Mum moved into a care home today

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by MERENAME, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Amy in the US

    Amy in the US Registered User

    Feb 28, 2015
    Merename, it's good to see your updates, but I'm sorry you are having such a difficult time.

    I definitely know that feeling of dread in the pit of stomach when considering a visit, or when I'm driving to the care home, or getting out of my car, or walking in. What will I find? Will she be upset? How will I cope? I'm not sure that it gets easier, exactly, but with time and practise, I have gotten more used to it.

    I also don't visit when I know I cannot handle it. My mother (75 and Alzheimer's and no short term memory) can't always understand what we are saying, as her ability to process information is declining, but she can still read body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. In fact, she can have a scary laser-like focus ability to hone in on even the very slightest changes in non verbal communication. If she senses the slightest big of negative energy or emotion or expression, she will hone in on it and then she can be like a dog with a bone, worrying it, and herself, endlessly. I have to be under complete control, cheerful and pleasant and easygoing, at all times. If I appear the least bit tired or upset or anything other than cheerful and pleasant and easygoing, I get an earful about it! I could go on, but you get the idea.

    I have become a better actress over the past few years, but it isn't always easy, and it's impossible if I am very tired or upset. When it's like that, I just don't visit her. It is not worth the potential upset to her (and the stress for me) to have an unpleasant visit.

    I have found some coping strategies that have helped me, most of them hit upon accidentally, or suggested by someone here or in my support groups.

    They mostly boil down to: having something scheduled for you after the visit that helps you, that you do. That could be listening to music, reading a book, watching a TV programme, going for a walk, having lunch or tea or coffee with a friend, chocolate/alcohol/comfort food of choice, going to a park, taking a nap, exercise of any kind, working on something creative, really anything that is fun or pleasant or distracting for you.

    I find that a walk outdoors always makes me feel better, although I will be honest and say I'd rather sit on my sofa, eat snacks, and read a book. You might experiment and see if there is something that gives you relief, and then you can make it part of the routine of visiting. It helps me a lot to have something specific planned for afterwards, that I can look forward to. Otherwise the entire day, both before and after, can feel like "visit to Mum in care home."

    I am very sorry to hear about the levels of distress and being unsettled that you witnessed with your Mum today. That must have been so distressing to you both, and doesn't make anything pleasant about visiting, of course.

    I can really only suggest that you continue to give it time, as it's still very early days, make sure she doesn't have an infection or any other medical issue going on, and ask for a medication review. I know it took a few months and a number of adjustments to get my mother's medications correct, but once they did, it made a huge difference.

    I agree with you that dementia is a horrible disease and I hate every single second of dealing with it, on every level. It causes such a lot of collateral damage, as you say.

    I'm sorry I don't have better advice. If it feels right, please do keep posting. We really do want to hear how things are.

    Very best wishes, and thinking of you at this difficult time.

    MERENAME Registered User

    Jun 4, 2013
    Day 8

    Doctor said her chest was clear but has sent off stool and urine samples. Mum still unhappy and I feel guilty and useless. She wasn't unhappy at home and I didn't think she'd be unhappy in the care home. I could see the next chapter coming and wanted the best for her. I'm pretty useless and depressed today. I need to find a job and so don't feel up to it. I need to clear her house and I don't feel up to it. All I feel like doing is crying. My poor lovely Mum doesn't deserve this.
  3. DollyBird16

    DollyBird16 Registered User

    Sep 5, 2017
    Greater London
    No way are you useless, look at what you are organising for Mum, you are still caring in a huge way.
    Nothing and no one will replace the love you constantly have for your Mum.
    I guess it's settling time for you both, a huge change for you and Mum.
    To be honest I miss my Mum when I'm at work for the day and worry when I'm not there.
    The whole thing has broken my heart I totally get how you feel, you are still there for Mum, please don't punish yourself or let that beastly guilt monster win. XXX

    MERENAME Registered User

    Jun 4, 2013
    Week 2

    Still not settling. Care home struggling.

    I think I've been quite close to carers breakdown. Hard to visit. Hard not to visit. When I try to relax I just feel all this pain.
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    2 weeks is nothing - it always takes people with dementia at least 6-8 weeks, often longer, to settle.
    I seem to remember that your mum is there on trial - how long is the trial?

    If you can, I would recommend that you go away for a few days so that you can relax, not worry about your mum and not feel guilty about not visiting.

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