1. maudy plum

    maudy plum Registered User

    Feb 9, 2007
    9
    Can someone please give me some advice?? Feel like I'm at my wits end and wondering where to turn for help.

    My Mum's 88. She's been living on her own since we lost Dad just over 5 years ago. We knew Mum had started to have memory problems, but Dad didn't let on how bad. Mum was diagnosed with dementia around 4 years ago and during this time we had our 'family plan' set up, eventually involving the help of home care and Dementia Care Trust. About 6 months ago, Mums behaviour pattern changed and it was obvious she wasn't going to bed, either sleeping in her armchair, or staying up 'busying' herself with moving kitchen items into the bedroom. When I slept over I also noticed she would get up in the night wanting to use the loo, but would go in the corner of her room, rather than find the bathroom.

    I knew things wouldn't get better, but we were getting by.

    6 weeks ago Mum 'wandered' for the first time. Thankfully she came to no harm, but it was a shock and it panicked us. My sister (who lives close by to her) immediately said she wanted Mum to go in a home to be safe. I wanted to know the avenues we could take before this final step and suggested we get some advice.....

    Mum has been in a home for 5 weeks now. This is a place where my sister was 'recommended'. I didn't get an opportunity to look at the place before Mum went in. It was all done and dusted before I knew it. I held a family meeting the week-end before Mum went in, hoping to air my views, but they'd made their minds up and said it was on a months trial anyway, so I could look around other homes if I wanted. My daughter who lives 200 miles away, went on the web and downloaded care home reports for me to look at. I work full time, so I took a day's holiday and visited care homes local to me. One was full and had a long waiting list, others were not 'keypadded'.

    Mum has an attic room in this care home. There's a smell everytime I go in there. She has a commode, although she's not aware of its use, and the carpet's been taken up. There are 30 dementia residents in all, and 3-4 staff on duty when I've visited. I can only make one visit a week during the weekend and everytime I've been there, I accompany Mum to the loo and find she's not clean, so I tidy her and take her underwear home to wash. I told my sister of this, who advised the manager and was on to this. The staff seem really nice, but due to the ratio of staff and residents, I know they can't always make sure Mum's personal care needs are met.

    I'm sorry to go on, but my brother's rang me tonight. Mum's house is up for sale tomorrow, the rubbish from her house is being taken to the tip on Thursday, Oh, Mum was upset for the first time today - she didn't want to pack her bags, and Mum's wrist was swollen so my sister took her to the hospital for an x-ray and she has a hairline fracture! I was told of this news in that order.

    I told my brother how I felt about the way things had been done, so hurriedly. I told him of my concerns for Mum and we had words. He put the phone down on me.

    I feel it's them against me and I'm at my wits end wondering what to do. I have looked at another care home last week. I told my sister to take a look - she's reported it's like solitary confinement (there are 12 dementia residents, everything on ground floor) - not as busy as the one Mum's in.

    What can I do?? I find it hard to sleep at night thinking of Mum in that small bedroom at the top of the house, let alone her led there tonight with a cast on her wrist. The first broken bone she's ever had!
     
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,584
    Kent
    Hi Maudy Plum

    Firstly, welcome to TP.

    There are many members here who have family conflict to contend with as well as the worries about parents suffering with dementia, so I`m sure you`ll get lots of support.

    If you are not happy with the home your family have found for your mother, I`m sure you could contact Social Services and ask for their support.

    Do any of the family members who have made these arrangements have an Enduring Power of Attorney? If so, that gives them more say in her care. But if not, you should all have equality, as her children.

    I`m sorry I can`t think of anything else to help you. I wish I could, you sound so worried. I do hope someone comes online soon with better suggestions.
     
  3. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    10,824
    london
    Sounds like a better home then she is now , but it seem in how to convince the rest of your family , sure someone else will pop in with good advice
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Maudy Plum

    it's a conundrum isn't it?

    It is best not to judge care homes as if they were holiday hotels, as social places.

    In my experience, the person with dementia may like to see a few people about, but generally they will prefer to be doing what they want to do - walking about, rearranging furniture, just sitting. It is very rare that one sees two residents conversing, because they will generally be at different stages of dementia, and they just won't understand each other.

    The key things are the quality of care, the quality of the buildings and staff, the effort staff put into maintaining some sort of social atmosphere, the safety and security of residents.

    The way to get staff ensuring the level of care is best is for someone to visit regularly, and at different times, if possible. Then to point out - in a nice way [at first] that this or that has not been done - personal cleanliness and state of bedroom being major things.

    As to family.... all too often they are more of a challenge than the person who has dementia because they all have their own lives and challenges, their own agendas, and their own pain and ways to manage it. Can't help there, though others may be able to suggest something.

    best wishes
     
  5. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Maudy Plum

    I can only speak of my own experience of care homes.

    Mum moved to the NH last September. My brother and I looked at plenty. Oh my goodness, we saw some really horrible places along the way. Bottom line is, I feel, you have to go with your gut feeling on a NH.

    To give you a comparison: the one we settled on is a big home, however, the home is slit into separate units. Each unit is self contained. On mum’s unit, sixteen residents in total. During each ‘shift’ 1 qualified member of staff, and three HCA’s and 1 domestic, Each unit has its own chief with full kitchen and staff.

    All residents have their own bedrooms, with seperate toilet/wash hand basic. The NH actively encouraged us to take as much of mum’s furniture that we could cram in, and oh boy, did we cram it in. We took as much of her home as we possible could, furniture, including her bed, t.v. wardrobes, pictures on the walls, etc. etc all except for chunky sofas, dining suit and kitchen equipment, it looks like mums old home.

    Each resident is weighed every week, their dietary requirements is discussed each week at the staff meeting with the chef. Three cooked meals a day, and snacks in between. Tea and coffee is ‘on tap’ all the time.

    There is a t.v. room, in this room the chairs are all facing the t.v. Another sitting room the chairs are placed in small groups, in the third, a very large room, this is well equipped for relatives visiting with children, plenty of toys etc. around to occupy bored children! There is also a completely off Units coffee shop where you can go with your relative and make your own tea/coffee.

    Activities are organised every afternoon, residents are encouraged to join in, old time dancing, singing, bingo, a knitting group, poor mum cannot remember what she had for breakfast, but she does remember how to knit. All very suitable to the age and capabilities of the residents, those residents who have ‘forgotten’ how to, are helped along the way. They all especially love the ball room dancing and the music. Every fortnight in small groups (1 to 1) they have a trip out, be it to a park to feed the ducks, or just for a ride and a cuppa somewhere.

    The NH also has a small hairdressing salon and a visiting hair dresser who comes in once a week, gosh mum looks a treat after a ‘bit of a do’.

    Mum has made a ‘friend’ there who is roughly at the same stage of AD as mum, they tell each other the same stories over and over again, however, due to their memory loss, each time is like the first time of telling!!!

    I think I’m right in saying that before you put mum’s home up for sale, you have 12 weeks to make up your mind. The quest for finding the right home is, I think, a soul destroying task, not just the practical, but for the family on the emotional front also.

    I have given you so much detail so that you know there are good NH’s out there, when we were looking, I did ask myself the question, ‘given the circumstances could I live here’, if the answer is no, then keep looking.

    On the ‘family’ front, I don’t really know what to say, except maybe ask them the question, would you be happy to live there! All you want to do its find the right home for your mum.

    Best wishes in your quest.

    Cate
     

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