1. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    #1 Emily M, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    It has suddenly dawned on me that I have to let go. Mum went into a nursing home just over 2 weeks ago. I was there and she knew me then. I live a long way away so can’t visit regularly. “Ring her as much as you want,” said the manager.

    It is now 2 weeks since I last saw her. She had been wandering around at night so when I visited with my son and his family she was asleep. A small figure slumped on the sofa, head tilted backwards. I had never seen her look so old and wondered if she had slipped away. Even on her 80th birthday she looked so young. People thought she was very many years younger, always immaculately turned out; hair, clothes, make-up, very fit and active, no illnesses, not even a cold. Seven years on time has cruelly caught up with her. She looked every bit of her 87 years. How she would hate to see herself now. I reassured myself that she did look tidier and cleaner since the care home had been looking after her; a pretty lace blouse and black trousers. This is not very nice for young children to see I thought. “Great Nanny is asleep,” said little Amy. The innocence of youth; why did I worry about it upsetting her? I gently touched my mother’s arm. She stirred. “That’s a relief,” I thought. She opened her eyes briefly but seemed not to be aware of anything or anyone. The family went outside. No point staying if she is sleeping. I took some clothes up to her room. When I returned she was sipping a mug of hot chocolate. “I have to go now Mum. I have a long way to drive.” Hardly a response. What is going through her head? Is she happy or sad? How much is she aware of? I kissed her and left.

    I have tried speaking to her since my return home, but have not succeeded. Most times when I phoned she has been asleep. The last time I could hear the conversation and confusion in the background. “She wants to speak to one of the residents?” came the surprised voice. I thought I was being awkward and causing problems asking to speak to her. After a while I heard the nurse say, “Someone to speak to you.” I didn’t know why they couldn’t tell her it’s her daughter and say my name. “She doesn’t want to talk,” said the carer. “Tell her my name and say it’s her daughter,” I replied. She did as I asked. “She won’t take the phone. She’s in a bad mood today. Try again in 10 minutes.”

    I never phoned back. What’s the point? She didn’t know her husband, my step-father, when he visited the day before so why should she know me? The niggling feeling that she will know me as she has known me all my life. I feel like I am leaving her neglected in a home..... but she is not neglected as they are looking after her. This awful disease. A year ago she was still going for walks with us, laughing and enjoying life. Alright, she had Alzheimer's but then she just seemed eccentric and forgetful. What a decline. The person that I knew and loved has gone. It is time to let go.
  2. Blogg

    Blogg Registered User

    Jul 24, 2014
    I'm so sorry to read of your Mum's decline, it's so sad to watch the essence of the person disappear. Try to take comfort in the fact she was nicely dressed and remember the happier times you shared.
  3. daisydi

    daisydi Registered User

    Feb 25, 2015
    That's so sad. I am dreading the time when my mum forgets who I am even if she doesn't seem pleased to see me when I visit. I have a different mum too now who seems like a stranger to me but she is still my mum at the end of the day. Don't know what to suggest for you as I haven't reached that stage yet. I know my mum would never speak on the phone to me as she didnt really like it when she was well. Hopefully someone will be able to suggest something useful to you.
  4. Gigglemore

    Gigglemore Registered User

    Oct 18, 2013
    British Isles
    Hi Emily

    It must be so hard to manage when you are so far from your mum's nursing home, but a comfort to know that she is being well looked after.

    Please don't be upset that your mum wouldn't talk to you on the phone. My mum stopped using the phone while she was still at home with me even when she knew a close friend was calling and it was me trying to hand the phone to her. I had to convey mum's responses to whoever was phoning. There was something about speaking into the receiver that she could just no longer cope with, and it might be the same with your mum. A phone can't smile, can't hold your hand, can't kiss you.

    So sorry that you didn't get much response after making a long journey to visit her.
    Take care.
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Oh Emily, I feel for you.
    You both have to settle down to her being in a NH and a couple of weeks is far too short a time. :(

    Mum has been in a CH for about a year now. When she first went in in I could talk to her on the phone, but after a while I realised that she was talking into the phone rather than to me - she had lost the concept of what the phone was for and no longer knew that there was an actual person on the other end. I am looking after my husband and dont live very close so cannot visit as often as I would like. On the advice of someone on here (Im sorry I cant remember who) I regularly send a picture postcard to her which she can read over and over and Im told gives her a lot of pleasure.

    After your mum has settled down you may get more of a response from her, but please dont feel guilty if you cant get to see her often.
  6. Emily M

    Emily M Registered User

    Jan 20, 2015
    Thank you everyone for replying. Although it doesn't solve the problem (nothing will) it is nice to know that people are listening and are empathetic. It is just another phase that we all have to get used to. It seems like a good idea to send postcards Canary. I am not sure if she will be able to concentrate long enough to read them, but if a carer can do that for her and talk about the picture it may help. It will certainly help me because at least I will feel I am doing something.

    Emily M
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    You dont have to write a lot. I just say something simple like Im thinking of you and sending my love.
  8. JoshuaTree

    JoshuaTree Registered User

    Jan 2, 2010
    A good idea is to also include your photo when you've written it; a friend of my mums put a passport size photo of herself in my mums Birthday card and this was a great help to mum to remember who the card was from.
  9. susywestcountry

    susywestcountry Registered User

    May 17, 2015
    So sorry to hear about your mother's condition and you have my total sympathy. My mum has gone rapidly downhill in the last few months. When I visit her now she is invariably aggressive and shouts at us. She refuses to leave her room in the care home and stays in bed all day. It is no life for her and awful for all of us, having lost my father recently, so a double bereavement in a way. On my last visit she shouted at me, saying we had all gone away and left her and that my father (who died in March) never visits her as he has a new girlfriend. I feel guilty for wishing she wasn't here any more but I love my mother very much and have always got on well with her. I can't bear what has happened to her.
  10. Jesskle66

    Jesskle66 Registered User

    Jul 5, 2014
    Hi Emily, I am a couple of weeks further down the line than you, but the title of your post was one I could have written. My friend said to me to think of it as caring from a distance. What a distance. Not physical in my case, mum is only 25 mins away, but we hav gone from being best friends and closer than any mother and daughter I knew to her being violent and delusional with me.

    I have started sending postcards too, there is a great app which turns photos on your phone into postcards so I do it via that . You type in the address and message and it is sent really quickly.
  11. Raggedrobin

    Raggedrobin Registered User

    Jan 20, 2014
    Hi, so sorry about your situation. My Mum lost the understanding of the phone quite early on so I could never phone her, it is frustrating. She will still probably be very disorientated by the move, it is very early days, she may settle a bit in time.

    I understand the terrible grief that goes with letting go of the former person who was your mother but you can still give comfort to the person she has become.I agree that it is a good idea to send cards, little presents like a bar of chocolate or something, just anything. It doesn't matter that she doesn't know who they are from, they may still give her pleasure. When my Mum gets a card from someone she sticks it up or hides it somewhere and usually makes up in her own mind who it is from and what it says, but the point is it gives her pleasure.

    I know you said she is a long way away, but it is probably still worth visiting when you can. Even if she is asleep, you can talk to the staff about how she is doing and it keeps the care home on its toes to know there is someone keeping an eye on her. But mainly, so sorry, it is a hard reality to face.
  12. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Sometimes Emily, you just have to let go, remember the first time you took the kids to school and they went in, never looking back as they all went in through the gates or when they go to university and leave home for the first time they're not in your home anymore. if your mum is happy and well cared for in her new home then be happy for her. Don't beat yourself up about it she's well cared for you've done all you can and you're there for her.

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