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Mum's not settling in care home

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
29
I think I'm just looking for some confirmation that we've done the right thing.

We finally put mum in a care home about three weeks ago. We used the excuse that I'm about to have major surgery (possibly cancer) and my husband can't look after both of us, so she's staying there until I'm well again.

Honestly however, she won't be coming home. We tried to support her with independent living, but she doesn't eat (except KitKats, ice cream, prepared sandwiches and lots of wine), won't let me cook food for her, wouldn't take her medication even when prompted, doesn't understand the Coronavirus crisis so isn't social distancing and wanders off into town 6 times a day. Usually getting lost so we had to go and find her and take her home several times a day.

Close to a complete breakdown myself (we're her only carers), we felt we had no option but to put her into a previously chosen care home.

However, she's continually saying that she wants to go home, packing her things (not sure what in, as we didn't leave a suitcase) and asking the staff to ring for a taxi for her. Even the home say that it'll take her longer to settle than most.

It's possibly not helped by the fact that we can't get her furniture and personal things moved in during lockdown, and are only able to talk to her over the garden gate!

How long has it taken most people's loved ones to settle? I'm worried that it'll end up being referred to the Court of Protection (the DoLS team have warned me that this is a possibility if she won't settle).

Thank you.
 

Lorna44

Registered User
Jul 16, 2016
194
Surrey
It took my mum a good couple of months to settle, we used a lot of 'love lies'. Theres a leak on the roof, the boilers broken, etc.
After a couple of months she just forgot and stopped asking.
It's still early days for you, and the lockdown must have made things tougher, but hang in there... x
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
735
High Peak
My mum spent three years packing her bags and sitting by the door of the care home with her coat on. Even so I would say she was 'settled'. Also, people with dementia often say they want to go home even when they are in their own home! It seems to be a stage many go through where 'home' is not a specific place but somewhere they know they will feel safe. It's often a childhood home they have in mind.

Don't worry about the DoLS - it's just to keep your mum safe as it gives the staff permission to stop her leaving if she tries to escape. (And also to have a locked door she doesn't know the code for.) Without it they would legally have to let her leave. It's a formality and most people in care homes have a DoLS in place.
 

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
29
My mum spent three years packing her bags and sitting by the door of the care home with her coat on. Even so I would say she was 'settled'. Also, people with dementia often say they want to go home even when they are in their own home! It seems to be a stage many go through where 'home' is not a specific place but somewhere they know they will feel safe. It's often a childhood home they have in mind.

Don't worry about the DoLS - it's just to keep your mum safe as it gives the staff permission to stop her leaving if she tries to escape. (And also to have a locked door she doesn't know the code for.) Without it they would legally have to let her leave. It's a formality and most people in care homes have a DoLS in place.
What you say is very interesting. In fact, for the last 2 years she's been confused about where her 'home' is. Sometimes saying that she'd just moved into her flat and still had to unpack (she'd been there 4 years; sometimes not believing her flat was her home until we took her around and showed her that it was full of her things ("Well, who put them here?" She'd ask!) and more recently asking to go back to where her children are living (We're 57 and 58!)

Thank you. 😙😙
 

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
29
It took my mum a good couple of months to settle, we used a lot of 'love lies'. Theres a leak on the roof, the boilers broken, etc.
After a couple of months she just forgot and stopped asking.
It's still early days for you, and the lockdown must have made things tougher, but hang in there... x
We've told her I need surgery. I'm waiting for the results of my second biopsy. I must be the only person who wants surgery as she brought me up to be painfully honest at all times! Lol
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,410
Hi @Kerringtonjg, I moved mum to a care home over a year ago and she still hadn't settled last time I saw her, which was in March. Like your mother she was still living independently, but not eating properly, drinking with random men in the local pub and generally being a danger to herself. I moved her into care with the excuse there was work being done on her flats. It was totally against her will and she kept on trying to escape.
The home organised for a DoLS order as otherwise they couldn't have kept her there. I was concerned that she would be found to have capacity and would be allowed to leave. At the time she could sound very persuasive, but they decided that she didn't have the capacity and she stayed in the home. For several months she was trying to find a phone to engage either the police or a solicitor to get her out. Gradually her cognition has declined, and although she still talks about going home (or did when I last saw her) it was obvious last time a social worker talked to her she had no concept of where her home had been. She was talking about going to see her mum instead.
Look after you, you have enough on your plate at the moment. It may take a long time, but your mum is safe and well looked after, and that is the important thing.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,251
At 3 weeks, she's about par for the course.
She's safe, fed, warm and comfortable. (Not that it's appreciated!)
Time will help.

Bod.
 

Bikerbeth

Registered User
Feb 11, 2019
1,315
Bedford
My Mum went into a home last November. She stopped packing to come home early March. Most days now she tidies her room morning then again in the afternoon in preparation for leaving although she no longer says where she intends to go. However she is safe which she certainly was not in her bungalow. Mum is restless but would have been restless and in more danger in her own home.
You need time to look after yourself as you have enough on your own plate.
 

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
29
Hi @Kerringtonjg, I moved mum to a care home over a year ago and she still hadn't settled last time I saw her, which was in March. Like your mother she was still living independently, but not eating properly, drinking with random men in the local pub and generally being a danger to herself. I moved her into care with the excuse there was work being done on her flats. It was totally against her will and she kept on trying to escape.
The home organised for a DoLS order as otherwise they couldn't have kept her there. I was concerned that she would be found to have capacity and would be allowed to leave. At the time she could sound very persuasive, but they decided that she didn't have the capacity and she stayed in the home. For several months she was trying to find a phone to engage either the police or a solicitor to get her out. Gradually her cognition has declined, and although she still talks about going home (or did when I last saw her) it was obvious last time a social worker talked to her she had no concept of where her home had been. She was talking about going to see her mum instead.
Look after you, you have enough on your plate at the moment. It may take a long time, but your mum is safe and well looked after, and that is the important thing.
Thank you, Sarasa. It really helps to know that I'm not the only one going through this.

She's just had an independent capacity assessment from a doctor who doesn't know her. He concluded that she lacks capacity. Like you, I thought she'd be able to pull the wool over his eyes, because she can seem quite lucid at times.

I'm expecting to hear back from the DoLS team later this week.

Thank you.
 

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
29
My Mum went into a home last November. She stopped packing to come home early March. Most days now she tidies her room morning then again in the afternoon in preparation for leaving although she no longer says where she intends to go. However she is safe which she certainly was not in her bungalow. Mum is restless but would have been restless and in more danger in her own home.
You need time to look after yourself as you have enough on your own plate.
Thank you. I think mum will always be restless. I've lost count of the homes she's lived in. I think she has averaged a house move every two years! So no wonder she gets confused! That'd addle the brains of the most sane amongst us! But at least she's safe now. 👍
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
637
I concur with the wanting to go home theme.

Mummy has been in a CH for three years. She hasn't said it recently, but in times of stress she used to say she wanted to go home - when prompted this was her childhood home - a bungalow in Ruislip, with her long dead parents.
What she usually needed was reassurance. I think what she wanted to go back to was a time before dementia. This obviously and tragically cannot happen, I think the care home is the safest and most reassuring place for her.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
303
Thank you. I think mum will always be restless. I've lost count of the homes she's lived in. I think she has averaged a house move every two years! So no wonder she gets confused! That'd addle the brains of the most sane amongst us! But at least she's safe now. 👍
My parents moved a lot. I think they always thought they'd be happier somewhere else. My mum has been in her current care home for two years and has never really settled. She has times when she seems genuinely happy there and times where she most definitely is not! It's hard to take a day at a time but it seems the only way.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,281
I agree with other posters. It all sounds normal behaviour to me. My mother-in-law was in a care home in 2018 and was always telling my husband she was in a living hell asking to be taken out. The care home had a Facebook page and there she was in one of their photos smiling and taking part in the activities.......
 

Kerringtonjg

Registered User
Jan 24, 2017
29
I agree with other posters. It all sounds normal behaviour to me. My mother-in-law was in a care home in 2018 and was always telling my husband she was in a living hell asking to be taken out. The care home had a Facebook page and there she was in one of their photos smiling and taking part in the activities.......
That's great! Ours doesn't have a Facebook page, but I have thought about suggesting it! 😘
 

Hayley jane

Registered User
Apr 1, 2020
25
@Kerringtonjg . Hi we are 5 weeks in with my Dad and he’s hasn’t settled. Doing exactly the same thing, wanting to go home, offering the staff money to take him. When he was at home he wanted to go home every day , packing his books and odd bits of things. He had lived in his house for 50 years put spent ever day trying to go to another childhood home and if not that one the next house he used to live at, in fact anywhere other than his actual home. I really feel for you and it is distressing . I keep trying to console myself with the fact that wherever he is he would still want to go home. It appears to be common and you really are not on your own with this. I come here regularly to read everyone’s posts because it helps me when I’m struggling with it all. you Really must try and look after yourself , you have done all that you can to support your mum but there comes a time when we need professional help. It’s a huge change and will take time for us to adjust. Sending you strength and hugs. Take care
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,656
South coast
This desire to "go home" is almost universal in the later stages of dementia. I also think that they will want to "go home" where ever they are, because this desire to go home actually represents a state of mind rather than an actual place. What they are asking for is to go somewhere where they feel safe and can escape the confusion of dementia - which cannot happen, wherever they go, because they will just take the confusion with them.

Now your mum is in a care home @Kerringtonjg , she will be looked after and kept safe. She may, in fact, settle with time as she starts to feel safe in the care home. We all want our PWDs to be safe, looked after and happy, but the unhappiness is often internal due to the dementia, so sometimes we just have to settle for two out of the three.