No recollection of visits

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Autumn16, May 22, 2016.

  1. Autumn16

    Autumn16 Registered User

    Feb 7, 2016
    I moved my mother into a CH near to me four weeks ago. Initially I visited daily but at the moment visit every other day. I take her out one day over the weekend; last Saturday the weather was good so we spent several hours in my garden, which was lovely. I did wonder how she would be visiting my house but she had no recollection of it and didn't recall ever staying there (it's 3 years since she stayed), but she was fine when I took her back to CH. Yesterday we went shopping then had lunch at my house. I needed her to sign a couple of documents and at this point she asked whether she'd ever go back to her own home again. She's asked me this lots of times over the past few weeks and I've explained benefits of where she's staying, which each time she realised is for the best. Yesterday it was different and while we were together she couldn't recall the CH at all, so when I took her back it was if she was going in for the first time! She did recognise it once we got inside the CH and to her room. Throughout her time in the CH, Mum doesn't recall any visitors (me or my brother), even the day after, and frequently says she feels empty (she said this a lot when living in her own house). The CH is great and I'm happy that she's being properly looked after and that she's being involved in activities etc. I felt pretty low last night but I wonder whether frequency of visits makes any difference - Mum is always pleased to see me so I tell myself that she benefits from frequent visits/trips out, even though she doesn't recollect them. I wonder whether the frequency of visits makes any real difference to her general sense of wellbeing if she can't remember them?
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Hi Autumn16
    I felt that as long as my dad enjoyed going out at that moment, then I would continue to take him on excursions, as I enjoyed them too - I didn't worry that he forgot them, he'd still had a pleasurable time and felt good - I was also happy to just sit in the home's garden with him, or play dominoes in the lounge; we didn't have to be out all the time
    I also don't feel bad that I don't visit him every day - I too am happy that he's well looked after and the staff care for him - his well being is not wholly my responsibility - and no-one is happy all the time - so I do what I can, and that is enough

    I did find that over the months, last year, dad didn't want to be out for so long, and began to be anxious that he didn't know the places we went to (that we'd been to regularly) - so gradually we went out less and for shorter times

    he went through a mix of not knowing the care home when we returned but not being bothered and settling back in OK, and not really wanting to go back in and asking where he was, that this was not his room ...
    so, sadly we reached the point where it was better for his anxiety levels not to go out on excursions
    he is happy sometimes to sit in the home's garden and enjoy the sun - sometimes he doesn't want to leave his room - he doesn't seem to have much sense of time passing, and shows no sign of knowing when I haven't visited - though, interestingly, if I have said the day before that I WILL visit the next day, he does often ask the staff where I am and why I haven't arrived, so I am careful about what I say to him

    so, my answer is, go with the flow - do what is comfortable for you - you'll see the signs if your mum is no longer getting any benefit from going out - and you'll know when you are no longer comfortable with taking her out - go out once week or fortnight or not - as long as your mum enjoys your visits, I doubt it has much impact on whether you go every day, every other, or every third ... you need some time to yourself, as well as mother/daughter time

    sorry to have rambled :)
  3. Maldives13

    Maldives13 Registered User

    Feb 4, 2014
    Hi Autumn 16.
    My Mum is in a care home as well - a year now! Must admit I still have problems accepting it but I believe that although your Mum may not remember the visit as such - I'm confident when you are there she feels your love and warmth.
    I also take my Mum out and bring her to my house for the day and she seems to enjoy them and gets a lot out of that.
    So I guess I'm a great believer in that the person with dementia knows your there at the time and will feel that love. So as long as it feels good for you and for her then carry on. Sounds like you are being a wonderful daughter and she is lucky to have you.
    I like you love taking Mum out and all the time she is enjoying that I will carry on. I also think there will come a time when she is not able to go out so I guess I'm making the most of it while she can go out.
    Take care x
  4. Autumn16

    Autumn16 Registered User

    Feb 7, 2016
    Thanks Shedrech - you're not rambling at all, I recognise so much of what you're experiencing. I do think going with gut instinct is best.
  5. Autumn16

    Autumn16 Registered User

    Feb 7, 2016
    Thanks Maldives13. I think I feel a bit guilty deep down and hope I'm not just trying to hang on to a part of her that has disappeared now. Whatever, time spent together will provide memories for me and comfort for her. xx
  6. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I agree with Maldives that dementia is about living in the moment - so if at that moment someone gets pleasure then that's enough, it is about letting go of our social programming which tells us how important memories are and just living in that one moment in time.

    It's a hard transition and we have to let go of all those ideas we were brought up to accept and treasure about building memories :( From what you say you have a lovely relationship with your mum and she enjoys your time together - treasure it xxxxxxxxxxx
  7. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    As long as either of you is getting something out of the visits/days out I'd continue doing it, it sounds very much like you both enjoy your time together so I'd definitely continue for as long as possible even though her enjoyment of the visits is transient you can remember them for ever.
    I see visitors to the unit my wife is in who get nothing out of the visits, the person they come to see doesn't recognise them or ignores the fact they are there, last Friday I saw a man come to visit his wife, he's a regular, I've met him may times, he sat down and started feeding his wife grapes, after a couple of minutes she got up and went to sit in a different chair he followed and a few minutes later she moved again, after this happened about 4 times he just broke down crying.
    The staff were on hand and took him off for a cup of tea and a talk, when he came back 20 minutes later he started to apologise to me for "getting so emotional":eek:
    It must be so hard to continue visiting when you get nothing back the way he does but he was back again the next day and I'll bet he'll be there today when I go and visit.
    Her enjoyment of your trips may only be for the now but during them her life is a better place, carry on making her happy.
  8. mymemories

    mymemories Registered User

    Apr 23, 2016
    Hi Autumn16, I found myself in a similar situation. I visit my Mum at her home (not a CH) and she doesn't remember how long I stay with her. I stayed with her 4 nights, 5 days last time but when saying goodbye she thanked me for coming for "this half a day" (bless her). I use to have her come and stay with me for respite but I was told it was taking her a couple of weeks to settle back in and her mood was very, very low. When we would return back to her home she wouldn't recognise it and struggled to remember where things were inside her home (i.e. the water dispenser, where the tea bags and sugar were etc. etc.) It took her a good few hours to get used to where these things were.

    I feel that my Mum's wellbeing has not been effected by her not visiting me at my home, but instead I visit her at her home. It is me that feels bad for her not visiting me! Although I still get the 2am telephone call to say good morning (she thinks it is daytime) I talk to her for a while and get her to go back to bed, but then I get the 6am call, the 8:30am call and about a further 15 throughout the day. She just likes to talk to someone as she feels lonely.... and I am that someone. I think sometimes it is our conscience that has a firm hold of our feelings towards our loved ones, I know that is true for me.
  9. Autumn16

    Autumn16 Registered User

    Feb 7, 2016
    Thank you Fizzie, also appreciate the relevance of the quote at foot of your message! xx
  10. Autumn16

    Autumn16 Registered User

    Feb 7, 2016
    Thanks Kevin. Think you're absolutely right.
  11. Autumn16

    Autumn16 Registered User

    Feb 7, 2016
    My memories - thank you!

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