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Making Separation Comfortable

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by HughHere, May 11, 2015.

  1. HughHere

    HughHere Registered User

    May 11, 2015

    First post here and only starting to scratch the surface of how to care for my grandfather (who has dementia) and my grandmother (who does not).

    She has been caring for him for over two years now at their home. Sadly a few weeks ago she became unwell and was taken to hospital. He was taken in to a home and we now seem to have crossed the threshold where he is going to be there permanently despite her returning home. I'm only able to visit sporadically but the rest of my family believe that he has deteriorated too much, and my grandmother shouldn't be put under the strain again.

    It's incredibly distressing for her and she has only been able to see him in the last few weeks having left hospital her self. She wants to visit him everyday and doesn't want to leave each time. I feel very hurt and upset that he isn't allowed to just go home (in my eyes far better that they spend their short time together than pine away for each other in separation). I don't think there's anything I can do to change that situation but I would like to try and give them some sort of relationship and dignity back.

    Does anyone have any experience in this field? I really don't know as much as I should but are there supported options for them to get some privacy; i.e. hospices where they can both stay, does anyone have experience of the sufferer going home for weekends, taking them out to lunch and allowing the couple some privacy for a few hours?

    Thoughts / suggestions / prior experience all welcome...

    Thank you,

  2. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Wigan, Lancs
    Hi Hugh and welcome to Talking Point.

    What does your grandmother feel about having your grandfather home? Does she feel that with more help (e.g. from professional carers) that she could manage him? You don't say what help, if any, she was getting before.

    There are care homes which accept couples (many have double rooms) - how would your grandmother feel about moving into residential care herself? It's likely that even if your grandmother knows she can no longer cope with your grandfather's care that she feels guilty about him entering residential care. Even if she knows this is for the best it will be incredibly difficult for her.

    Most care homes will have no limits on when and how often your grandmother can vist your grandfather (unlike a hospital where there are set visiting times) and will be happy for her to help him with things like eating, if he needs help.
  3. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello Hugh :)

    Looking after someone with dementia is extremely tiring especially as lots of them are far worse at night, leading to lack of sleep. That is also at a time when no-one sees them, so its easy to underestimate the symptoms. Your grandmother may have been struggling for some time to look after him, but not wanted to say anything.

    Guilt is a big factor in a carers life - you feel you aught to be able to do everything and if you need help, then you feel like you have somehow failed, even though you have tried to do your best and there is no need for guilt. Im sure your grandmother is feeling guilty and feels she just wants to take him home and make everything better, but may not be the best thing for either of them.

    My mum is in a care home and it has been the best thing for her as she is now looked after by people who are not worn-out or stressed and she has people constantly around who do not have to do other things like cooking, washing and cleaning - they are there for her needs. I can visit whenever I like and I can take her out for a couple of hours (she cant cope with more) and push her around a park, a garden centre, or along the sea-front. I feel it has given me back my relationship with her as before she went in I was just so worried about her all the time.

    But all of this takes time - both your grandmother and grandfather need to adjust to the new situation.
  4. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    Hello Hugh and welcome from me too.

    My husband is in nursing care and the home has become my second home. I can go any time I want and stay as long as I want. I go mid morning and stay until early afternoon. At lunch time I feed my husband and the staff are grateful for the help I give.

    12 months ago I was staying all day because my husband was so poorly and again it was no problem, infact I was looked after as well as my husband was. Care homes aren't hospitals and your Grandmother will be welcomed.

    For privacy they can sit in your Granddads room, if he has a tv they can watch that,watch a DVD or listen to the radio. Just sitting together reading is like being at home. When they want company they can sit in the lounge and if there is a garden then how nice to sit in the sun on a warm day.

    If my husband is napping I help wash up or make tea for the carers, I kind of do what I want and I feel I give a little back to the carers and I am doing something as I would at home.

    It is a different life and takes a while to adjust but if your Granfather has deteriorated then it will be better for the care she gives your Grandfather to be the nice care, the sitting with, talking to etc and not the not so nice care that we all have to do. Quality time is what they need now and they can have that with the carers at the home taking care of everything else.

    Take care and help your Granmother to accept the changes because her health and wellbeing matters too.
  5. HughHere

    HughHere Registered User

    May 11, 2015
    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for the message and sorry for the delay in replying. She was receiving some help prior to the incident but it was just once a day during the week. She said to me after the incident that she felt she just needed a bit more support at home, upping to twice a day visits.

    You make a lot of valid points above and have certainly give me plenty to think about in terms of next steps.

    I think the key is that at the moment they've gone from a situation of being together constantly for a lifetime to now being totally separated. I worry about her ability to carry on without him having more of a role in her life.
  6. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    This is a tough one, Hugh. When it was decided that my Dad needed permanent nursing home care, my Mum went with him as she had many health difficulties of her own - Parkinsons, mild cognitive impairment. They have been together since my Mum was 21 and couldn't bear to be apart. They are both happier together and are getting excellent care. Do check out nursing homes that will take couples - it's not that unusual anymore.

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