I'm in shock - First visit to home to see Mum

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by iworry, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. iworry

    iworry Registered User

    Nov 4, 2013
    Today - with my family I went to see Mum in her new care home which she has been in for just over a week.

    I thought I had prepared myself for the worst but I was emotionally knocked over by how bad Mum was - frail, weight loss, she hadn't eaten or drunk for several days as well as no sleep - and this is a care home we are paying £1,000+ per week.

    Mum was in a mess. Begging to be taken home. We all felt terrible.

    Please tell me that this is 'normal' for the initial weeks.

    I said to my Dad - who had been caring for her over the past 10 years that she was doing alot better under his care at home which was ultimately taken away from him when he no longer could cope and police became involved when we could not stop her running away from home.

    The home seemed very passive about it all and only after we kicked up a stink about the situation that they then came running out into the car park as we were leaving saying a Doctor had been called to see her today.

    Is this right? I appreciate a huge amount of adjustment will be needed for mum but the home had not been able to get her to eat, drink, sleep or wash.

    I thought these people were supposed to be the experts!!!!!! :(:(
  2. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    The move for your Mother will have caused her a great deal of anxiety, this is normal, plus she must feel very uncertain of everything, again understandable. She has to get used to the carers as they have to get to know her.

    The staff can try, can encourage but they cannot force. If your Mother is refusing then they have to accept her decision. This of course does not mean they take no for an answer and leave it at that. They should be constantly trying and even trying a bit of bribery. My husband was always responsive to an offer of tea and a slice of cake once he had showered, shaved, dressed etc.

    It really is very early days and great that you are watching and communicating with the staff. Give them a little while to get to know your Mother and she to know them. Have you given the home some written information about your Mother's likes and dislikes or the way she likes to do things?.

    Hope it all settles soon for you.
  3. iworry

    iworry Registered User

    Nov 4, 2013
    They have a family history for conversation purposes - but not a like.dislike list. I'll keep that in mind. Thanks.
  4. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    From my limited experience, I'd say this seems normal. Hopefully it's worse for us (as family) than it is for them.
  5. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I do agree that the move is bound to have a big impact on her. This is probably one of the most difficult moves anyone makes in a life time and people express this upset in different ways - sometimes people are aggressive and sometimes they wander a lot and others can't manage to eat but not drinking anything is not good. Do the family live close enough to pop in and eat with her - or when you visit take something of her favourite food. Spending time with her having a cup of tea might help. She is probably feeling lost - new room, all new people that she has never met before, new routine which she probably simply doesn't understand. We would all be lost if we were dropped into a foreign country suddenly with no family or friends and if you add memory loss into the mix then life is hard work for her but as you start to visit she will almost certainly begin to settle down.

    I would only suggest that you keep a close eye on how the home are helping her to adjust. They can't force her to eat but they should be recording how much she eats and drinks and also there should be a weight chart. Are they sitting with her at meal times to encourage her to eat? Are they bringing activity type things to her to encourage her to communicate in whatever way she can? It is all good to let people settle but we all need reassurance that we are still loved and valued for whoever we are.

    likes and dislikes are a great start and perhaps you could give them a list of her past interests and write down for them what she did in her life and what was important to her and who the key people in her family are. If she has a keyworker (named carer) then perhaps you could give her a copy and this might make your mum feel comfortable that someone knows who she is. Even people with significant memory loss still have a core of 'me' and many respond quickly to people who throw them a connection. Perhaps some favourite photos or family pictures on her wall with little notes underneath of who is who and what their connection is so that the carers can pick up on it.

    Keep asking questions when you are worried, let the home know that you are still very involved and please dont be intimidated by 'experts' - I think the experts are the family. Good luck, keep posting, you will get lots of support on here xx
  6. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I week is very, very early days when moving to a care home - it takes several weeks to adjust. I suspect that the carers are playing softly, softly to try and get her to settle.
    There have been several threads on here from people whose parent/spouse wasnt settling in a CH, but as the thread has gone on that person has settled in, but I dont seem to be able to find them

    My mum is now in a CH. At the beginning it was difficult because I felt guilty at having to do it and it made everything seem so much worse. Once she settled down she became much happier and now she has put some weight back on, made friends, laughs and chatters and is a joy to visit. It has been the best thing for her.
  7. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    One other thing when visitibg is to be xareful to watch your facial expressions. Your mum can read these and will react. Its hard but a big happy smile when you see her, no matter what will set the tone. My mum settled within a couple of weeks. She is now healthiercand happier than she has been in years despite declining dementia. Best of luck and hope she eats and drinks soon.
  8. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    Oh yes, I agree. Assuming the persona of a Hi-di-hi yellow coat is helpful in these circumstances. :)
  9. Jesskle66

    Jesskle66 Registered User

    Jul 5, 2014
    I know you are feeling awful. It is really early days and if the police had to get involved you and your family have done the only thing you could for your mum's safety. That is what I tell myself when I have bad visits (today's was an almost identical experience to yours). The home will have seen it many, many times, and their definition of settling in will be very different to yours. I am not going to tell you it will get easier but you really have to hold onto the fact that you are doing the best for your mum (and dad).

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