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How to explain why a care home is the best option .

slapcabbage

Registered User
Mar 23, 2015
5
My sister,brother,and I are finding it very difficult to explain to our dear auntie who is 86 and has vascular dementia why moving into a home is the best option for her.

She has lived independently in her own little home for twenty plus years and has loved it.In the last year in particular she has shown a deterioration of her memory which has accelerated since the death of our lovely dad in April.Dad too had vascular dementia.She has also been leaving the house and forgetting where she is and where the shops are.She sometimes says that her house is not hers.She has periods of hyperactivity sometimes from late evening to 3 or 4am.We have been reviewing her medication to help to improve her sleeping patterns.She has periods of seeming completely lucid and normal very quickly alternating with periods of being utterly lost and confused-not knowing who she is or those around her.She often says how lonely she is even though in the last few weeks she has probably had more visitors than ever before ie friends of the family and from church and kind neighbours.She forgets these visits.

We have had a live-in carer with her for a few weeks now as my sister who lives 10 minutes walk away could not manage the situation any more.Our auntie has not really got on with the carer -of course finding it difficult to have a stranger living in her own house.The arrangement has certainly mean't she is safer and is a relief but there are still issues.My sister does a huge amount in terms of caring but also needs to work and is reaching breaking point.My brother and I also help in different ways but are unable to do more because of our personal circumstances ie work and location.

We love our auntie very much and would be very happy for her to be able to stay in her own home but unfortunately we feel it has come to a point where this is no longer sustainable or safe and a care home seems the only option.We have begun to broach the subject with her but we find it so difficult to know the right things to say.She has already said on several occasions that she does not want to go into a home and that she will not be 'banished'.She said last weekend that she loved her home and the village and surroundings and felt 'blessed'.It was almost as if she could sense what we are planning.She will then forget conversations that we have had and become lost.

Can anyone suggest how we go about explaining that a home is the best option for her. What words can we use that might convince her to at least try for a while?How do we ensure the minimum distress?

We feel guilty ,selfish,and very sad but we have to do this.

Please can anyone help?
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
885
High Peak
You're absolutely right of course - a care home would be the best/right choice for her now. The particular red flags I see are the wandering, not recognising her own house or knowing who she is and the nighttime activity/anxiety. You mention a live-in carer but does this person stay up all night to calm and reassure her? (Or maybe you have a day carer and a night carer - I don't know.)

However, you can try to explain to your Aunt till you are blue in the face. She will never agree to it, will always have a 'reason' why she can't go or just flatly refuse. Even if you think you've talked her round she will have forgotten later.

So a different approach is needed. Arrange for her to go into respite for a few weeks with a view to making it permanent. Don't tell your aunt. On the Big Day, just take her. Tell her you're going out for lunch or something she will accept. Have the care home staff ready to meet her - they will take her in, make a fuss of her, give her cake etc while you make your escape. When she objects (because she will) and says she wants to go home, you tell her the doctor wants her to stay here for a little while, but just till she's better. In other words, blame someone else and keep saying it.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,349
Welcome to the forum. My first thought is not to try and explain the care home move. If you wait for a person with dementia to agree with you or see your point of view, you will wait forever. She's never going to agree to it. Just arrange the home. Don't discuss it ,just organise it ,good advice from @Jaded'n'faded
 
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Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
16,652
66
Toronto, Canada
I also agree that there is no explaining that can be successfully done. I did not explain to my mother. She had been sectioned and when released, went straight from hospital to care home.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,391
South coast
People at that stage of dementia are unable to understand the reality of their situation and trying to explain things will not change this in the slightest.
There comes a time when you have to change from enabling their wants to implementing their needs and once it is no longer safe for them to stay in their home their needs take priority. At least you can feel that you have tried everything else.
 

slapcabbage

Registered User
Mar 23, 2015
5
Thank you all of you for your very helpful insights and advice/suggestions.It is somewhat reassuring to know that you have all faced similar difficulties and understand about the guilt.You have confirmed our thoughts that ultimately it is about being pragmatic,stepping back,and recognising my auntie's needs.

Very much appreciated.
 

BeardyD

Registered User
Jan 19, 2016
90
Does your chosen care home do daytime activities and allow day visits? We were very lucky to find a carehome that also did daycare so that my wife got to know everyone and referred to her trips as "going to see Mandy" (Mandy was her favourite activities organiser). Then one day she asked me if she could stay.

Having read other people's experiences I realise I was lucky beyond my wildest dreams, but maybe there is an answer in taking small steps.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,287
Thank you all of you for your very helpful insights and advice/suggestions.It is somewhat reassuring to know that you have all faced similar difficulties and understand about the guilt.You have confirmed our thoughts that ultimately it is about being pragmatic,stepping back,and recognising my auntie's needs.

Very much appreciated.
You're absolutely right, it is about doing what your auntie needs, rather than what she (thinks she) wants. She may settle quite well in a care home. My mother insisted she wanted to stay at home but there came a point where it was no longer safe. She moved to a care home 2.5 years ago and she's been very happy there. I said she was going on a weekend break...

Re @BeardyD's suggestion, I very much doubt that would be possible at the moment. Care homes will not allow people to go back and forth due to Covid. New residents will have to quarantine for the first fortnight.
 

slapcabbage

Registered User
Mar 23, 2015
5
You're absolutely right, it is about doing what your auntie needs, rather than what she (thinks she) wants. She may settle quite well in a care home. My mother insisted she wanted to stay at home but there came a point where it was no longer safe. She moved to a care home 2.5 years ago and she's been very happy there. I said she was going on a weekend break...

Re @BeardyD's suggestion, I very much doubt that would be possible at the moment. Care homes will not allow people to go back and forth due to Covid. New residents will have to quarantine for the first fortnight.
 

slapcabbage

Registered User
Mar 23, 2015
5
Thank you for these two replies-again very helpful.BeardyD-yes unfortunately there can't be any to'ing or fro'ing at present due to Covid which is a shame as this otherwise would be a great course of action!
We hope as you say about your mother Sirena,that our auntie will eventually get to enjoy in particular the company that she will have and the activities that they run........we do wish!!