sounds to me as though you have done the best thing you could for your mum and she is lucky to have you. Easier said than done, but try to ignore these people as much as possible, they will only drag you down and you don't have to justify yourself to them,

    Take care.
  3. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    Hi Tom
    I would try your best to just ignore it. You know that you are doing the very best you can for your mum. The quality of the home and attitude of the staff are paramount, in my view. I think you are probably right that your mum's friends are finding it difficult to come to terms with her illness. In my experience, and many others on this site, many 'friends' (and some family) fall away very quickly - then their guilt at this fact makes tham critical. Rise above it if you can. If it really gets to you - call their bluff and tell them bluntly that you are doing the best you possibly can for your mum in a heartbreaking situation and that if they can't be supportive, then their commenrts are not welcomed.
    Blue sea
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Dear Tom, you've had some good advice here. As someone only a little younger than your mother, I find it ludicrous that people who are roughly contemporaries of mine would claim that a 20 minute drive would be a bar to visiting - it is, as you have rightly surmised, an excuse and nothing more. Sadly, she could be down the street and there would be another excuse. People do find this disease difficult to cope with and some of them think nothing of dumping their own fears on other people. I don't know whether you can rise above it, or whether you can simply tell them to get lost. I realise that might seem even more alienating but I'm afraid to say they've already shown their true colours and nothing you do or do not do will make a difference.
  5. Natashalou

    Natashalou Registered User

    Mar 22, 2007
    Frankly it sounds to me as if these so called "friends" of your mum are quickly and with relief seizing on this as a cast iron reason not to visit.
    I wonder how many would manage quick enough a 45 min bus journey if there was something like a free hairdo at the other end? After all if there are several as you seem to say they could go in pairs as an outing or singly in a rota once a month couldnt they?
    sounds to me as if YOU have done the best for your mum, YOU are the one dealing with it all and YOU have the responsibility.
    I havent actually received any criticism about how Ive dealt with my mum basically coz nobody shows enough interest to criticize, but I made up my mind if I ever DID (there are numerous uninvolved family members) Id tell then if they felt they could do better..please go ahead!!
  6. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Dear Tom, I chose to find Lionel a home that was suitable for his needs, just as you have done for your mum.

    His old school friends make at least a 150 mile round trip, albeit every couple of months, but they stagger their visits with each other.

    Other friends who live just 4 miles from the care home, whilst being very supportive of me, never visit. I guess they find it too hard.

    Carry on doing what you know is the best for mum - that is all that matters. Indeed I have given myself a 45 minute journey every time I visit, due to being unhappy with local homes.

    Stay strong, thinking of you,
  7. fearful fiona

    fearful fiona Registered User

    Apr 19, 2007
    Dear Tom,

    I am very sorry to read your message and sorry the situation is causing so much worry. I agree with what everyone else has said.

    I find that people who have never been in our situation are very quick to criticise and frankly they haven't a clue what they are talking about because they simply haven't been there. My parents have been in care now for the same period of time and it is very tough. You do your best and no-one has the right to judge you. I find it quite ridiculous that a 20 minute journey is "too far to visit".

    Things will never be perfect but it sounds as though you have done very well for your Mum, you should be proud. She has as much freedom as possible which sounds nice.

    I've received a lot of negative comments about the home I found for my parents, I simply say "well, what do you suggest?" to those people, of course they never have any suggestion to make, so that shuts them up.

    Now I'm ranting on, but I hope all this helps because I do feel for you at a very difficult time. On a lighter note, cakes are very important, my Dad in particular really looks forward to tea time!

    Keep up the good work!
  8. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Hello Tom.
    I`m afraid I`m another one who has had the same experiences. Friends of my mother, visited her once and told me they couldn`t bear to visit again as they didn`t like the home.
    I think it was an excuse not to visit.
    I can`t say I blame them. They were all the same age as my mother and probably frightened of the same thing happening to them. However beautiful a home is, no-one would end their days in one by choice.
    I just wish they`d been straight with me, instead of making such feeble excuses.
    I know how much it helps when other people visit. It does ease some of the burden.
    Take care xx
  9. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Dear Tom, So many wise and sensible posts in response to your post. Please take comfort in knowing that these same people would probably also criticise you if:

    * you put your Mum in a home near them, because "he didn't care for her enough to find a really good home"

    * you didn't take her out, because "he just dumped her there and never visits"

    * your mother had 3 dozen sweaters, because "all he cares about is that she looks good - he doesn't think about the washing".


    You can never satisfy people like this. As others have said, if possible, IGNORE them. Otherwise, I like what Bluesea says:
    If it really gets to you - call their bluff and tell them bluntly that you are doing the best you possibly can for your mum in a heartbreaking situation and that if they can't be supportive, then their commenrts are not welcomed.

    Sadly, it only takes one gossip who is trying to justify her / his behaviour to turn others against you. Just hold your head high, know you are doing the right thing for your Mum, and come to Talking Point for support and friendship.

    Every best wish.
  10. TomN235

    TomN235 Registered User

    Mar 5, 2007
    I guess I will just have to ignore them. Thank you so much for all the kind support. It's just good to be able to rant sometimes. i don't want to come across as self-righteous, but i feel very strongly about this and literally have spent every single day thinking about this for three months now (and had many rather bizarre dreams about it, too). It is hard though, as I think they genuinely believe that what they are saying is right and what I am doing is somehow inherently evil. They are very concerned and get very emotional about it all, which is exactly where the problem lies - how can I 'construct' good care for Mum with all this hysteria?

    The problem is that they do constantly make suggestions as to what I should do. These suggestions, however, are either based on hearsay, etc. about other cases or are just purely utopian. For instance, Mum went to a day care centre for a few weeks before moving to the home and really liked it there. Unfortunately, the home attached to the day care centre doesn't have a 'protected', ie. closed ward and therefore isn't really an option for Mum, who would just go wandering and might end up under a bus. Nevertheless, I was viciously attacked for not putting her there since "x's friend's mother's brother just got a place there" and I had clearly neglected to snap up that (unsuitable) place. The other problem is that they constantly claim that if Mum was in a home closer to where they live, they would of course be visiting all the time. I simply don't buy this, but it's very hard to tell them this. Where have they been for the last three years? They showed great concern at some points, but then again were out of touch for several months if they were busy with other things. I don't even blame them for that, but simply can't see that they would be visiting constantly if they only had 5 minutes to drive instead of 20. Incidentally, I don't drive and I manage to get out to the home every single day when I am around - by bus or train. I clearly didn't choose the home for my own convenience or enjoyment.

    I have already more or less severed my ties with Mum's best friend, which is a great pity. Interestingly, she called up the doctor who wrote the reports suggesting Mum's early retirement three years ago and has been loosely in touch with me ever since (despite having absolutely no official role beyond the retirement), asking for her support in overturning my decision. The doctor just e-mailed me acknowledging that Mum's friend seemed to be a "very difficult woman" and telling me that I had her full support. The carers in the home have also told me some rather amusing stories about that friend's behaviour towards them. Dad and his current partner (even though the two now tell me that they are going to end their relationship) have also been very good at trying to calm people down and go to visit Mum from time to time.

    I now have to meet another of Mum's friends on Thursday to discuss 'how to improve Mum's situation'. I just can't see any point in having yet another tear-filled conversation that will just do more harm than good in the end, but equally if I refuse to meet her at all I can already imagine all the anger that will get going among the two / three vocal opponents of Mum's current home. Equally, I don't want Mum to suffer from all this and can just hope that they will continue to visit her occasionally even if they hate me.

    Anyway, on the bright side, I am just printing off my PhD thesis which is finally finished!

    Thanks so much again,
  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    If you're printing out your thesis, well done to you - it's something to be proud about.

    I was one of those people who moved my mother far further that you did (about 100 miles from her previous home) and one or two people did mildly comment that visiting would be next to impossible, but the fact of the matter was, this was the absolutely best situation for her at the time. I would have loved to have been able to find something exactly the same closer to her few remaining friends, but it wasn't to be, and I can't say they gave me much grief over it. They may have recognized that I had drawn a line in the sand, or they may have been less involved friends, but I can't say I regretted it. Perhaps I have an especially thick skin - I simply wouldn't put up with people trying to make me feel guilty about this particular thing, although I have sufficient guilt about other areas.

    Anyway - it's clear you're doing the best for your mother: the rest of them can just take a running jump.
  12. peppa

    peppa Registered User

    Jun 5, 2007
    Tom, congratulations on finishing the PhD! It is brilliant to have completed such a thing with everything that's going on.:)

    I can only echo what others have said. It is too easy for people who are not 'hand on' to be critical of your decisions. We too had 'helpful' friends making all sorts of inappropriate suggestions for my mother. One close friend of hers begged me 'please don't let her stay there' (the CH) and another announced my mother 'no longer had dementia' and wrote a letter to the care home giving a month's notice (luckily we found out...at the time it wasn't even my mother's wishes). I was already kind of familiar with this sort of 'help' as my mother was an alcoholic and years ago I remember a neighbour storming in to our house accusing us of neglecting her and promptly producing a jar of vitamin c pills, which she clearly reckoned would solve all!

    If you have really weighed up the pros and cons of her current situation and made an educated decision about what is 'right', which I am sure you have, I would take a deep breath and thank whoever for their concern and give a BRIEF explanation of why you have come to that decision. You can always do a bit of nodding and say you'll look into it. Friends do tend to fall by the wayside from fear or whatever, but if there are some who are still a bit interested it would be best to try not to lose your patience with them as they could be useful visitors. I know my mum lived for her visitors. Earlier this year we gave her a visitors book for people to write in. It was great for her to look at and see that she had been visited and to laugh at any silly messages. It was also useful for all concerned to see that she was still worth visiting!

    Do take care, Tom. We too took the care home route just a few months ago and had to move mum further out because we lost confidence in the first place she went to. It's not an easy time, but there should be some comfort in the fact that she will be in safe hands.

  13. Nell

    Nell Registered User

    Aug 9, 2005
    Dear Tom,

    It seems that these so-called friends of your mother's are in fact being very obstructive about your choices of care for your Mum.

    As they are your Mum's friends, you probably don't want to tell them where to go (!!) but perhaps you could write an open letter addressing some (all??) of the issues. . . . ?

    You could clearly state why you have done what you have done, and why you believe these are the best choices.

    It might be best to ignore all the various criticisms, but then again, you may wish to address them . . . . obviously this is your choice.

    You could say that you hope they will continue their friendships with your Mum who values these friendships highly - (nothing like a bit of emotional blackmail!) but that you will understand if advancing years makes the distance too far. (Aren't I being nasty? :))

    In conclusion, you could state firmly and clearly that you hope this letter has clearly explained your view point and that you do not wish to have further discussions about your decisions.

    You might even add that the worry about doing the right thing for your Mum has given you many sleepless nights, and that you now feel you must look after your own health so you can continue to support your Mum as much as possible. (I'm laying it on a bit thick here, but these people do not sound as if they are very thin skinned! Perhaps you need to really induce the guilt factor!!)

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
  14. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Nell, you should be on the Board of the United Nations. :)
  15. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Wow, Nell, that's brilliant!

    There are a few people I could send that letter to, too! Instead, I just get upset.:(
  16. christine_batch

    christine_batch Registered User

    Jul 31, 2007
    Dear Tom,
    Also my congratulations on doing you Phd.
    I agree with all previous threads. You have done the right thing by your Mother and that is the most important thing.
    As this is the first Christmas without my husband as he is in last stage in E.M.I. Unit 3 of my 4 children and 4 of the 6 Grandchildren who live near wanted to have a Chritmas that Peter would have been there having the time of his life.
    On Boxing Day at my daughter's a neighbour of her's came up to me and told me it is disgusting that I have left Peter in the E.M.I. Unit. When I stated he was placed there - did she stop no. She had the dam cheek to tell me to bring him home and it was all my fault.
    I went into the garden to have a cigarette (did not smoke before A.D.) and in the pick black I found a football of my Grandson's and I was kicking this ball around as if it was her head.
    Unless these ignorant people know anything of the disease and what we go through as Carers, they should engage their brain before opening their mouth. In saying that my children and Grandchildren know that I have done the best for my husband and as a disabled person I carried on for two years longer with Peter at home until I was told Hospital and I had chosen a lovely Nursing Home about 5 minutes away from us all.
    I have to add since my daughter now know what was said to me, she has dropped her as a so called friend.
    I wish you all the best. christine
  17. blue sea

    blue sea Registered User

    Aug 24, 2005
    hi Tom
    Congratulations on completing the PhD!
    Nell's letter idea sounds great to me too! I would add that your choice of care home is soundly based on the medical advice of your mum's doctor and you really cannot go against that advice. However it might be that you do not want to go the route of further justifying yourself. Whatever you decide to do, I think you need to draw a line under all further discussion and try to put it behind you. Stay polite, but distant from the 'friends' and concentrate on your own life and supporting your mum. You shouldn't be losing sleep over this issue, but I guess that's easier said than done!
    Blue sea

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