I don't want my Mum to relocate :(

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Ellouise, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Ellouise

    Ellouise Registered User

    Dec 12, 2015

    My name is Ellouise and I joined Talking Point today.

    My question is simply this: is anyone able to offer any thoughts and advice on whether it is generally a good idea to relocate an elderly dementa-suffering relative to live near another family member (in my case, a sibling) when there is, in my opinion, no need to uproot if things are going satisfactorily?

    Briefly, having successfully cared for my mother for the past few years since my father died very suddenly (she hasn't been living with us since we live in a tiny rented house so for practical reasons it is out of the question) she was, sadly, diagnosed with mixed dementia back in the summer. We are already at the stage whereby Mum finds it hard to recognise familiar faces - even, at times, mine, despite the fact that I try to visit her every other day. Unfortunately the care home where she has been living so happily for the past three years has had to make the difficult decision to admit that they can no longer cope with her needs (Mum has other health and mobility issues in addition to the dementia) so we are currently looking around for a suitable nursing home (EEEK!!! ££££s).

    At the risk of sounding "up myself" (!), and though I do say so myself, I've done a pretty fair job of keeping Mum happy and secure through what has sometimes been a very difficult time, something that my family has always acknowledged and been very grateful for. Mum is a lovely person and she and I have always been extremely close, even more so since Dad passed away. She can be stubborn at times, of course, but she has never caused us any stress to speak of. We have what I would call a good routine.

    And now - completely out of the blue - my two elder siblings have suggested that "the time is now right" for my husband and I to "take a break" and for Mum to be moved closer to them (we are talking about over 300 miles away up country). Now whilst I appreciate their concerns for my welfare, I just wasn't prepared for this scenario. In a nutshell, I don't want Mum to move away, not just because I would miss her dreadfully, but also because I feel it would be a very bad idea to uproot her from her familiar surroundings at this stage. Mum's 90th birthday was just last week and I think it's a crazy idea to even consider relocating her. Unfortunately Mum's dementia is now such that she isn't in a position to make a decision for herself.

    My sisters' argument is that, if Mum were to relocate, there would be more family members to 'share the load', including her two young great-granddaughters. My sisters believe that being surrounded by young visitors may help to stimulate her and would make her feel 'less isolated'....Now in theory I can see their point. However, to play Devil's Advocate for a minute, my worries are that it wouldn't take long for the novelty of having Granny living nearby would wear off pretty quickly and these anticipated visits may well dwindle. They haven't seen Mum on one of her 'bad days', and to be honest I'm afraid that the tears and the wailing may upset the two little great-granddaughters. So many 'ifs and buts'.

    And now I am beginning to feel as if I am being emotionally blackmailed (e.g. "You have had Mum living nearby for years - it's our turn to be able to see her on a more regular basis..." etc, etc...) I never dreamed in a million years that this would happen and I'm still feeling pretty shocked. They are making me feel selfish now, which is ridiculous!

    Any ideas, please? x
  2. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    #2 jaymor, Dec 12, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2015
    Welcome to Talking Point Ellouise.

    You are right to be concerned. Your Mum is as settled as she can be. Changes are very upsetting for most people when dementia is there. Moving to somewhere unfamiliar and to be surrounded by people who are also unfamiliar is not in your Mum's best interests.

    I had known my husband and been married to him for 45 years, living in the same house for our whole married life and he lost me as his wife and our home was not his home.

    He was familiar with the house, a bit like when you are on holiday, you find your way around the hotel but it is not home and it could be frightening for your Mum. Moving your Mum will not help her at all nothing at all will be familiar.

    What happens with your Mum has to be done in her best interests and not because someone thinks she needs more involvement with other family members. 300 hundred miles is along way for her to travel, not understanding what is going on.

    I am sure any professionals involved in your Mum's care will say the same.

    Your Mum is lucky to have you looking after her.
  3. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    I would think that the fact that your Mum is facing a move from her familiar care home to a different one is more than enough change for her to cope with.
    For her to lose your regular visits and the familiarity of you on top of that would in my opinion be unnecessarily disruptive for her. Your other siblings and their families love her, but she will not be as familiar with them as she is with you, and I agree with all you say about visits from youngsters. There comes a stage where what may be seen as positive can in fact be negative.
    I would keep her near you. The change of care home is enough for her to cope with.
    Good luck with finding a nice care home for her.
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    Have the youngsters even be asked whether they want to visit their nanny or is their mother just taking it as a given? From my experience, a lot of young people have other priorities. This sounds like a case of misdirected guilt to me. Your Mum is best off where she is now, and if they really want to visit her more, they can make it happen whatever the distance.
  5. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    To me the alarm bells started ringing at £££ and up country. Do they think it will be cheaper nearer them? Moving her away from you could mean her deterioration is much faster resulting in higher care costs rather than lower.

    I lost Mum very recently and even though she had thought me her Mum or that woman who visits me she did have some idea of having seen me somewhere before.

    I would get your Mum assessed to see if she is at risk if moved so far away from the one person she regularly knows and relies on.
  6. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    West Midlands
    My sister thought it a good idea to move mum closer to all the family so they could visit easily and to "give me a break"

    I was driving 1 1/2 hrs to mums house, the move meant I ended up having to do minimum 2 hour journey to visit mum. The rest of the family??? 2 months they lasted with their intentions....

    Silver lining.... Mums care home is excellent.

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  7. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    As someone who has lived 200 mls from my MIL for the last twenty years, I thought I would give the other point of view.

    I would have been very happy to have her moved to a CH near us last year, but it was obvious that whereas we are prepared to travel down there regularly, booking a hotel if necessary, my younger SIL would have been horrified at doing the journey herself.

    "It's so far" she once said, explaining why she couldn't possibly attend my daughter's wedding.

    WE KNOW. :mad: We've just spent three and a half hours in the car. And it'll be the same going back.

    So give them a break and and least discuss it objectively and amicably. Your mum is moving CH anyway so other than the journey, that's not a big issue really. Maybe research possible options at both ends and then decide on the best for your mum.
  8. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    Would just say that, other considerations apart, we had to move an aunt from an 'ordinary' residential home to a specialist dementia after her behaviour started to bother the non-dementia residents. We were very worried about how she'd react, particularly since she could be on the stroppy side, but in fact she settled very well and quickly.
    The new home was lovely and that fact that it was specifically geared up for dementia probably did make a difference.
  9. Ellouise

    Ellouise Registered User

    Dec 12, 2015
    Dear All,

    Thank you so much for your respective comments which I have found very helpful and interesting to read.

    To be fair, I think that my sisters do have my best interests at heart but they have been somewhat tactless in the way they have gone about things. I feel I should mention that my niece and nephew and their families are in their thirties so hopefully they would want to visit often but I still think that the novelty would wear off sooner or later as they all lead very busy lives.

    The two great-granddaughters are aged 3 years and 8 months respectively and whilst I agree it is a lovely idea in principle for Mum to have the opportunity to spend more time with them I still maintain that her sometimes-erratic behaviour could frighten them. That's not how I would want the girls to remember their Great Granny and I'm not convinced that my sisters have thought this whole thing through. Just for the record, my sisters and I haven't fallen out (yet...!) and things are reasonably amicable at the moment but I can sense that they are becoming frustrated by the fact that I am sticking to my guns on this.

    Chemmy, I welcome your contribution. One of the reasons I began the thread was in order for people to present different viewpoints. In my case, the travelling side of things isn't an issue since I'm aware of the amount of time my sisters have spent in coming down here to visit over the past five years. The irony, I guess, is the fact that my husband and I moved from our former home - which was forty miles away - in order to be closer to Mum after Dad died.

    2jays, thank you for your reply. It sounds as though we are both experiencing similar situations and proves my point that relocating Mum so that she can be "surrounded by more family members" is a risky business and in reality may well not be played out in the long run. x
  10. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    Can I just add that your sisters are likely to have experienced very different visits to yours.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'd guess that, living locally, you have adopted the 'little and often' approach, which is ideal for a person with dementia, as you can leave whenever it becomes apparent that they've had enough for the day.

    However, when you've invested a great deal of time travelling, staying for just an hour or so seems to make the trip pretty pointless. If they are anything like us, it's easy to spend 3-4 hours or more in the home, which can be stressful on both parties, especially if conversation is one-sided, or they're simply having a bad day. Maybe they feel it's time they enjoyed a more relaxed relationship with their mum too.

    To me the quality of the new home is paramount in the decision. Even if she received a visit for an hour every day, your mum would still be under the care of the CH staff for the other 23. Getting that right is perhaps the key.

    I'm just playing Devil's advocate here, by the way. It's never that clear cut, is it, and I wish you all well whatever you decide.
  11. Ellouise

    Ellouise Registered User

    Dec 12, 2015
    Hi -

    Yes, you're right about the "little and often" approach, although obviously there are times when Mum spends the day with us when most of her time is spent fast asleep, bless her!

    You're right in saying that it's the quality of the care home that is paramount - and therein lies another problem in the sense that both my sisters and myself have all found nursing homes that look equally suitable!

    How can I know that Mum wouldn't be aware that I was no longer around? I know I'm not indispensible, but the fact is that Mum and I have always got on really well (not just since my Dad died). We share the same interests and sense of humour and ironically it is my sisters who have always said to me "Thank God Mum has you to cheer her up.."!! One of my sisters has had frequent clashes with Mum in the past and is extremely impatient with her, as is her husband.

    It's all such a worry :(
  12. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    My MIL has never met her great-grandchildren because of the distances involved. We decided it was unacceptable to strap a toddler or baby for a seven plus hour car journey just so she could see them for an hour or so.

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