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New to care home


Registered User
Feb 11, 2021
Mum is new in a care home - would appreciate advice on what to expect.
How do you deal with them asking to come home, getting cross on the phone, to telling you odd things that are obviously not true. I have been told to agree - not challenge, to comfort and reassure - to try to find out what is the causes of any anxiety and soothe it if possible. But 9 times out of ten that means lying and I feel dreadful! I am big on truth and it is really difficult, I feel like I am manipulating her. It looks like the respite will need to be permanent and we will need to use her home to fund the care home - I cant tell her that her house is being used to pay for the home. I feel so guilty.

How do you get over these feelings of deceit?

It's early days and may get better but she has complex medical needs and dementia and I need to try to house my brother if we sell the house to pay for care so it's very complex anyway. Sometimes the phone calls are happy and she is content other times very much not the case. I already dreading phoning and she only been in a week! They sending this frail old lady to London hospital tomorrow for a neurology clinic investigating fluid on the brain - she will be distraught by the time she gets back to the home. Finding it all so upsetting.
Any words of wisdom?


Volunteer Moderator
Jul 14, 2006
It’s difficult but there comes a time when you can’t explain, you can’t reason, as much as you want your mum to understand she can’t. This is the time when you have to try to defuse your Mum’s anxiety. Memories go but feelings remain and whilst she is upset she most likely does not know why And that causes anxiety.

So it becomes what you need to do not what you want to do. When my husband mentioned going home I’d say something like we are waiting for the blood test results, the doctor wants to see how the medication is going. I wasn’t t telling him he would never go home, just that not right now. He would accept this far more than not accept and the stage soon passed once he was settled. The aim must be to keep your mum calm and as content as possible and if white/love lies are necessary then that’s the way to go. It’s not easy, it’s heartbreaking and hopefully this anxiety will pass but as sure as night follows day, it will be replaced by yet another anxiety. Take care.


Registered User
May 21, 2018
Hello @SMacGregor

This is hard. My mum is approaching the end now but, sInce she has been her current care home (4 years) she has been like a different person every day. She could be anything from literally screaming (and scratching) to sweet and happy as a lamb. The only advice I can offer is to make the most of the good days and try to forget the bad ones. As far the hospital visit goes, please take some comfort from the fact that, even if your mum is distressed (which she may not be) she is very unlikely to remember it. I remember a dreadful day in A&E with mum, after which she said she’d had a lovely day out. Someone told me years ago that mum’s dementia would be worse for me than it would be for her. I thought it odd at the time but now think they were probably right.


Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
High Peak
Yes, you have to tell lies. Perhaps consider your intentions when you do: you're not lying to her to be mean or to put one over on her or for personal gain. You are lying to avoid her worrying, getting anxious or upset. You are lying to help her settle in. You are lying because you love her and care very much about her wellbeing.

You are acting in her best interests.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
One of the big problems people with dementia have is the loss of understanding of what is wrong with them (its called anosognosia). Consequently, they often have no understanding of their true situation. So they worry about things that happen to them, but are unable to understand why they have happened. They need reassurance and comfort, but the truth does the opposite, because they are unable to accept the truth.

The only way that you can bridge this gap is to enter their reality. You cannot bring them back into real reality, you can only enter theirs. In order to comfort them and reassure them, you have to give explanations and assurances that fit their reality. In real reality, these explanations and assurances are not actually true, but in their reality the truth doesnt work. This is known as therapeutic untruths, often called on here "love lies".

We find this very difficult to do because we are taught to tell the truth, especially to our parents, but its an important technique to use. It does get easier with practise.


Volunteer Host
Apr 13, 2018
I’m another one who found not telling my mother the truth difficult. This was especially true while she was at home. I spent ages trying to get her to see that she deluded in her notion that her neighbours were stealing from her. All I did was upset her. My brother just ignored the problem and talked of other things.
You could do that, changing the subject but it’s probably best not to think of it as lying, but as a ‘therapeutic untruth’ to help your mum settle.

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