How can I get them to visit?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by lgd, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. lgd

    lgd Registered User

    Jul 24, 2015
    2
    Hello all!

    I would really like some advice on the subject of getting my partner and his brother (both in their 20s) to go and visit their grandfather, who has Alzheimer's.

    I am an activities co-ordinator in a care home for residents with dementia, and while it can be hard at times to understand their world, the two questions that are most clear and fervent are 'when am I going home?' and 'when am I seeing my family?'.

    It breaks my heart that these young men won't go to visit their grandfather to bring him much-needed company and reassurance, and it angers me that they don't seem to appreciate him. I myself only knew one grandparent, and I would give my life to allow her one more minute of hers.

    Has anyone had any experience with getting young people more involved? They have plenty of free time, and I don't want to push or pry too much, but I was considering that perhaps their reluctance is down to them wanting to avoid a sad or hurtful experience.
     
  2. daisydi

    daisydi Registered User

    Feb 25, 2015
    257
    Norfolk
    I'm having the same problem with my mum's grandchildren who she was very very close to and was so involved in their upbringing especially after their mother, my sister was tragically killed 12 years ago. I did get one of them to come and see my mum in the care home and I think it made her feel better but it took a lot of persuading as she was so very sad and couldn't face the situation of her nan in a care home. I told her my mum was happy and content in the home and it would make her feel so much better to see her, especially as she was only going to get worse. My mum was very happy to see her and kept saying that it was so nice that she had come and reminded her of my sister. She said it made her feel so good being called nan again. She got a little bit of her identity back and it made her happy. I am working on the others but they just cant face her but I keep saying that they will regret not coming to see her especially as she will still know them now but I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to say that. My niece did say that she was so pleased that she had seen her nan and would come back regularly, that was in March!
     
  3. sistermillicent

    sistermillicent Registered User

    Jan 30, 2009
    2,951
    I;m afraid this is entirely their choice, I never went to see my grandmother with ad and I don't regret it, surprisingly. Yet I have done loads of caring for my mum - the thought of not doing this is simply not an option... One of my children visits, the other two do not. I have never suggested they should go. My mother would not have been bothered by this, she found it difficult seeing them as she got older and asked me to go on my own.

    Perhaps it is just the way different families work.
     
  4. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    4,662
    Salford
    Hi Igd, welcome to TP
    I think plaiting fog whilst riding a unicorn round the deck of the Marie Celeste is about as easy as getting someone to visit that doesn't want to:)
    We've discussed the reasons why people feel unable to do it before and it's complicated. Can anyone explain why some people are afraid of spiders, mice, flying, snakes or heights? They're all irrational, I used to go climbing, my daughter had a snake, I quite like spiders and mice too and I love being on an aeroplane but can I get that across when someone has a phobia, not a hope. It would seem that to some the fear of the old with or without dementia is for them as real as any other phobia.
    To get them to overcome the fear is as difficult as me getting an arachnophobic to pick up a spider or someone with vertigo to climb a ladder. If you have a phobia what would you need to overcome it?
    You can as Daisy suggest play on their heartstrings by explain how much it means to the person concerned and that probably is the best answer guilt may be the best motivator but they have to do it because they want or are persuaded to you can't and shouldn't make them, if they can't do it you have to respect that.
    K
     
  5. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    526
    British Isles
    Hi lgd - just wondering if you could persuade your partner that you would like to meet his grandfather and ask him to take you to visit. If he is just scared of how he would cope with any unusual behaviour due to his grandfather's dementia then your presence should reassure him.

    If your partner and his brother never had a close relationship with their grandfather when they were younger then perhaps it is too late to build one now.

    Hope you are finding your work fulfilling and that you can see a difference in the quality of life of those you help to care for.
     
  6. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    I don't encourage my son (only grandchild ) to visit my mother at all. I visit mum regular but am now down to two visits a week maximum. Mum is calmer with fewer interruptions in her "world" Mum is double incontinent, her speech is very poor, she has no personal modesty at all, she can be quite aggressive . My mother ( not the shell with dementia ) would be adamant that he is not to see her like this. Mum did not encourage me to visit my grandmother, her mother, when she progressed with her dementia.
    I would much prefer he remembers the strict stern grandmother that he could twist around his little finger.
    This person is nothing like that .
     
  7. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,839
    Suffolk
    Some are happy to visit, some aren't. All you say is true, you'll regret it, etc. but it's not working. Why should they visit because we say so? I do hate the excuse, I can't bear to see them like this - we can't, either, but we don't have the choice.
    However. My OH has got to the stage where he doesn't recognize anybody, his speech is poor and he is, at the moment, bed bound. If his children don't want to visit I'm certainly not going to make them. I have enough on my mind without dealing with that, and I certainly do not encourage his grandchildren (13 - 22) to visit. Let them remember him as he was!
     
  8. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    #8 Pickles53, Jul 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
    Every family is different. None of the grandchildren (or my brother and sister) lived within a hundred miles of my mum or parents-in-law. We felt they were all adults and told them the truth about how things were, but we left it to them to decide when to visit. They all visited once or twice, knowing that each visit might be the last opportunity, but not when mum/MIL were in the last stages of dementia and didn't know or were able to communicate with anyone. I don't think any of them regrets their decision. I don't think I would want anyone to visit me just because they felt guilty.

    I don't feel staff in care homes can possibly know the whole family stories, so perhaps they should try not to judge if relatives don't visit often. Not every care home resident was a saint in earlier life (just like the rest of us). There are almost certainly good reasons why a resident can't go home, and there may also be good reasons why some relatives don't come. Indeed it seems that for some residents, there is more distress and anxiety when visitors are around.
     
  9. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,539
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    My thoughts are if they really wanted to, no matter what the excuse they would visit, come what may.
    Some people are stronger than others.
    Some people are afraid/anxious of the unknown.
    Some people want to remember the person as they were.

    No amount of cajoling, or guilt will make them visit, and in the meanwhile causes tension and bad feelings.
    When worst comes to worst they will have to deal with their own feelings.

    I have a half sister who wont visit Mum out of fear... but "wishes she could help"
    I have an Aunt who doesn't visit out of being "busy".... if she really wanted to she could make time. I mean if you can make time to visit your children/grandchildren you can make time to visit your sister??!!

    People and families are weird.
     
  10. Pear trees

    Pear trees Registered User

    Jan 25, 2015
    442
    My mother has 3 adult grandchildren whom she showed absolutely no interest in as they were growing up, and frequently slammed the door in their face when they did try to visit. She also has absolutely no interest in her 5 greatgrandchildren. She has always been self centred and self absorbed. She always resented any time I spent with my children and grandchildren, and would only attend weddings etc if she was the centre of attention! Not surprisingly they will not visit and I will not force them. Now she is a lonely old lady with a vicious tongue who complains about bring lonely but still slams the door on anyone who visits, me and carers alike.
     
  11. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    Thank you Peartrees for illustrating my point perfectly. It must be a very sad situation for you in the middle. I can only say that she is the loser as being a grandparent is enriching my life every day.
     
  12. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    1,432
    Hi Igd, i do sympathise. i visit Mum's nursing home 5 days a week and witness first hand how often residents ask for relatives and how much some of them really appreciate the rate visits they get. And that is a nursing home, not even a dementia home.

    I have experienced this with my sister, I find it very hard that she won't visit my Mum. However i would agree you can't make others do it and you might end up damaging your relatinship with your partner and brother if you keep on about it.

    I think the only way for you to get them to go is to go with them and maybe devise some activities that you can do with the grandad when you are there, eg, have a picnic in the grounds, play a game, watch a film together - whatever appeals. I think beyond the obvious reasons why people don't want to visit, sometimes they don't know how to 'be' around someone with dementia, so give them a hand, maybe?
     
  13. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    My adult children don't their visit their grandmother (my MIL) any more and I certainly don't think they should feel any guilt. She has shown no more than a passing interest in them for years and neither were ever her 'favourites'. I'm afraid it's a case of reaping what you sow and to be honest, I have very little sympathy.
     
  14. lgd

    lgd Registered User

    Jul 24, 2015
    2
    Thankyou all for your wonderful, and very enlightening replies!

    I had definitely not given enough thought to the possibility that they may not want to see their grandfather as a different person, or vice versa! Definitely not my place to push, rather to quietly encourage, which thankfully I can do now that I have some experience of running meaningful, enjoyable activities with residents and families in this position.
     

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