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Mum just moved into care and hates me - am i making it worse?!

wanderer22

New member
Jan 15, 2020
7
So after an unplanned hospital stay of 6 weeks (all over Christmas), my mum was moved into a nursing home last Monday and is not happy to say the least. I've visited four times, the whole family have visited during this time. She now has all her own clothes to wear instead of pjs all day. She has a tv, family photos in her room, her own personal tuck shop etc. When in the lounges, which is most of the day, she has a constant supply of food, drinks, snacks etc. There are staff to talk to, people to be with. There are 2 big tvs to watch, movies on etc. Weekly hairdresser, sometimes activities. Staff told me how much fun she's been having, how she makes them all laugh. Tells off the other residents etc. Then I go in and it's all tears. When am I coming home etc, I can look after myself etc. Weds evening was 2 and a half hours of crying. But today was even worse....
You expect me to die here don't you?!
You don't want me any more!
Why can't I come home for just a weekend?!
I don't want to spend the rest of my life here!
I don't want to die here!
In the end I felt that my being there was only continuing her misery, so after 2 painful hours, I left. That just set her off wailing and the staff had to stop her following me as she's was on her feet crying out for me. Needless to say I left in tears again. I felt really mean leaving her like that. I'd tried to leave a couple of times but she didn't want me to, but when I sat down again she just carried on getting more and more upset and constantly saying she wants to commit suicide. So I felt it would be better for her if I left as the tea trolley arrived and maybe she would settle again. Driving off I felt really mean. How could I leave my mum in tears like that. I'm a bad person.
But if she gets upset when I visit, should I just not visit for a week or two, and see if she settles down??? The staff told me she was settling, but I get a distraught person who says someone has attacked her in her room (they didn't, the staff checked the cctv and there are pressure pads under the carpet), that she wants to commit suicide, and that she doesn't want to die here.
AM I MAKING IT WORSE BY VISITING??? Should I leave her alone for a while? Would that help? Great aunt and my gran will still visit once or twice a week, but they seem to get ok visits with just weeping when they leave. I get crying and wailing through the whole visit, so perhaps if I don't go she won't get so upset???
I just don't know what to do.
 

wanderer22

New member
Jan 15, 2020
7
I think I've cried myself dry, then something happens and it all starts again.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
972
Hi @wanderer22 , my mother was rather like your when she moved into her care home in May last year. Unlike what you've been told about your mum, mine was also pretty upset when I wasn't there. As she was very (and still is to a large extent) very mobile she made various breaks for freedom. It's only in the last couple of months she seems to have settled, and though she still wants to get out, it isn't because she thinks she would be perfectly fine at home, but because she wants to go and see her (long-dead) parents.
It might be a good idea not to visit for a week and then when you go back be all smiles about how great it is, what a lovely room what wonderful food, what interesting things to do. If she starts about wanting to go home, just explain that the doctors want her to get stronger after her hospital stay.
It is horrid, I hated leaving my mum screaming about how horrible I was as I disappeared in the lift, but she was unsafe at home, as I assume your mother was too. You just have to try and divided your mind up into compartments and get on with it. But it does get easier, honest.
 

Anmarg

Registered User
Apr 9, 2019
31
Hello @wanderer22, I just wanted you to know that you are certainly not alone and I really feel for you and relate so much with your post and am going through what you are going through at the moment, its a very painful time, I wish I had an answer for you, I am sure you will get plenty of support and advice if you keep posting.
 

wanderer22

New member
Jan 15, 2020
7
Hi @wanderer22 , my mother was rather like your when she moved into her care home in May last year. Unlike what you've been told about your mum, mine was also pretty upset when I wasn't there. As she was very (and still is to a large extent) very mobile she made various breaks for freedom. It's only in the last couple of months she seems to have settled, and though she still wants to get out, it isn't because she thinks she would be perfectly fine at home, but because she wants to go and see her (long-dead) parents.
It might be a good idea not to visit for a week and then when you go back be all smiles about how great it is, what a lovely room what wonderful food, what interesting things to do. If she starts about wanting to go home, just explain that the doctors want her to get stronger after her hospital stay.
It is horrid, I hated leaving my mum screaming about how horrible I was as I disappeared in the lift, but she was unsafe at home, as I assume your mother was too. You just have to try and divided your mind up into compartments and get on with it. But it does get easier, honest.
Yes, she was screaming as I left today it was awful. I think I will give this weekend a miss and just visit one evening during the week on the way home from work. More tiring for me then, but I get the weekend for some me-time and don't get so upset at having upset her again. I left today feeling like a really evil person who just neglected her crying mother and doesn't care. I nearly crashed on the way home Sunday cos I was crying so much. I hate this.
 

Bikerbeth

Registered User
Feb 11, 2019
905
Bedford
My Mum went into a home in November. She would also get upset when I visited and would also threaten suicide up until Christmas. Following advise I had read on here from people like @Sarasa I tend to visit mornings (fortunately my work allows this) and leave just as lunch is being served. I leave my coat in the car so I can just leave at any point easily. Mum still says she is bored, food is awful etc but on Christmas Day I brought her to my house for a few hours as it was only me and OH and come 3pm she asked me to take her back as she needed to help the staff with the other residents on her floor at teatime. I took this as a positive that she had settled.
It is so hard when someone you love is crying, to just leave. It tears you apart to see their distress but perhaps try and focus on the fact that she is safe and cared for. Also the fact that she is actually quite happy at other times from what you said. My OH and care home manager did both think that Mum was trying to ‘manipulate’ me to take her home so suggested not visiting for a week. Although a bit bumpy afterwards it was a lot better. I hope that it gets easier for you
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,164
So after an unplanned hospital stay of 6 weeks (all over Christmas), my mum was moved into a nursing home last Monday and is not happy to say the least. I've visited four times, the whole family have visited during this time. She now has all her own clothes to wear instead of pjs all day. She has a tv, family photos in her room, her own personal tuck shop etc. When in the lounges, which is most of the day, she has a constant supply of food, drinks, snacks etc. There are staff to talk to, people to be with. There are 2 big tvs to watch, movies on etc. Weekly hairdresser, sometimes activities. Staff told me how much fun she's been having, how she makes them all laugh. Tells off the other residents etc. Then I go in and it's all tears. When am I coming home etc, I can look after myself etc. Weds evening was 2 and a half hours of crying. But today was even worse....
You expect me to die here don't you?!
You don't want me any more!
Why can't I come home for just a weekend?!
I don't want to spend the rest of my life here!
I don't want to die here!
In the end I felt that my being there was only continuing her misery, so after 2 painful hours, I left. That just set her off wailing and the staff had to stop her following me as she's was on her feet crying out for me. Needless to say I left in tears again. I felt really mean leaving her like that. I'd tried to leave a couple of times but she didn't want me to, but when I sat down again she just carried on getting more and more upset and constantly saying she wants to commit suicide. So I felt it would be better for her if I left as the tea trolley arrived and maybe she would settle again. Driving off I felt really mean. How could I leave my mum in tears like that. I'm a bad person.
But if she gets upset when I visit, should I just not visit for a week or two, and see if she settles down??? The staff told me she was settling, but I get a distraught person who says someone has attacked her in her room (they didn't, the staff checked the cctv and there are pressure pads under the carpet), that she wants to commit suicide, and that she doesn't want to die here.
AM I MAKING IT WORSE BY VISITING??? Should I leave her alone for a while? Would that help? Great aunt and my gran will still visit once or twice a week, but they seem to get ok visits with just weeping when they leave. I get crying and wailing through the whole visit, so perhaps if I don't go she won't get so upset???
I just don't know what to do.
My mother-in-law was like this. She went into care in 2018 and was always telling my husband it was a "living hell". We were subjected to verbal abuse and often heard her screaming at us about how no one spoke to her etc. Well the home had a Facebook page and there she was in one of their uploaded photos smiling, hair washed, nails painted, taking part in the activities. After that we just ignored the complaints. We only visited once a week for half an hour always leaving when dinnertime came round.
 

Delilah63

Registered User
Jan 4, 2018
38
I think I've cried myself dry, then something happens and it all starts again.
I wouldn't wish this on anyone.
Just two massive things to say

YOU ARE NOT a bad person
If you need some time out, TAKE IT

Youve done the best you can in intolerable circumstances. Take some some out if you need it, your Mum is safe, you need to keep yourself safe.
Oh and by the way, you are very definitely NOT a bad person x
 

MoodyC

Registered User
Sep 22, 2018
33
Hello wanderer, all stages are hard to cope with but this part is so challenging.
My husband went into care las July, having become very unsafe. The manager told me that it would take 6 months for us both to adjust. She also advised not to visit too often at the beginning to give him a chance to build a relationship with the staff. This was hard to cope with. For the first couple of months he would ask to come home and I used the same response each time, which was that he was staying for a while whilst they sorted his sleep out. He had been up virtually all night leading up to going in.

Hallucinations were a key problem at home and they continued in the care home with him thinking that someone was going to kill him or he had killed them.
Things began to settle during November with what felt like some kind of acceptance but imagine he was just getting used to it.

for me, Christmas was very hard but I think I’m gradually accepting that this is the way it is.
I visit two or three times a week and am able to fill the other days but it all takes time.

I think it’s really hard at the beginning. I often use a reason to leave, like I have the washing to do or some kind of job he would be familiar with. But it’s still hard.

good luck and remember that you have done your very best.xx
 

Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
1,422
North West
So after an unplanned hospital stay of 6 weeks (all over Christmas), my mum was moved into a nursing home last Monday and is not happy to say the least. I've visited four times, the whole family have visited during this time. She now has all her own clothes to wear instead of pjs all day. She has a tv, family photos in her room, her own personal tuck shop etc. When in the lounges, which is most of the day, she has a constant supply of food, drinks, snacks etc. There are staff to talk to, people to be with. There are 2 big tvs to watch, movies on etc. Weekly hairdresser, sometimes activities. Staff told me how much fun she's been having, how she makes them all laugh. Tells off the other residents etc. Then I go in and it's all tears. When am I coming home etc, I can look after myself etc. Weds evening was 2 and a half hours of crying. But today was even worse....
You expect me to die here don't you?!
You don't want me any more!
Why can't I come home for just a weekend?!
I don't want to spend the rest of my life here!
I don't want to die here!
In the end I felt that my being there was only continuing her misery, so after 2 painful hours, I left. That just set her off wailing and the staff had to stop her following me as she's was on her feet crying out for me. Needless to say I left in tears again. I felt really mean leaving her like that. I'd tried to leave a couple of times but she didn't want me to, but when I sat down again she just carried on getting more and more upset and constantly saying she wants to commit suicide. So I felt it would be better for her if I left as the tea trolley arrived and maybe she would settle again. Driving off I felt really mean. How could I leave my mum in tears like that. I'm a bad person.
But if she gets upset when I visit, should I just not visit for a week or two, and see if she settles down??? The staff told me she was settling, but I get a distraught person who says someone has attacked her in her room (they didn't, the staff checked the cctv and there are pressure pads under the carpet), that she wants to commit suicide, and that she doesn't want to die here.
AM I MAKING IT WORSE BY VISITING??? Should I leave her alone for a while? Would that help? Great aunt and my gran will still visit once or twice a week, but they seem to get ok visits with just weeping when they leave. I get crying and wailing through the whole visit, so perhaps if I don't go she won't get so upset???
I just don't know what to do.
It is a horribe experience and a decision none of us take lightly. It is heartbreaking to see this. I recently moved my mum to a nursing EMI unit and on the first day she shadowed me when I said I had to leave saying 'I want to go with you' and followed me to the door. This is a person who has been a great friend as well as a mother.

A good thing to try is to visit but not let her see you and watch from a distance to see how she is, I have done this and have been surprised at how well mum gets on with it all in the CH -it is an eye opener. I think the other thing to try to remember is that pwd remember more about how they feel about something or someone than anything else, its hard not to trigger these feelings, that eventually will change.

Its also hard knowing what to do for the best, but it comes with trial and error until you find a happy medium.
 

Cocoloco

Registered User
Dec 29, 2018
16
Hi I can relate to everything you have written. It’s a year tomorrow since my mum went into a CH after a hospital stay. Even after all this time she still tries to follow me out eight times out of ten. She regularly packs up all her things , getting carrier bags from somewhere we never leave any, she takes all her photos off the walls etc. She constantly asks me if she can come with me, I just answer by saying it’s up to the doctor and he says she isn’t well enough. I have never told so many lies and I carry the guilt around like a brick.
The CH tells me she is settled, she has been on lots of trips, has her hair done every week and that’s more than I could get her to do when she was at home. But it’s hard to walk away when she wants to come with me.
I do think it’s best to cut down on your visits as long as you feel your mum is being looked after in the CH and you have no concerns. You can do no more to make her settle. Take some time for you and believe me that isn’t a easy thing to do. Best wishes
 

stayken

New member
Jan 31, 2020
1
So after an unplanned hospital stay of 6 weeks (all over Christmas), my mum was moved into a nursing home last Monday and is not happy to say the least. I've visited four times, the whole family have visited during this time. She now has all her own clothes to wear instead of pjs all day. She has a tv, family photos in her room, her own personal tuck shop etc. When in the lounges, which is most of the day, she has a constant supply of food, drinks, snacks etc. There are staff to talk to, people to be with. There are 2 big tvs to watch, movies on etc. Weekly hairdresser, sometimes activities. Staff told me how much fun she's been having, how she makes them all laugh. Tells off the other residents etc. Then I go in and it's all tears. When am I coming home etc, I can look after myself etc. Weds evening was 2 and a half hours of crying. But today was even worse....
You expect me to die here don't you?!
You don't want me any more!
Why can't I come home for just a weekend?!
I don't want to spend the rest of my life here!
I don't want to die here!
In the end I felt that my being there was only continuing her misery, so after 2 painful hours, I left. That just set her off wailing and the staff had to stop her following me as she's was on her feet crying out for me. Needless to say I left in tears again. I felt really mean leaving her like that. I'd tried to leave a couple of times but she didn't want me to, but when I sat down again she just carried on getting more and more upset and constantly saying she wants to commit suicide. So I felt it would be better for her if I left as the tea trolley arrived and maybe she would settle again. Driving off I felt really mean. How could I leave my mum in tears like that. I'm a bad person.
But if she gets upset when I visit, should I just not visit for a week or two, and see if she settles down??? The staff told me she was settling, but I get a distraught person who says someone has attacked her in her room (they didn't, the staff checked the cctv and there are pressure pads under the carpet), that she wants to commit suicide, and that she doesn't want to die here.
AM I MAKING IT WORSE BY VISITING??? Should I leave her alone for a while? Would that help? Great aunt and my gran will still visit once or twice a week, but they seem to get ok visits with just weeping when they leave. I get crying and wailing through the whole visit, so perhaps if I don't go she won't get so upset???
I just don't know what to do.

It is funny you posted this on my birthday! I am in the middle of the exact same thing you are going through. I am beside myself! I have been a shell of a person and just trying to hold on to my job and my marriage and to top it all off, there was a man that entered her life a year ago and now she has a new family and friends that she wants to get to. She just doesn't understand what happened she went from living a lone to now this! Sigh /cry. I have the same questions as you I"m in the dark here. This is not my mom!!
 

Avis

Registered User
Nov 2, 2019
107
I am just beginning this journey with my OH who is in respite but has to be admitted permanently. The Care Home has advised me to visit once or twice a week so that he gets into a new routine. I feel like such a mean person leaving him there but logically I know it had to happen. I guess it is a transition phase for both of us. Stay strong and limit your visits until she has settled. Best wishes.
 

Mydarlingdaughter

Registered User
Oct 25, 2019
82
North East England UK
I have had similar experiences
my mum is a lot more advanced and has almost no short term memory
some visits are good, the best ones when she enjoys looking at the photos or other things I take her to look at.
however the suicide threats and telling me she wishes she was dead are very distressing
i only visit once a fortnight or so and usually for less than an hour
when I phone the care home to ask how she’s doing the usually say she’s doing well
she has joined in with the activities like pet therapy and has all her meals in the dining room with the others
I do wonder if my visits are counter productive as apparently the suicide threats are only when I visit!
 

Ree123

Registered User
Nov 13, 2016
7
Its a difficult situation and I feel for you.

Dad is now in a care home with advancing vascular dementia. We've learned that 'sun downing' can happen early afternoon, agitation, pacing, aggression, etc. Dad has been in the home for over a year and its been a challenging transition time.

So, we keep visits to the morning, after the staff have done their rounds with personal care, breakfasting of residents etc..and stay no longer than 10 minutes. Like one member says keep your coat on and learn how to make a dash for it.

We've learned over this time the phrase "I want to go home" by Dad, isn't home per se, but a state of being in the past, or an unmet need. We reassure dad by touch, distraction, soft sweets, photo reminiscence, etc....and if the "I want to go home" phrase happens to much, this is our cue to leave. I say I have a bus to catch.

We limit visits to twice a week Mondays and Fridays. 10 mins max. Keeping it light hearted, distraction, distraction, distraction...Its the dementia talking. Too many people around is difficult for him. The old father I knew has gone.

Keep in contact with the care home staff if you are concerned about your visits being too distressing for your loved one, they are worth their weight in gold and will keep you informed of progress....it sounds harsh, but sometimes less reminders of previous home life (i.e. you) might encourage them to settle. So it might be worthwhile thinking of less visits for shorter periods of time for a while.
 

DeltaT

Registered User
Feb 15, 2020
10
What is the psychological theory behind visiting less? Is it maybe the conversations being had with them that is the issue rather than actually seeing their family member? From what I am experiencing it seems to be more about my disposition that influences how the visit works out. The carehome encourages visits and having photos and talking of her past. Yet family seem to be going down more the path of what I am reading on here of almost being sterile in interaction.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,130
What is the psychological theory behind visiting less? Is it maybe the conversations being had with them that is the issue rather than actually seeing their family member? From what I am experiencing it seems to be more about my disposition that influences how the visit works out. The carehome encourages visits and having photos and talking of her past. Yet family seem to be going down more the path of what I am reading on here of almost being sterile in interaction.
The suggestion not to visit in the first couple of weeks is so that the PWD (person with dementia) can settle in, become used the environment, and come to rely on the carers. Seeing a relative is almost guaranteed to provoke an "I want to go home" conversation and general agitation, because they associate you with their previous life and invest in you the power to take them home. (Often 'home' is simply somewhere pre-dementia, it maybe a childhood home rather than their most recent home.) This association usually fades as they get used to the CH - after a couple of months my mother never mentioned her previous life.

You are right that how you behave during a visit will influence how the PWD reacts - they tend to mirror your behaviour. If you are cheerful and upbeat, they will follow that lead; if you are distressed, they will instantly think there is something awful going on and being alarmed.

I try to find topics which are fairly neutral, and to focus on something she can actually see, like photos, or something happening at that moment. My mother no longer recognises family members, or even her beloved cats, so we look at the pictures in a magazine - she can still read, although doesn't understand what the sentences mean.
 

AshestoAshes

Registered User
Aug 10, 2019
14
Hi @wanderer22, it's so hard when they haven't settled. My dad has told me almost every visit that he wants to go home and when can he go home? Sometimes he's more distressed, others he's calm. I think I get more of this and the complaints as I am his emotional support person - if my husband comes too, my dad is a lot more positive. It feels very draining to get all the complains and distress, but I honestly think it's because you're the person they think can fix it, if anyone can (though of course you can't).

I would echo lots of the advice here about things that've worked for me:
- shorter visits - up to 30 mins, no more than an hour.
- always have some reason ready for having to go (work, pick up kids etc)
- be vague but put off any request to go. I've said 'Let's see how you are this time next week', every week my dad's been in his care home. He's asking less often to go now.