New relationship in care home.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by greenpea, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. greenpea

    greenpea Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    57
    My dad has been in a care home for just over a year. For a few months now, he has been friendly with one of the lady residents. He is spending more and more time with her. Dad said that this lady is the only person in there he can have a decent conversation with and he has been very lonely since mum died a few years ago. We have been told by one of the carers that as long as it is just a friendship it's ok but if it gets serious, one of them will have to be moved to another care home. What are your thoughts on this please?
     
  2. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    2,740
    #2 fizzie, Jan 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2016
    My thoughts are that that is outrageous especially as your Dad has capacity enough to explain that this is his friend and he can talk to her. I guess they are protecting people who do not have any capacity but if both residents do then this would be completely stripping them of their rights. i don't know what the legal position is - i've seen a number of close friendships in care homes but how close I don't know! Someone will know.
     
  3. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,561
    North West
    My first thoughts entirely echo fizzie's. I'm finding it hard to believe that an organisation thinks it has the right to interfere with such a relationship simply because the two people involved are living with dementia. Of course, if there was any evidence of coercion of one person by another (if there were in this case it would surely have been mentioned) then there might have to be some intervention. but whether these two people are just good friends or decide to take things further they have the same rights as any other people. Good God! You'd think we'd travelled back in time a century or more.
     
  4. Padraig

    Padraig Registered User

    Dec 10, 2009
    1,039
    Hereford
    A total lack of common sense. It's apparent with that attitude these 'carers' have not been taught the consequences of their action: to make two people lonely and unhappy.

    At the closing of your Dad's and the lady's days they should be encouraged to make friends and have a happy and peaceful time.
    I would ask that 'carer': "How would you like to be told which person you are permitted to have a relationship with?"
     
  5. copsham

    copsham Registered User

    Oct 11, 2012
    593
    Oxfordshire
    That's terrible - as long as they are both mindful enough to make their own decisions and neither are disadvantaged why intervene. I suppose a potential problem is if one goes downhill and is not as respectful as now.

    The thought of them being seperated sounds awful. Imagine their only little ray of sunshine being lost. It does need careful oversight but nothing so dramatic. I suppose staff are worried about allegations etc.

    It sounds like a good discussion with officer in charge is called for - good luck.
     
  6. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    Mum.had numerous 'relationships"in the nursing home was fine with it. I did have a few problems with it.
    I am surprised at their reaction. I definitely got the impression new relationships especially with residents with dementia wasnt uncommon
     
  7. greenpea

    greenpea Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    57
    Thanks for your replies. You've all said exactly what I thought. My 2 sisters have POA and it was one of them who told me what the carer had said. I don't have a problem with my dad wanting company and wanting someone to have a decent conversation with. If it does go any further, I'd be ok with it. My sisters do seem to have a problem with it as my dad's friend isn't our mum. I think I need to have a word with someone at the care home myself.
     
  8. southlucia

    southlucia Registered User

    Dec 19, 2011
    166
    Ii believe if both parties have the cognitive ability to consent, and are not married, then it's no-one else's business.

    A couple of years ago, my dad, deemed to have no cognitive ability,( which I agreed with) had a female resident fixated on him. She was early stage. He went along with her idea of their relationship, because I believe he thought she was someone from his past. The carehome called a meeting, to ask me if I was okay with this (?). What could I say! I wasn't his keeper, but at the same time I knew it was wrong, due to my dad's dementia.
    The carers allowed them to share a room on occasions. The outcome wasn't good!

    It really does depend on the level of cognitive understanding
     
  9. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    11,477
    West Midlands
    #9 2jays, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
    Whilst I agree "new relationships" can be a good thing

    In our experience the "new relationship" turned into a nightmare for mum and both families.

    Mum took responsibility for her new male friend within one week of meeting each other, which turned into supposed marriage to each other for over 20years the next week which caused no end of problems over Christmas when they were "separated" when each went to their own families celebrations

    "as they were married" he thought he should have his marriage rights one night, forced himself on mum, which mum didn't want or like, so hit him, hard, thus him needing hospital treatment.....

    They were both considered early stage. Him with Alzheimer's mum with vascular dementia.

    The care home did nothing to stop this relationship continuing, even though It was causing mum a lot of distress.

    We moved her to a new care home where "relationships" were so closely monitored, they didn't cause distress to either party, but could be safely enjoyed.






    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  10. greenpea

    greenpea Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    57
    My sister did say what if one of them eventually forgets they are in a relationship. It's a difficult one because it could be quite traumatic for both if they are separated. Dad has been told by my sister (don't know if the carers have said anything to him) that they can be no more than friends but he says he's an adult and will do as he pleases and that they are only friends.
     
  11. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    There's the world of difference, IMO, between a close friendship and an intimate relationship as soon as lack of capacity is part of the mix.
     
  12. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    Yes, I think care homes worry about sex rearing its head, especially since relatives have been known to become extremely upset on finding out that their loved one has been found in a 'compromising position' when they have previously been deemed to lack capacity.

    I have heard of a man's family being asked to move him, since he could not understand or remember that a sexual relationship with a particular resident was off limits.
     
  13. 2jays

    2jays Registered User

    Jun 4, 2010
    11,477
    West Midlands
    My thoughts to this and our experience

    A good care home can deal with any form of what is considered inappropriate behaviour be it sexual, shouting......

    It's sadly the fact that there are very few care homes that are truely dementia friendly. I gloat - not a nice thing to do I know, but I still gloat that the care home mum is in now is almost the best place

    Almost..... Nothing is perfect in dementia land is it xx




    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  14. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,561
    North West
    Another way of looking at the whole issue, and it can be applied to many other areas, is whether the fact that the two people involved are living with dementia inevitably means that there are different rules that should be applied to them by people who aren't living with dementia and therefore know 'better'. Many people not living with dementia get themselves into relationships which their 'loved ones' and others deem ill-advised, misunderstand what the other person in the relationship really wants, abuse the other person mentally and physically sometimes to the point of murder, and generally make their close relatives very unhappy.

    As I've said previously, where any line should be drawn is surely where coercion enters the picture and not where things becomes physical, just as in any other relationship between two people. It may be difficult to prove coercion, and such a reltionship may upset other people, become embarrassing to other people. make life complicated - all things that can happen when any relationship between any two human beings develops.

    Take a situation where two people in a care home living with dementia and having no living family develop a relationship which becomes physical. Is that 'acceptable'?

    I'm not sure either whether the 'capacity test' helps. People can easily disagree about capacity, which is a slippery concept at the best of times.
     
  15. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    Article about this issue:

    http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2011/03/18/dementia-and-sex-the-last-taboo/

    One of the challenges that can cause most concern for care staff, families and friends is when a new relationship begins in a care home. This may involve one resident with dementia and one without, or two residents with differing degrees of dementia. Added to this complexity, the resident with dementia may already have a partner who does not live in the care home.

    It is perhaps all too easy to assume people with dementia are not capable of forming new intimate relationships; however, as long as the person with dementia is able to make decisions about their life, then their decisions should be respected.

    Matters become more complicated, however, when one or both of the residents with dementia may not have the mental capacity to consent to sexual relations.

    As residents with dementia are open to abuse, it is essential to carry out a capacity assessment, in accordance with the Mental Capacity Act 2005. This will need to consider issues such as whether the resident with dementia recognises the person they are having the relationship with; whether they can express their views and wishes within the relationship, or how they will be affected by rejection.

     
  16. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,561
    North West
    This AS factsheet is worth a read. There is a section that discusses sex in care homes.
     
  17. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,085
    Brazil
    My mom had a lot of boyfriends on CH.

    If her BF is not on her sight she finds another one.

    Now that she doesn't walk it is easier to staff to check what is going on.

    The CH is short staffed. And I know staff hate to clean residents after sex. (There were some gossiping and after 6 years I can ask them anything) So they work to avoid it.

    On medium stage, careers used to walk them making them help with others residents, so they were monitored 24/7.

    I have met some BF family. I'm usually ok with hugs and kisses if HE is not married. I am not ok with pulling/pushing/screaming, neither with dancing (without a career holding them to not fall) nor with interfering with care.

    Of course if my mom had conscience of her acts I think she would still be mourning my dad.
     
  18. greenpea

    greenpea Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    57
    Just an update. I arrived at the care home to find my dad in his friend's room, down on his knees talking to her then as I was about to knock, he leaned forward to kiss her. I walked back down the corridor to give them a minute. A couple of the carers came over so I asked what their policy was. They said as they both had capacity and were both consenting adults, they wouldn't do anything. If anything more than a kiss and cuddle was going to happen, then they had been told that the door must be closed. Things will be reviewed every now and again.
     
  19. stanleypj

    stanleypj Registered User

    Dec 8, 2011
    10,561
    North West
    It sounds as though they have a sensible thought-through policy, doesn't it?
     
  20. greenpea

    greenpea Registered User

    Aug 12, 2014
    57
    Yes it does Stanleypj. I'm happier about it now. After being told by a family member that we should discourage it or one of them would need to move to another CH, I realise that it was the family member who didn't like my dad having another relationship as it wasn't my mum who we lost a few years ago.
     

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