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Mum can move to care home on next Wednesday.to

Katrad

New member
Apr 29, 2020
9
My 88 year old mum lives in bungalow two doors up from my sister (who works full-time). She has lived there for about two years, since she moved there with my dad from the family home they had lived in since 1986.
My dad died on Monday 13 April, he was 88 and his health had been deteriorating quite dramatically for the past three years. My mum got a formal diagnosis for Alzheimer's not long after they moved in (about two years ago). Mum and Dad seemed to cope okay, with support from my sister, also my brothers and I would come for the weekend or longer at least once a month. Mum would go to a lunch club (day care) twice a week . He and my mum had managed quite well as a unit, we would never really speak about the Alzheimer's or dad's condition to Mum - if you ever tried to broach the subject, they would avoid talking about it, not see the relevance with their situation or just get distressed; so we would just take the easy option.

Anyway, since Dad died, between myself and my siblings, we have been supporting mum in her own home, staying with her and giving her 24 hour care, but we've come to the end of this being tenable.

Mum struggles to be alone, if I go into the garden or the garage and she call's out for me, she can't settle until she's found me, getting more and more agitated. She settled beautifully to hemming my trousers earlier today, but now she has finished that task I can see and hear her working herself up because she is not being occupied. I could suggest doing a jigsaw or colouring in, but it only occupies her if I sit with her. I've reminded her that she wanted to do some knitting today and she's made positive moves towards getting on with it (it doesn't always capture her attention).

At some point during the day she'll say that dad'll be getting in from work soon, or mention that he's still out and wonder what time he'll be getting back, she'll eventually ask if I've seen dad lately, can we get in contact him - maybe ring the base or the mess to get a message to him (he was in the Air Force) so I'll murmur agreements or exclaim I'm not sure until I'm ready to gently break the news about what the situation actually is (Dad died 11 weeks ago, you were with him, he was cremated, yes that was what he wanted) She'll will get upset (or sometimes not so much - being more stoical about fate and that's life, etc), before asking if she's got my sister's telephone number - so she can ask her if she knows how to contact Dad. When she starts to grasp that dad won't be coming back she'll decide that she won't stay here - she'll go back home and stay with her mum. This goes on and on in a big loop, I try to be as honest and consistent as possible in my answers.

In moments of clarity she'll ask what is she to do now, so I'll talk to her about how the current set up (with us staying with her permanently) isn't sustainable long term, that she needs 24 hour support and more stimulation and focus than we can give her and we all need to consider the next step...

She doesn't think that she needs more care, that she can manage in her home and when I try to explain about her short term memory issues, that she won't cook for herself or take her medication she won't have it that she has a problem - and asks for proof - which I can give her - but of course she can't really remember any of the incidents I talk about. To be honest incidents only really happen once because we've created such a safety net that we're ready and prepared for the next time (e.g. locking the front door and hiding the key when I'm in the garden in case I don't hear her calling out for me and she goes into the street looking for me) I wonder if we've done her any favours, we're so worried about her getting distressed.

Anyway, I've been trying to convey a full picture - but of course, so much more happens around this condition within a domestic setting; the point I am trying to get to is that she has been offered a place in a residential care home - my sister and I will take her there on Wednesday of this week.

We know it's the right time and the right move for her but we haven't prepared her for it. When I mention it's the next step she'll say it's not right for her, or she'll think about it. When she softened towards the idea of it she started to get agitated at the thought of another move ( she's moved about twenty times throughout her married life but only once in the last thirty years).

I'm dreading Wednesday, I've furtively removed some of her clothes to my sisters for her to pack. I'm making mental notes about pictures and favoured items that she might like to have with her.

We thought we'd tell mum on the morning that I've been called back to work urgently, one brother has genuinely returned to work and we'll say our other one has something to stop him coming back stay with her. We hope to present the stay at the residential home as respite care and an opportunity for her to have a holiday - the home is quite new and well presented and she'll have en suite facilities, so it might give the impression of it being a hotel. Unfortunately because of this COVID situation we can't even visit beforehand or be with her as we've dropped her off - and who knows when we will be able to see her and give her a hug again.

I'm so worried that this is the wrong thing to do - that I will regret our decision - that mum will be distressed and think we've abandoned her - now is my last chance to put the brakes on and live with the consequences of being away from my family on a more longterm basis.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,161
Yorkshire
hi @Katrad
it's never an easy decision to move a parent to residential care so it's understandable that you will have 'second thoughts' and wonder about 'what if'
you know it's time to at least try this, and have the backing of your family … and you've done so well by your mum all along
maybe it will help you yourself if you think of this as respite 'for a while', so it doesn't seem so final and gives you a chance to see how things go … if in your mind it's almost a long holiday, you may be able to deal with not visiting until restrictions are lifted further
all the best for the move day
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,856
South coast
I think it is time now as well. It sounds like your mum is beginning to become afraid of being on her own, which is something that happens with dementia. Once this happens, they want to be able to be with someone every minute of the waking day and if there is only one other person with them during the day and night this is very difficult to achieve.

I know how hard it is and you end up second guessing yourself, but often a move to a care home is actually very positive. Mum thrived in her care home - made friends and joined in the activities. She often said to me - they all love me in here. And she was right, they did.

I think you are handling the move right, telling her it is a holiday. Dont tell her before the day as otherwise it will give her the chance to mull over it and decide she doesnt want to go - people with dementia are often worried about anything different and you dont want her anxiety just going up and up.
 

anxious annie

Registered User
Jan 2, 2019
303
Hi @Katrad
I hope the move goes well. It's a good idea to say it's for a holiday/ a break etc, and if she asks when she can go home just say some think like , soon. We told mum we were fixing her heating so she couldn't stay at home. We were very anxious that she wouldn't settle, but mum has been at her care home 7 months and settled very quickly there. We were amazed. You have done the best for your mum, and once we are back to normal will be able to visit and still support her.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,488
Hi @Katrad, the move sounds like the best thing for your mum. I moved mum to a care home last year. At the time she wasn't as far along as your mum and was more or less coping at home. She did however have delusions about the neighbours stealing from her and was putting herself at risk by going drinking in the pub with random men, so wasn't safe on her own.
I told mum that she was moving near me on a temporary basis while a flat nearer my brother was sorted out. She was selling her flat to finance that supposed move so we said there were a few things to be done before the sale and that the family were sorting everything. After we'd said that e tried not to mention it much before the move. On the day I just picked mum up and we got a taxi over. I'd managed to get a suitcase of clothes and stuff there beforehand so her room was set up for her. If you can do that it might help. I don't think I handled the move well, but due to Covid I guess things will be different anyway. When you get there, hopefully the staff will be there to greet her and make a fuss. Just say you've forgotten something and slip away as quietly as possible. If they do allow you in, just make an excuse such as going to the loo and disappear.
It sounds like with the right stimulation your mum will enjoy being in a home. My mother's has loads of activities on, so I'm sure she'll find others that like knitting for instance.
 

Barronred

New member
Apr 1, 2020
9
There are a lot of similarities with your position and timing and my own. My mum will move into a care home next week after spending the entire lockdown period with me in my home - 280 miles from her own. In the last 4 months she has fallen 4 times and after each, there has been a noticeable deterioration in her condition. Whilst can be perfectly lucid over her first cup of tea of the day (which has caused me to revisit the decision regarding the CH several times) she then lapses into exhibiting many of the symptoms you describe. I cannot be out of line-of-sight for more than a few minutes and even then she asks me how long I'm going to be away. She has no real hobbies or interests and just wants me to sit and watch daytime television with her. She has refused to have carers into her home and will only have a bath if we insist she needs one. She often does not recognise me as her son, but sees me as either some distant relative or a work colleague. She often asks how her sisters are (both died over 12 years ago) and has no real grasp of timescales, thinking she has only been with us a few days rather than 4 months. Like yourself, I struggled with the decision regarding when she had reached the 'tipping point' of needing professional care with the chance of greater stimulation with people of her own age. I'm sure dropping her off will be more traumatic for me than her and I'm going to feel guilty at first, however, on balance someone suggested to me that the any move should be in her best interests- not my own. Probably one of the hardest decisions of my life - but I think its the right time and the right choice. Fingers crossed for both of us!
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,262
Katrad, what you are going to do, is absolutely correct. For all the right reasons. Her needs now out weigh her wants.
Remember that on the day, only just enought needs to be taken for an overnight stay, the rest can follow later that day, or the next, staff will unpack for her.
On the day, try to arrive just before lunch, unless the Home asks otherwise.
Don't try to discuss it with her, she won't agree, and will get upset. She's going for a holiday, because she deserves one!

Bod (whose been there, twice.)
 

Marmoset

New member
Jun 13, 2020
3
This is almost my situation timewize as well. Covid makes everything so hard. Except I have bought Mum to live with me until we could put care in place. You are describing almost my life. Mum thinks I am running a care home, I am 6 different people all with the same name and she resents completely my husband who is disabled and I care for too. We are arranging the care home for July. This will be so difficult. I am in Scotland, the home down South of England near all the other family. I will have to go halfway and pass her over to complete the journey. She also thinks her mother is going to look after her, my dad who died and the co op staff who were so kind in their deliveries during the lockdown are going to deliver meals and cook for her. In her world she's going to live in a cottage by the sea with 2 cats, a dog and us children all giving up our jobs, families and homes to look after her. The situation is heartbreaking. This thread and the suggestions are being most helpful.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
653
Echoing others here, though this is undoubtedly a very hard decision, it sounds as though you have reached the practical point where it is best for all. Try not to dwell on it too much.

Agree with taking things in for her room in advance. Get as much set up as you can with the help of the staff in advance. Find out if you will be able to accompany her inside and if not, make sure she is with staff and then say you will see her soon. Do not say goodbye. Trust me on that one. If you can accompany her into the home, come in and then at a suitable time (meal time, tea time, activity time) leave as quietly as possible while your loved on is occupied. Though it is very hard, nail on a smile all day and act as if this is a positive day out. In fact, Mummy settled very well into her care home so it was indeed a positive move for us.
Give your loved one time to settle in. Though the current situation with restrictions on visiting is tough, not visiting for a while can help someone to settle into a care home.
Above all, accept that you are probably thinking and feeling guilty about all of this more than your loved one. Some (though not all) PWD live much more in the moment. Give yourself time afterwards to be upset. Moving Mummy into a home really made me face up to what dementia had done to all of us.
However, Mummy is content in her care home. They love her and I feel she has a routine and security, especially as her dementia worsens that we could not have given her at home. We all want the best for our loved ones, sometimes with dementia we have to accept "most safe" instead.....
 

Jale

Registered User
Jul 9, 2018
467
I think that when the time comes for a loved one to go into a home our heads know it is the right time and our hearts say no and that is why we feel so guilty. From what you have written it sounds like the time is right and you are doing what is best for your Mum and that is the important thing.

We were lucky (if there is such a thing) in so far as mum went from hospital into a home, her condition deteriorated in hospital and the decision was sort of made for us. Mum thinks she is in a special hospital, sometimes she will mention about going home and I always say I will try and find a doctor (never do). Like others have said we always try and visit just before lunch time when we can slip away, we also call the carers nurses.
Hope that all goes smoothly for you and your Mum
 

Katrad

New member
Apr 29, 2020
9
Thank you so much to everyone who has answered. The stories that you have shared convey such sadness and love, I am grateful for the comfort your words have given me.

Am completely dreading Wednesday but trying not to dwell on it. I'm going to try and make the most of the time we have left.

Kathryn
 

Louise83

Registered User
Feb 5, 2019
80
Good luck tomorrow.

I've been reading through this and all the helpful advice, as I made the decision last week to move my mum into a care home too.

At the moment I am feeling incredible sadness and worrying about how things will work out.

The guilt on moving day is inevitable but you, me and everyone else on here are doing the right thing long term.
 

Katrad

New member
Apr 29, 2020
9
Thank you, everyone, for your support and input. Your words and advice, honestly, helped to give me a strength I didn't know I had to get through the last couple if days.

We took mum to the residential care home yesterday, and it was truly awful, but I don't believe it could have gone any better.

I spent a sleepless night still wondering how best to play the day, every time I'd had the opportunity to bring "the next step" into the conversation, Mum would deny the need for any more support and only thr day before she'd eloquently and logically argued her point of view that she'd carry on alone in her home for a length of time more and revisit the subject in conferences with me and my siblings after she'd had a chance to gauge how well she had got on. Despite my horror about how I could have read her so wrong, I was making the biggest mistake of my life by the time we'd finished dinner I had to spell my husband's name for her (Mick) while she wrote his birthday card.
Anyway I woke before 6am with a plan - I packed all my belongings, stripped my bed, got the washing machine on and piled all my belongings, including the dog's bed, into the hallway.
When mum woke we stuck to our normal routine and when she said at breakfast, as she normally did, "when will you be off home" I was able to say I'd had a message during the night, my family needed me and I would be travelling home that day. She accepted that completely so I was able to continue with 'we can't let you be here on your own".
After a slight protest from mum I was able to continue with, I'd been in contact with my sister who'd made arrangements for her to go to a place with people like her, where she would be cared for and kept active and busy, a bit like a hotel, for a couple of weeks respite , to give us all a bit of a break. She had a few questions, but was happy to say it seemed to be a good solution.

So we had our normal morning routine, ablutions, then a nice long walk; while my sister went in to collect her last bits and bobs to pack. We got back to have a cup of tea by when it was time to go. Mum needed a quick recap of where we were off to and why, but this time with my sister, which she accepted.

I took mum off for a little look at the garden while my sister went to tell them we'd arrived. When the ladies walked out with the masks on, Mum bristled, but we assured her that it was only because they were taking care "because of the virus". She grasped that we were leaving her there and questioned this and for how long, I reiterated that I had to go home to my family and she'd be here for a couple of weeks while we sorted ourselves out. She accepted that and was led off by a carer through the door and away from us.

Without being over dramatic, I swear that was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I know there was no other way. She WILL be fine, even if she felt distress she will.be supported and distracted and occupied and she will forget and move on.

It's all been made so much harder because of COVID, to think that we might see her mid-August, if we're very lucky is almost unbearable to contemplate, will she even remember us by then...
But, I know it isn't about me, it is all about her being safe, occupied and stimulated - basically the stuff we were struggling to sustain with the one on one care being delivered in her home environment.
Thanks again for your interest, have posted a picture I took while we were out on our walk yesterday.
20200701_093531.jpg
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
653
Katrad , try to take a bit of time for yourself now. What you have done is terribly hard. I spent several days crying on and off after leaving my Mum at the care home. It gets better. We have all come to accept the situation and Mummy has formed very strong bonds with her carers. Even if now your Mum still has some independence, this is good as it will help her make friends and make the most of activities. We found with Mummy, that as her dementia has progressed, she needs a residential environment more and more.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,856
South coast
I think your plan was ingenious and it all went as well as it possible could have. Well done.

Now is the time to make some space for you. Your emotions will be all over the place for a while. Your head knows that you have done the right thing, but it will take a while for your heart to catch up.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,488
@Katrad, that was brilliantly done, and I doubt you could have done better. I hope your own family have given you a chance to off load your feelings and made a big fuss of you. The day mum moved into care was my wedding anniversary so husband and I went out for a lovely meal in the evening so I could talk and think of other things.
It's always a good idea to give t a couple of weeks when people move into care before visiting, so hopefully thing may be a bit easier by then. Could you do a skype or zoom 'virtual' visit with your mum or meet socially distanced in the garden? In the mean time look after you.
That's a lovely picture of your mum btw
 

anxious annie

Registered User
Jan 2, 2019
303
What a lovely photo of your mum @Katrad . I'm glad that the day went as smoothly as these things can. I live a long car journey from mum but have been keeping in touch during coved by sending cards, with little notes, bar of chocolate and FaceTime which is great as I get to see her. I'm sure the staff will keep you updated and I do hope she settles. My sister and I were amazed at how well our mum did as she was always adamant she would never move to a care home. She just loves the activities and company.
 

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