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Mum's move to a care home, not going well!

Nadder

New member
May 20, 2022
6
0
Hi all, new here, good to meet you :)
My Mum has moderate (?) dementia, struggles to walk and had been feeling isolated and lonely in her big house on a quiet road. For the last 5 months, although she had carers popping in 3 times a day, she was complaining about how lonely she was. And she became a bit of a liability, "accidentally" using her alarm, getting neighbours to do menial jobs for her, forgetting to use her Zimmer frame. She has a lot of local friends, but most of them quite old but she would get a visit from a friend or the church once a fortnight.

We decided it would be best to move her down to a care home near me, one of her two daughters. We talked about it and the new room she would be in, the goodbye party for all her friends, choosing what to take with her, and in particular that we would visit her several times a week so she would no longer be lonely. She couldn't wait to move down, and I even brought the date forward because she kept cancelling the milk, the gardener, the carers and packed every day - including all the contents of the fridge!

The move seemed to go smoothly, but she has always been independent (and relatively demanding!!) and did not like the loss of independence. It seems she also thought she just needed to say it wasn't working out and I would take pity on her and move her in with us (not an option!) - that has been mentioned a few times.

She has been there 10 days now, and is telling staff and the other residents that she was sent here against her will, she had no idea she was moving in until I took her there and left her, and - the best one - I have sold her house and spent all the money on cruises! (Note: I hate the idea of cruises, never been on one, and it has never come up in conversation!). The worrying thing is that the other residents REALLY believe her, and give me the worst looks when I come in to see my mother, having been very friendly on day one. The staff obviously don't know the story but my mother has told them she would like a solicitor.

My mother is also cold and accusative to me, despite us having a very warm and loving relationship for the last 6 years since my Dad died. Each time I go in she glares at me, asks what I have done with the money, demands to be taken home, and it takes 15 minutes to attempt to reassure her and get her to start saying some positives about the home (which is very good). Then the next day, back to square 1. And constantly asking for my sister to visit - who lives 3 hours away.

So I am saddened and bruised from this, but overall wondering what next? I was meant to be the main support for her and the reason for her being in the current home, but I seem to be making the situation worse. And once she has a bee in her bonnet, well. Did I mention she is demanding and stamps her feet til she gets her way...for months if necessary! The home have been of little use in this - they seem understaffed and dealing with a lot. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,748
0
Welcome to the forum . Everything you are describing is I'm afraid quite normal for a person with dementia who has just arrived in a care home . 10 days, really is no time at all. What do the staff say about her behaviour when you're not there?. I would stop visiting for a while, so that your mum turns to staff and develops trust with them ,not you.
 

Sarasa

Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
5,051
0
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Nadder and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I'm glad you've found us. This is a very supportive and friendly place.
Your mother sounds very much like mine when I moved her to a care home. In mum's case it was my horrible boyfriend who had stolen all her money and dumped her there. She too kept on trying to phone the police or get hold of a solicitor, I wondered if I was making things worse, though the home assured me it was very usual to people just moving into care to react in that way.
As @Rosettastone57 has said ten days is still very early days. Don't visit for a few days, but just phone the home and see how she is settling. Good care homes will be used to people being confused and upset by the move, and though other residents might think your mother's stories are true the staff won't.
To be honest it took my mum a long time to settle, and even when she admitted to enjoying herself in the home she still wanted to come home with me every time I visited. However moving mum into care was the right thing to do, and I'm sure it is the right thing for your mum too.
 

Nadder

New member
May 20, 2022
6
0
Welcome to the forum . Everything you are describing is I'm afraid quite normal for a person with dementia who has just arrived in a care home . 10 days, really is no time at all. What do the staff say about her behaviour when you're not there?. I would stop visiting for a while, so that your mum turns to staff and develops trust with them ,not you.
Thank you so much @Rosettastone57
The staff have said very little (I think short-staffed) except she seems ok but stays in her room most of the time and has started being more vocal about me. They did say not to visit for a few days at the start but when I turned up 5 days later my Mum was furious and that's when the abandonment stories really started. She thinks she has been there months. I felt guilty and thought the advice to stay away was wrong, but interesting that you are advising that too. Thank you.
She is getting a phone installed next week. Do you think I should call, not visit, or neither? Thank you :)
 

Nadder

New member
May 20, 2022
6
0
Hi @Nadder and a warm welcome to Dementia Talking Point. I'm glad you've found us. This is a very supportive and friendly place.
Your mother sounds very much like mine when I moved her to a care home. In mum's case it was my horrible boyfriend who had stolen all her money and dumped her there. She too kept on trying to phone the police or get hold of a solicitor, I wondered if I was making things worse, though the home assured me it was very usual to people just moving into care to react in that way.
As @Rosettastone57 has said ten days is still very early days. Don't visit for a few days, but just phone the home and see how she is settling. Good care homes will be used to people being confused and upset by the move, and though other residents might think your mother's stories are true the staff won't.
To be honest it took my mum a long time to settle, and even when she admitted to enjoying herself in the home she still wanted to come home with me every time I visited. However moving mum into care was the right thing to do, and I'm sure it is the right thing for your mum too.
Thank you for your reply and welcome @Sarasa, and so good to hear my story is not unusual (although sorry to hear you had to go through it too!). The advice does seem to be to stay away, so I think I will try that again, however guilty it makes me feel. It is so tough! Thank you again :)
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,899
0
South coast
She is getting a phone installed next week.
Hi @Nadder
I can understand the reasoning behind this - you want her to feel happy that you have not abandoned her and can contact you at any time. Unfortunately, dementia doesnt do logic, so be warned that it might not turn out like that. What might happen is that the sight of the phone might trigger her delusions and you end up with a lot of angry aggressive phone calls that do not do either of you any good. It might also focus her entirely on you and the thought of living with you so that she does not settle.

Give it a try, but if it doesnt work, be prepared to remove the phone quickly. When there was a stage where I was unable to visit mum I sent her picture postcards (like the sort you used to send when you were on holiday) with a simple message saying I loved her on the back. Mum could see straight away what it was, didnt have to open an envelope, kept re-reading them and actually thought I was on holiday, so was happy
 

Nadder

New member
May 20, 2022
6
0
Hi @Nadder
I can understand the reasoning behind this - you want her to feel happy that you have not abandoned her and can contact you at any time. Unfortunately, dementia doesnt do logic, so be warned that it might not turn out like that. What might happen is that the sight of the phone might trigger her delusions and you end up with a lot of angry aggressive phone calls that do not do either of you any good. It might also focus her entirely on you and the thought of living with you so that she does not settle.

Give it a try, but if it doesnt work, be prepared to remove the phone quickly. When there was a stage where I was unable to visit mum I sent her picture postcards (like the sort you used to send when you were on holiday) with a simple message saying I loved her on the back. Mum could see straight away what it was, didnt have to open an envelope, kept re-reading them and actually thought I was on holiday, so was happy
Thank you @canary for this! I have asked the Home if phone can be set to incoming calls only...but they didn't think so. I was wondering whether I should "lose" her address book for her as I am worried about her calling all her friends repeatedly in her confusion. But I think it could help a lot if a few trusted friends and my sister in particular could call in the early evening - even just to remind her to put on the tv to distract her. Hmmm, will give it some more thought.
Great idea about the postcards, will do that when not visiting. Thank you for your reply :)
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
3,439
0
High Peak
Can you delay the phone? Tell her there's a problem with the wiring, etc? She doesn't really need it...

You are her 'go to' person, the one she turns to when things aren't right, when she needs help, when she doesn't know what to do. But now you're not there and she has panicked. As others have said, the transition needs to happen where she turns to the care home staff when she needs something and this can take some time. It's often suggested not to visit for a while so that this transferring of needs can happen.

Meanwhile, you are the worst person in the world. Your mum is confabulating like mad and says you've dumped her in this prison, you've stolen all her money, you put her there so you could get her house and go off on your cruises. I hope it will make you feel better to know my mum said all these things too - exactly the same. Paranoia about money being stolen is incredibly common - I've no idea where they get it from but it happens all the time when people have dementia. If you read around the threads here, you will see many confabulations along similar lines. My mum's favourite gripe was that people came in at night and stole her favourite knickers... Like you, I got very fed up with the accusations and once told mum that if I had taken all her money I'd be in Acapulco right now, not sitting there with her...

Don't worry about what the other residents think - your mum will probably tell them a different version of her story tomorrow. But do make sure the staff/manager know the truth! They will be used to such accusations - or they should be. People with dementia can be incredibly convincing though - my mum was an expert!
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,748
0
Thank you so much @Rosettastone57
The staff have said very little (I think short-staffed) except she seems ok but stays in her room most of the time and has started being more vocal about me. They did say not to visit for a few days at the start but when I turned up 5 days later my Mum was furious and that's when the abandonment stories really started. She thinks she has been there months. I felt guilty and thought the advice to stay away was wrong, but interesting that you are advising that too. Thank you.
She is getting a phone installed next week. Do you think I should call, not visit, or neither? Thank you :)
When my mother in law went into care, she thought that my husband hadn't visited for a year , although she had only been there 2 weeks. This is extremely common.
My husband refused to take any calls from her, only speaking to staff. We only visited once a week and as soon as the accusations started we left. She used to tell us the home was a living hell, she was being ignored by staff. Well the home had a Facebook page and there she was on one of the uploaded photos, smiling and taking part in the activities. After that we just ignored the complaints.
In-between visits we sent postcards via the app called Touchnote which you can personalise. As others have said the new carers will eventually be the "go to " people she will turn to , but it takes time.
 

Morg

Registered User
Oct 21, 2018
41
0
Goodness Nadder my heart goes out to you and your family. I have posted on here today with a completely different experience and have received much needed support. Nothing could prepare us for this amount of stress and emotion. Lots of people have written really good advice to you and I’ll repeat what is often said here keep reading keep posting. Take care of yourself and family
regards Morg
 

Nadder

New member
May 20, 2022
6
0
Goodness Nadder my heart goes out to you and your family. I have posted on here today with a completely different experience and have received much needed support. Nothing could prepare us for this amount of stress and emotion. Lots of people have written really good advice to you and I’ll repeat what is often said here keep reading keep posting. Take care of yourself and family
regards Morg
Thank you so much @Morg. I went and found your post - and what a different experience! Just goes to show, nothing predictable and no way of preparing ourselves for the changes. I do hope the home works out really well for your Mum, and you start enjoying having a little more of your time and independence back, knowing your Mum is safe :)
 

Nadder

New member
May 20, 2022
6
0
When my mother in law went into care, she thought that my husband hadn't visited for a year , although she had only been there 2 weeks. This is extremely common.
My husband refused to take any calls from her, only speaking to staff. We only visited once a week and as soon as the accusations started we left. She used to tell us the home was a living hell, she was being ignored by staff. Well the home had a Facebook page and there she was on one of the uploaded photos, smiling and taking part in the activities. After that we just ignored the complaints.
In-between visits we sent postcards via the app called Touchnote which you can personalise. As others have said the new carers will eventually be the "go to " people she will turn to , but it takes time.
Haha that did make me laugh. I was telling my daughter how much my Mum hated the home, didn't join in anything, and while we were talking up popped a photo of her enjoying a yum yum and pot of tea at Waitrose with some other residents - and she was the only one smiling!
Really interesting approach not taking calls and leaving when accusations start. A close friend of hers has told me to harden my heart, but I think the reason I find it difficult is because I don't see the staff engaging much with her so they have no idea what is going on until I tell them and don't seem to have the time to discuss! But I think you are right, and the consistent message from everyone is don't visit often, so I will take that advice. Thank you
 

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