Outings - to go or not to go?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Kriss, May 31, 2004.

  1. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Aunt seems to have settled to some degree in her residential home even though she has her moments and took some friends on a tour of the locked garden gates the other day!

    The problems with communication continue to cloud other issues - she is trying to talk more - probably because of all the company and opportunities - but we are understanding less at each visit (apart from the raised eyebrows that appear to indicate a "you're not much help" type of response).

    My question is this: Should we risk upsetting her routine by taking her outside the grounds for a walk or perhaps even out to lunch though I know this would present another set of difficulties? One of her fiercest concerns when the word "home" was raised some months ago was that she didn't want to be shut away and once again the guilt word is back in my ramblings as I feel this is just what has happened.

    We are concerned that it will put back the settling in process and that is the last thing we want to do. It is still early days and only just over a week since she rang the police in the early hours of the morning presumably to summon help!

    Any comments and suggestions welcome.

    Kriss
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Kriss

    ah, there's never a single simple answer to any question!

    "but we are understanding less at each visit " - I find that I can use the intonation of what Jan says to me to make a guess at a 'sensible' response, even if I have no idea of what we are supposed to be discussing. That works 75% of the time. If she says something that requires a response and it is not a question, then I find "Really?" seems to work. Sounds daft but she seems to accept that as an adequate reply to many things. Other times "Is that OK?" will elicit a clear negative or positive response of some kind from her.

    Sounds banal, but at least it shows I am trying to maintain a conversation and she seems to appreciate that.

    You ask "Should we risk upsetting her routine by taking her outside the grounds for a walk or perhaps even out to lunch ". Frequently people find that it is the return to the home that causes concern - refusal, etc, but I would guess it is worth trying it once to see the result. Any aspect of normality is worth trying, if it is only to set your own mind at rest.

    A bad day for me to talk about guilt - it is the third anniversary today of the day I took my Jan into the assessment centre, from which she never returned!

    Good luck and please keep us up to date with what you decide, and the results.
     
  3. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Thank you Bruce

    just had a conversation with one of her closest friends and decided to give it another 2-3 weeks then reconsider a walk. He has offered to come along as well so I will have support and we can use my husband as another back up with the car just in case! So much planning for the simplest of operations!
     
  4. kareng

    kareng Registered User

    Feb 5, 2004
    17
    Bristol
    Hi Kriss,

    I have always included outings in my visits to my mum - from the very earliest stages. Some things have been mistakes - going shopping or out for a pub lunch were just too stressful for both of us so we never did them again. But, walks and car rides and even occasional trips home to my house (which is new, so she doesn't really have any personal memories of it) for lunch or to sit in the garden and stare at the flowers are still always well received, I think. My mum becomes brighter, more communicative and smiles a lot more when she's out and about. Sometimes I have wondered whether I'm taking her out because I hate being in the home or because it does her good... but I think it's a bit of both and I don't think that's a bad thing.

    It's horses for courses though. You have to find what suits you and your Aunt.

    My mum has been in the home for nearly a year now and still occasionally mentions that she 'hopes she won't be there forever'. Guilt is ever-present, but you have to tell yourself - and believe it - that you are doing the best you can for her. You are, you know.

    karen
     
  5. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Thanks Karen

    we're going to give it a try soon. Will post an update after the event!

    Kriss
     
  6. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Success!

    A somewhat belated update but had trouble posting messages recently.

    It went very well! We (2 friends and myself) took Aunt for a walk - about a third of a mile from the home along a footpath onto a "promenade" enjoyed an ice cream, took some photos and then walked back. I'd taken a few sandwiches and snacks ready so we had something to go back for. Hubby wasn't far away in the car in case she weakened but physically she left us all standing - it must be all that walking she does around the home!

    I'm hoping to attempt a shorter walk with the dog and less backup soon - weather permitting.

    Kriss
     
  7. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Kriss,

    I'm glad it worked out well. Sometimes AD sufferers get frantic if they are out of their immediate comfort zone at home.

    My father loves going out in the car or for walks, but my mother freaks out. This makes life pretty difficult, as she also panics if my father isn't in the same room with her. So splitting them up is very difficult, even for 15 minutes. We've had some wild trips, with my mother weeping and wailing in the car and my father/myself trying to placate her and enjoy an outing. Not easy.

    Leaving her at home with the carers whilst I take Dad out has meant that the poor carer is stuck with my mother, who really puts on a turn. I suspect it's a bit of an act sometimes. My father was speaking to his brother on the telephone the other day and my mother really created a big scene because she wasn't getting his undivided attention, even though he was in the same room!

    Still, I can't sacrifice one to help the other.

    Good luck with the outings. Just play it by ear, as sometimes it will work and perhaps sometimes not.

    Best wishes, Jude
     
  8. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Kriss,

    We took the oldies out for a fairly lengthy trip today - see my post on 'my posts'. It worked a treat. Sometimes it's not so succesful, but keep on trying. I feel that if the oldies get stuck at home all the time, then they will become so agrophobic that even taking them a short distance away from home will become a nightmare.

    Jude
     
  9. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Thanks Jude

    we will be trying to repeat the exercise again shortly. I still take her dog to see her every week (the dog by the way seems to have all the symptoms of AD - sundowning, incontinence, confusion etc but thats another story) and usually we spend most of the visit in the gardens with dog as the easy talking point. I'm just working up to the idea of taking them both out but am a little cautious about my ability to manage both of them if they decide to go in opposite directions! Perhaps you can advise on how you cope with Mum and Dad when they are on different wavelengths?!?!? I may need to apply the same principles!

    Kriss

    ps good to see your posting average is back up - welcome back!
     
  10. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Kriss,

    Take two long pieces of elastic. Tie firmly around the necks. Wrap the remaining end around your hands and hold on tight....

    No seriously - the oldies aren't so much of a problem as my Mother is terrified if Father is out of sight. This is a bonus when I take them out. It's not such a bonus at home, as the poor old chap can't even go to the loo in peace, without her pounding on the bathroom door and wailing. We have to stage manage loo visits for my father in this house...!

    It sounds like the dog is lonely and pining. Perhaps it will be more manageable when reunited with it's mistress. You don't say how old the dog is or whether it's large or small, but if it's young and boisterous, then you're in for a difficult trip. Is there somebody who could accompany you on an outing for the first couple of times? You may have more trouble with the hound.

    I'd love to have a dog again. I seem to be much more patient with animals than I am with humans for some reason. When I lived in Oz, I had a farm with 3 horses, 2 goats, 10 cows, several dozen chooks, a cat and two 'labradogs'. It was wonderful...!
     
  11. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Thanks Jude

    the dog is "aged" but was my Aunts life, particularly since she lost her husband 4 years ago. Physically shes not great and I worry about putting her through the weekly car trip - 100 mile round trip - to visit with me.

    Mentally, I guess the early months of this year took a toll on her as she would have been unable to understand why the routine fell apart and with hindsight we realise that she suffered from maybe not getting out when she wanted to (probably at the cost of her now having regular accidents) and from maybe not eating as she should have, though I think the dog did better on the food front than Aunty!

    Tam's settled well enough with my own dog. He's an idiot, quite young, and big and bouncy but also is very respectful of his new senior "friend" whereas she's small, dainty and gentle. He eats everything he can find inside and outside the house but she has to be cajoled and coaxed to even take a taste. What a mismatch! She's not very keen on my horses either and will NOT go out of the back door onto the yard - only onto the front lawn. Every evening she spends a couple of hours constantly wandering back and forwards but it does not appear related to needing to go out or to be fed (I am sure that there is some psychic link between dog and owner and they are mirroring each others behaviour).

    Its odd because when they get together they almost ignore each other? Already on one occasion Aunty related the news that the dog had died to one of her visitors a few days after we had been but I guess thats just the memory problem. I took a photo a couple of weeks back, framed it and hung it in her room and since then I haven't had any further reports of her getting upset because she was worried who was looking after Tam though that may have been an excuse for not wanting to be in the home?

    Will find some elastic! Aunt and dog both have a good turn of speed and the dog suffers selective deafness!

    Thanks again Jude

    Kriss
     
  12. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Kriss,

    Not only is Tam mirroring your Aunt's behaviour, she/he is also severely miffed and upset about being parted from her. The fact that they are ignoring each other seems to indicate this.

    I recall when I went away from the farm for a couple of weeks' holiday I got the 'cold shoulder' for days afterwards, particularly from the dogs. They just stuck their noses in the air and stalked past me. Occasionally, they'd forget and rush to meet me, then remember that I was person non grata, and slide to a halt and resume their air of haughty indifference. I felt like I'd been slapped!

    I suppose the Nursing Home doesn't allow pets? I've always thought that animals were a great source of comfort to oldies and should be an integral part of a Nursing Home. Probably more boring old rules from the Health Department....

    Good luck with the outings. Keep in touch so that we can find out if you get in a tangle. How many horses do you have?

    Jude
     
  13. Kriss

    Kriss Registered User

    May 20, 2004
    513
    Shropshire
    Hi Jude

    sadly the residential home cannot cope with pets though they do encourage me to take Tam in to visit and the handyman has a big black lab who is usually on site. I can see their point of view though as she can be pretty lethal creaping quietly up behind you and Mum has come very close to falling over her on numerous occasions - and then there are the little "accidents"...

    2 horses with very few miles on the clock over the last few years due to circumstances. They are always the first to be set aside when "life" gets complicated. Just managed to loan one to a friend and pleased to say it seems to be working out well - they are now in their teens and I am beginning to refer to them as the "oldies" - don't want their joints to start seizing up through lack of exercise!

    Will update on the outings!

    Kriss
     
  14. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Kriss,

    It's really hard to find time to do anything but look after the oldies isn't it?

    As I said, I'd love a dog [or a cat] here, but I'm afraid that the parents would trip over them too. A broken hip would be the end of them...! Mum has trouble walking on the lawn, but she's fine on a flat surface. I always have to watch that they don't wrap themselves around chair legs, let alone a pet. The constant anticipation of potential danger zones is very tiring. Never mind. I still think that my constant attention is better than any care that they'd get in a Home just now.

    Best wishes, Jude
     

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