how to explain going into respite

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by thompsonsom, Jul 25, 2004.

  1. thompsonsom

    thompsonsom Registered User

    Jul 4, 2004
    Hi All

    Can anyone advise me how i can start to explain to my mum in law that she will be going into respite for 10 days in september, I have tried saying she is going on an holiday but she just keeps saying she wont go without me, how i am going to be able to leave her without getting too upset. My husband can't do it as he can't deal with it and so leaves everything up to me as he thinks i am not so emotionally involved as she's not my mum but if she gets upset I will get upset.

    any ideas
  2. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    Sorry but you WILL get upset - and its because you care! Expect the worst and then hopefully things won't appear so bad on the day. Thats a bit of a downer isn't it but its another stage you have to face - keep reminding yourself why its happening.

    Have you had the experience of leaving a little one at nursery school for the first time? I remember working myself up for days beforehand, rehearsing it in my head over and over and then hitting the auto-pilot button when we set off in the car. All of the previous weeks efforts to plant positive thoughts into my little boys head about what the experience was going to be like probably got left at home. He wandered in there clutching my hand tightly with big eyes searching the room for some familiarity and having been brave enough to let go of me for a moment to meet the supervisor I made a run for it. I felt so sick as I glanced at the window to see the lady holding him up as he held his arms out towards me with tears streaming down his face but I knew I had to keep going so I smiled as brightly as I could, waved and blew a kiss and gave him the thumbs up sign - got in the car, drove away and proceeded to sob all the way to work. When I called back to collect him later I could have been forgiven for not believing the supervisor who insisted that as soon as I had gone from sight he had been fine. Fortunately a friend of mine was also helping out that morning and totally unaware of the tears we had both shed, innocently reported back to me just what a wonderful time he had had and how well he had adjusted.

    Now I'm not suggesting that Mum-in-Law is going to have a wonderful time but what you see when you leave and what actually happens when you've left may well not relate.

    When Dad had to go into respite we only had a couple of days to prepare ourselves mentally. We told him (honestly) that he had to spend a few days at the "hospital" while they sorted out his tablets. Mum visited every day and I almost every day. The days turned into weeks but at each visit we made positive sounds about getting better - little did we realise that his heart would suddenly fail him and he would never come home with us. However the experience was probably much harder for us than it was for him. The drive there and back got longer each day and sometimes he would sleep through our visit. Each time we would have to hit that auto-pilot switch when it was time to go repeating the same words as we parted, desperately wishing we could have been taking him with us but knowing he was in the right place and being cared for by some wonderful people.

    I haven't given you much to help prepare mum-in-law have I? Guess thats because its you who will need the strength. I would continue on the "holiday" story, planting little positive thoughts, perhaps even bending the truth a little to say that maybe they'll have a vacancy for you as well and you'll get to stay for a holiday!

    You can do it - you have to - for everyones sake. You WILL find the strength - you will have developed masses of it just to get you this far.

    Good luck
  3. cathy

    cathy Registered User

    Oct 16, 2003

    I have just been in the same psoition as you are, i dont know how bad your Mum's memory is but in our case we took Mum for a visit to the home one Sunday (even told her it was Friday) and we told her it was a "hospital" and they just wanted to check her thyroid out. ( I didn't realise how choked i would be when i left her just for the day) Then from the minute we collected her after her "1 day" visit we continually reminded her (she forgot every 5 mins) that she would maybe have to back to "hospital" for a week for further tests. I was still reminding her up to 5 mins before we left for the weeks respite. I packed her holdall when she was in bed and just carried it discreetly to the home on the day. Because she thought it was her own GP who said she had to go in she "kind of" accepted it as she really loves her GP.

    I have to admit we told her a pack of lies from start to finish but i couldn't think of another way to explain. I didn't want to mention the "home" word in case she felt rejected by us. I have to say she came back at the end of the week and within 24hrs had no idea she had been and seems to have forgotten the whole saga, unlike us who although got a physical rest for the week got no mental rest whatsoever because she was on my mind 24hrs a day.

    The staff were lovely, the home was lovely and i would have no "qualms" about her going on her next visit although i am sure she will again be on my mind 24 hours a day.

    I wonder if its guilt!! or is it because we are used to them being there 24 hours a day.

    Good Luck

  4. thompsonsom

    thompsonsom Registered User

    Jul 4, 2004
    Thank you for your advise, it is very helpful. mums memory is pretty bad and she forgets straight away what you have told her which is why it is hard to try to explain things. We are hoping to go on a much needed holiday whilst she is away as if not, i know i will be ringing up every day to see how she is. She has been going to day care 3 days a week and really enjoys it although she thinks she goes to work looking after the old people. We know she enjoys it as on the days when she doesnt go she asks when the bus is coming to collect her, which is good considering when she comes home at the end of the day within half an hour she can't even remember having been there and can't remember anything she has done whilst she is there. She will quite often tell she has been to london to visit her mum and dad who have been dead some 25 years and we live in Yorkshire.
    I will contact the home nearer the time to see if it is possible for her to spend a couple of hours there or the day as i think this would be very beneficial for us all.

    Thank you, Best wishes

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