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I don't trust myself any more ....

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
Finding the right care home

Dotty - that's all very useful information - thank you.

One good thing about mum being in a 'grotty' home for respite is that it's clear that I want certain 'standards' for her, even though she may not be aware. Dirty toilets and an obvious lack of cleaning after the last resident are appalling situations. So, if nothing else, it will help me focus down to a list of requirements. She must have people in the home who speak one of her languages (though she can speak English, she reverts to the others) and I want her to be able to see a blade of grass, as you say.

I've seen the secure facilities in the larger homes and it was clear that people are 'incarcerated' and never step out into fresh air. That's how it is where she is now - there is a bit of garden outside, but one of the carers said they can't use it as no staffing for the supervision!

Both of the homes I have her listed for have gardens and one has a 'follow on' nursing home next door. Currently, she does not need nursing. Whether she would use the gardens or not is debatable - but at least it's there. Only about a week ago I had her digging with a spade in the greenhouse and weeding in the garden, so she still wanted to participate. She also chatted to a robin who, bless him, perched on a pot beside her, so I want to be able to put some bird feeders outside her window (they have one stuck to the window at current place but, alas, it's empty of seed!).

I also considered paying for a carer to go in to support one to one, I had actually forgotten about that idea, but will add to the list. It may be a way of keeping some kind of continuity of people she has grown familiar with. I'm not sure if the care agency offer that service though, and whether the homes would accept it.

The current place seems like God's waiting room too - no one speaks - but there's my mum trying to get some kind of conversation out of them! Most of the other residents are far more advanced than mum. She's not ready for silence just yet. Fortunately, I've seen how some of the carers interact with the residents, so am confident that someone is conversing with her.

Live in carers would not work for me - I just can't get round someone living in my home like that.

I do hope I find somewhere nice, eventually. At least I've got a bit of time now to whittle down the key requirements.

Just booked myself into a hotel for Saturday night - so will have lunch with my friend and her partner, see their new home for the first time, no doubt have a few laughs, and then go and stay overnight down the road from them. I might book a massage for Sunday morning as they do have a spa!
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,616
South coast
Just booked myself into a hotel for Saturday night - so will have lunch with my friend and her partner, see their new home for the first time, no doubt have a few laughs, and then go and stay overnight down the road from them. I might book a massage for Sunday morning as they do have a spa!
Sounds like a good plan Marnie :D
 

dottyd

Registered User
Jan 22, 2011
1,064
n.e.
It is such a minefield. Mum doesn't have much conversation now...just a few words if you speak to her.

The agency carers are on top of the 6 other carers btw
I thought nh had bed bound people and it's not like that t all...unless they have and end of life unit I don't know. It just appears to be more carers and a nurse who can administer a calming cosh if things get out of hand I suppose. Otherwise I couldn't tell the difference between ch / Emily unit and nh .
 

Amy in the US

Registered User
Feb 28, 2015
4,617
USA
Marnie, book the massage! I swear that my massage therapist (whom I started seeing for a back injury/pain/headaches) is sometimes the only thing that keeps me sane, not to mention feeling reasonably okay physically.

I am sorry I am only just now commenting, but I am so glad you have gotten some help for yourself and are seeing some possible ways forward for your mother's care. I'm sorry the current facility is not up to scratch, but some of the others you describe sound like good possibilities.

In case it's of any use to you, or anyone else, the Alzheimer's Association has some information here about choosing a care home: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=150

Very best wishes to you, and I hope you have a lovely time with your friends this weekend. You deserve the rest and the treat. And book that massage!!
 

fizzie

Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
2,730
Marnie I just wanted to say that I think you are a star. I have just read your most recent posts and in spite of the huge stress you are under you are thinking so straight with your mum at the centre of all that you do. I am so delighted to hear that you have booked yourself a night away and I agree with others that a morning treat of some sort for yourself should be high on your agenda. Take care, enjoy and have a laugh - you sooooo deserve it x
 

Debbs3006

Registered User
May 23, 2016
27
Marnie

i've just been reading your posts, (coming in a bit late here) and my heart breaks for you and what you've been through in the last week. Stay strong and rest assured you are doing everything you can for mum. Its so hard to find a good CH. We found a lovely one for my mum, aged 90, but she is also on a waiting list at the moment. But she is going to day care and its working. She feels less anxious, has company and is cared for. Plus I can now go to work without getting tons of calls from her, which has helped me too. Don't feel guilty about putting yourself first. You need to stay sane and nurture yourself. Enjoy your weekend, you've definitely earned that "me time" Mum will be ok and you will feel better for the pampering
 

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
Choices

I realised this morning that I've reached a major crossroads with mum and need to make some very serious and challenging choices:-

Am I ready to hand over her care to someone else?
Am I prepared to risk her living full time in a place which will potentially have the issues I have encountered in her respite care home?
Am I prepared to have her go a week without a proper wash?
Am I prepared to have her tell me that she was 'begging' for someone to wash her and was told they were too busy.
Am I ready to accept she may sit around all day, have no exercise, little stimulation and not see the outside world?
Do I want her to have a regular bout of diarrhea because she is fed cheap food as opposed to her current healthy diet?
Do I want her to sit in soiled pads, risking infection?
Do I want her to stay in a room for a week with rubbish falling out of the bins and soiled pads still there from 7 days ago?
Somewhere that regularly has no hot water?
Am I happy for her to look like a bag lady because they have started washing all her clothes on a high temp and they are already losing their shape after 7 days?
Struggling on and off the loo in her bathroom as they don't have a raised seat for her?
No light in the bathroom?
No pillowcase on the pillow - just a bit of fabric wrapped round it?
Visiting every day to see she's OK?

The answer to the first question is yes, but the answer to the others are all huge nos.

I have just updated Social Services with the continuing saga. I am going to view a day centre tomorrow morning.

The only redeeming point about that home is that I have built up a bit of a rapport with the care assistants, and I do believe they are going their best. I also believe the owners run the place on a shoestring to maximise their profits.

I will definitely be calling the CQC once she's out of there.

But, will I ever get a yes to all the other questions? I somehow doubt it.

I'm off into the garden to do some planting up, and mulling over!
 

jaymor

Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
12,769
England
From my experience of 4 years with my husband in a nursing home I can say yes Marnie you can get yeses to most of your questions. The problems don't exist.

The only one I will say no you won't is to the washing at high temperatures. This is a necessity, as you say soiled clothes are not healthy and can cause many not particularly nice infections so killing or near killing off everything is important. The price we pay for this is clothes not standing up to high temperatures.

As I replaced them I replaced with clothes that could take the wash. Sweaters and pure wool were no longer needed because the nursing home was always more than warm enough and he could infact wear cotton shirts all year round.

You could tell the home not to do the washing and you will be responsible but that would mean picking it up every day.

Don't get too despondent, there are good homes out there, you may see three before you see a good one and a dozen before you see the one that is right for you.

The home you describe is horrendous and I can see your concerns.
 
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AlsoConfused

Registered User
Sep 17, 2010
1,953
I'd echo what jaymor says too, Marnie. My Mum's had a better life since entering her nursing home (about 6 months ago) than she had for the last few years at home with my devoted, self-sacrificing but exhausted Dad.

Since entering her nursing home Mum is always clean and tidy, she eats and drinks well (and very much more willingly), she gets her medication regularly (she used to be a right devil about refusing it) and she finds life much more fun and much more relaxed.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
11,616
South coast
I know that this home is not the best, but you were sooooo close to the edge when she went in and the break has allowed you to pull back and regroup. So there has been some good.

There are good homes out there - you have mentioned some that seem good. Have you been to see them? No care home will be perfect - jaymor is right, the clothes have to be washed on a high temperature and the laundry is a constant bug-bear of mine! But many CHs will be good and your mum could settle in them happily. Dont worry if the decor is a bit shabby - so long as its clean its fine.
Try and put this bad CH out of your mum for a while and go and look at others - you may be pleasantly surprised
 

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
You are right Canary - it has at least allowed me to get some time back to recharge. I have viewed about ten care homes in total so far and only two have mum on the list, as they are the only ones where I can see mum going. I am viewing the day centre at one of them tomorrow.

I discovered yesterday that the shower fitment in her bath does not work, so will probably have to pop to a well known catalogue store to get one of those rubber hose attachments so I can at least shower her some days (bathing is hard as the bath has no adaptations, bar the grab rails, and mum cannot easily get out of the bath). There is SO much wrong with this place, I'm amazed it's been allowed to carry on. I mean - no light working in the bathroom - for a home for dementia suffers!! Unfortunately, I can't put it out of my mind until she's out!
 

Beate

Registered User
May 21, 2014
11,893
London
I know exactly what you mean Marnie. As yet I haven't found a care home that meets my standards and I've only looked for short-term respite, not for permanent care! Respite is off the cards for now until I find one I'm really happy with. None of them was as bad as the one you describe though, I have to admit.
 

LadyA

Registered User
Oct 19, 2009
13,563
Ireland
Marnie63 I always took William's clothes home to wash. And I sanitised them by using zoflora disinfectant (smells much better than regular!) in the washing machine and hitting the button to "pause " the wash cycle so the clothes rested for ten to fifteen minutes in the disinfectant solution. That way, you can continue to wash at the lower temperature.
 

looviloo

Registered User
May 3, 2015
463
Cheshire
Marnie, your list of requirements for a care home is not unreasonable and these things are available at the better homes. My dad's care home ticks all of those boxes I'm happy to say. No, it's not perfect but it is very, very good. Unlike the home that he spent two weeks in, between hospital and a permanent placement (I couldn't wait to get him out of there).

Dad's care home is small and family run, the food is fresh & excellent and there is plenty of outdoor space. It also costs less that a lot of other homes in the area. It's a case of looking for the 'best fit' - unfortunately I do have to travel an hour each way every time I visit, which is the main downside. But it's worth it to know he's being well cared for.

Please don't despair that all care homes are the same :). You and your mum are both doing brilliantly under very difficult circumstances. It takes time, but you're getting there x
 

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
Check the CQC ratings and report!

If anyone else is on the verge of putting their caree into respite please do check the CQC report on line. If I had done that quickly when SS had called to offer the place, I would never have taken mum there.

I'm off to see her again in a sec. God only knows what I'll discover today. Thank God she has a strong constitution!
 

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
Really Kassy?! Oh, that's worrying. Of course I would visit anything I considered for mum. In fact, I am visiting (unannounced) before I even check CQC reports.

I guess my line of thinking was that it's worth a check - in this case the findings of the report, and the CQC's ratings are spot in, and had I seen the low marks, I would not have taken mum there.

This whole thing is a bl**dy minefield!
 

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
I'm in a very dark place tonight. Mum was lovely and lucid last night - tonight she was so confused again and was crying a lot (she hasn't cried much before). Then she started insisting that she didn't want to spend another night there and that I would end up leaving again without taking her home with me. I know it's the dementia talking, but it's so, so hard. I got very upset tonight and starting getting that feeling I know so well - I could feel another meltdown coming on, but I managed to hold it together. Then one of the care assistants came in to give mum her pills, looked a bit awkward, and then said that the manager didn't want me to stay too late with mum. I asked if I had upset the manager in some way (!) and she said no, but that I might upset the other residents if I stay late. She said they didn't want me to stay beyond 8pm. There was no hot water again tonight and the dirty stuff was still in the bathroom bin (8 days now). I wonder if they are starting to get annoyed with me because I am questioning things?

I came home and called the Samaritans, I felt so low. Have never done that before in my life.

The only thing I can think of now is to stay away for a good few days - if I don't see her, or that blasted home, then maybe I won't get so upset.

I can't bring her home, as I can't cope (will need a good week's notice to set up the home carers again).

I have no idea what to do ....
 

MollyD

Registered User
Mar 27, 2016
1,696
Ireland
Oh, Marnie. For tonight do nothing. Don't even try not to worry. Just let yourself be whatever way you are.
 

Marnie63

Registered User
Dec 26, 2015
1,628
Hampshire
I feel slightly better this morning, but didn't sleep too well. Just called and apparently mum settled fine after I left and slept OK last night (she probably forgot about my visit straight away!). I am planning to stay away for a few days - probably better for me and for mum.