Please can anyone share their experiences of how long it takes to settle into CH

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by SarahL, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012

    My Mum was sectioned into hospital end of Nov and went into her care home middle of December.

    She is very unsettled still and asks me all the time to go home. I feel so dreadfully guilty and the enormity of being a part of depriving her of her liberty still affects me so much. I try to comfort myself that she could not live safely alone in her house or that I could go on with how things had been over the years, but I sometimes think maybe there could have been a better alternative than the CH. Although it's a fantastic CH she seems much less advanced than most of the residents on her floor and she is often depressed and says she has nothing to live for. I go in every other day and have coffee and chats and have taken her out on a few occasions, although it's very difficult taking her back afterwards. It's also difficult every time I leave as she doesn't want to be left there and gets very confused.

    I just wondered if things do ease up after a while and what people's experiences are by comparison. Any information would be good.

    One good thing is that after all the years of abuse, Mum is very happy to see me now, hugs me a lot and tells me she loves me. She even calls me 'Mum' sometimes. I suppose I just want to know she'll eventually settle and she'll be happier. Maybe she needs some additional medication? I am also I think coming to terms with the fact that she'll never see her lovely house again, so am putting my emotions into the mix.

    Never easy.

    Thank you
  2. Rageddy Anne

    Rageddy Anne Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    That must be so very hard for you, and others with more experience than me will come along soon with suggestions.

    Some people have managed by telling a little white lie about the CH being just a temporary rest, "a little break just until you've built your strength up".
  3. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    #3 jaymor, Mar 19, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015
    Hello Sarah,

    Your problem is such a common problem but that makes it no less upsetting for you and your Mum.

    My husband was placed in an assessment unit. The first few weeks he constantly tried to get out, he never took his coat off and he walked around with his clothes tucked under his arms. Like you I found so heartbreaking. When he was not pacing he was standing at the door looking out which was where he was nearly every day at the time I visited. To see his face peering out if this small square glass window made me cry.

    Then one day I arrived and he was not at the door. I was told he was in the sitting room and there he was no coat on, sitting having tea and cake with one of the carers. From then on every day was easier and nine weeks later he transferred to a nursing home.

    Settlement will come for you, it could happen soon or take a while but hold onto the fact that your Mother now has 24 hour cover, is warm and looked after and above all safe. Once she becomes familiar with her surroundings and the carers she will feel better. It will never be home but is certainly the next best thing.

    When my husband entered the nursing home he was the fittest and I saw the other eight men as lost souls. Once we got to know them, a little of their life before dementia we saw their personalities and now they are part of our extended family and right characters who give us lots of laughs. Our one granddaughter said she now has 8 more granddads.

    My husband in the last two and a half years has progressed and he is now the most advanced and I know he is where he should be getting the care he needs and deserves.

    Life is never easy when you live with dementia, we have to adjust and accept.
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    My mother took ages to settle - it was longer than a few months. But there was no alternative - she needed 24/7 care and supervision and there was no other way it could realistically be provided.

    I was one of those who eventually made up all sorts of 'love lies' to let her think she would not be there for too much longer. Her short term memory was then so bad that she never remembered that I'd said much the same before.

    Ditto whenever I was leaving - I was just popping to the shops before they closed, or whatever - but I'd be back very soon. Again, her short term memory meant that within a minute or so she would have forgotten I'd been at all - as I soon had confirmed when I once nipped back for something I'd forgotten. She had no idea that I'd only just been.

    I do know what a very emotionally draining and guilt-ridden time it is. Please don't feel bad about using 'love lies' if your mother's short term memory will allow them. I do hope she will settle and be more content soon.
  5. Registered User

    Jan 16, 2014
    Witzend summed up exactly how it was/is for Dad, took him about 3 months to settle to a degree but still walks a lot looking to get out but not in an agitated way and a few times each visit asks me 'well if you are ready shall we go'? If he gets up to wander off while I am still there and comes back a few minutes later, often I can see he has forgotten that I am there and sometimes I sneak out then. Love lies are crucial for me in being kind to Dad to make any situation easier for him. I wonder though - Dad has mentally declined further in the 8 months he has been in the home - is it that he has accepted it in a conscious or sub conscious way or is it that it just shows that the illness is progressing and his understanding is even more limited and makes even less sense of things. Who knows!
  6. Pottingshed50

    Pottingshed50 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2012
    My heart goes out to you. We have all been there torn between wanting our loved ones looked after and that niggling thought in the back of your head that raises up every now and then and says to you, are you doing the right thing.

    We all seem to share the same experiences. Our Mum took , sorry to tell you about 2 years to settle, we had all manner of extremes of aggression, tantrums, trying to escape, escaping out of the front door when someone came in it and having to be brought back. Being taken for a walk with a carer in the early times whereupon Mum suddenly clung on for dear life to a fence outside a house and was screaming Police Police. People came out of their houses, thought Mum had been kidnapped you can imagine the scene. Luck would have it the Care Home is near to a school and the school was having a day where the police were there and the children were being taught about police matters in general, so the Manageress ran over to the police and told them what was going on and they came down the road to where Mum and a huge crowd had gathered. She went off into a police car like butter wouldnt melt and she was taken back to the Care Home. After that she had to be put on what they call a DOLS order which meant she could not leave the Care Home unless supervised with more than one carer. That went on for 6 months. Evenutally she has calmed down. Mind you now at 95 she spends most of her day in bed.

    We can laugh about it now but at the time I was mortified.
  7. Karjo

    Karjo Registered User

    Jan 11, 2012
    My mum was sectioned in early 2012, spent 9 months in assessment unit(never settled) followed by over a year in a nursing home(never settled) and was evicted, followed by another 8 months or so in an assessment unit( never settled and practically evicted ) and is now in another nursing home with one to care (following threat of eviction once again) for 6 months and still not settled. She's just not the settling down sort I suppose.
    She can be a sweetie sometimes believe it or not but still wants her life back. She cannot even talk now, not in any way that makes sense but can still put a complaint in and won't be pushed around or told what to do. its scary and depressing I know, but the truth of it is I think some don't settle until they give up. its this sort of character that is sectioned in the first place maybe.
  8. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    These responses are so reassuring thank you. The heartbreak and guilt are very muddling and painful emotions but I think with the short term memory so reduced and with the benefit of your experiences, I can take comfort knowing Mum cannot remember what she's saying or remembering, bless her. Every time I see her she says she thought she was never going to see me again! At least we all know we have done the best and right thing for our relatives in light of exceptionally difficult circumstances. Thank you again. My next big decision is when to sort out her house and belongings but I'm not quite ready for that yet.
  9. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012

    It sounds as though your Mum had a distressing time being moved around so much although it goes to show she can't seem to settle wherever she is. I hope you are ok as it is so upsetting for the close family member. I think on reflection this would be the case with my Mum too and if I moved her, it would be the same anywhere. I think you are absolutely spot on with your point about people not settling due to the character type that they are, it really made me think and actually feel comforted (in a strange way). Thank you, Sarah
  10. Beestie

    Beestie Registered User

    Jul 17, 2013
    I do hope your Mum settles soon for her benefit as well as your own. Reading the posts here I feel very fortunate with my own situation. Mum was sectioned at the beginning of December 2014 and spent 3 months in an assessment centre where on several occasions she had to be peeled off me when I was leaving (not the most pleasant of experiences). Mum was living 70 miles away and the assessment centre was a nightmare to get to with me being on the road for 7 hours (mainly because of city centre traffic and one-way systems) to spend one precious hour with her!

    I went into battle with health care and social services and got them to agree that as her only living relative (other than my own 2 sons) that I needed her in a care home near to me. I spent several weeks visiting care homes and as soon as I walked through the door of the one that I chose, I knew I had made the right decision. Mum has been there for just short of 3 weeks and already she is fairly settled.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm still asked at every visit if I've come to take her home but I have managed to persuade her to stay where she is on the basis that she's closer to me. For 29 years I visisted Mum once a month for an overnight stay and I know she missed me dreadfully.

    Now, because she's so much closer, I can call in after work on a Monday and a Thursday and we're able to sit and have a cup of tea and chat together about how our day has been. I can tell her about my day at work and she in turn tells me about her job and how busy she's been never having a minute to herself.

    She loves that I call in so regularly and that remains my selling point in convincing her to stay where she is rather than go home each and every time she asks. I do hope you're able to find a "selling point" that you can focus on.
  11. Pottingshed50

    Pottingshed50 Registered User

    Apr 8, 2012
    I am so pleased you have moved your Mum Beestie to be nearer to you, I do regret not moving mum up here with me but at 95 now and really mostly bedbound now it is all too late. It will always be my biggest regret. The times that she would have recognised me are gone, so please make the most of every visit as they are so precious. Give your Mum a cuddle from me.
  12. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    Beestie thanks for your story and I'm really glad it's worked well for you and your Mum. It does take the stress and pressure off when you can pop in, which is what I can do now too. I was going through some papers the other day and when I think back to all the stresses over the last 3/4 years I do feel some relief that Mum is in the CH. Although it is taking a while to process I do know (having looked back at all my paperwork) that Mum could not go back to the way things were, for mine and her sake, and I completely agree it is so lovely to sit and have a chat, tea and cake, discuss the day's activities and know that she's safe. My Mum is not quite so happy and busy as your Mum but as earlier said in this thread, I think it is Mum's personality and character traits anyway. Thanks everyone on here as I feel so much support and better after I've had an outpouring!
  13. Beestie

    Beestie Registered User

    Jul 17, 2013
    I'm sorry, I just re-read my post and realise I didn't make it clear that when Mum talks about her job and how busy she's been that she's talking about how she used to be, not how she is now. Mum never had any real interests or hobbies so I talk to her about my day at work knowing that it's a subject she can relate to and one that she can join in with.

    Before Mum was taken into hospital things were reaching crisis point. I was getting up to 20 phone calls a day from the police because Mum kept dialling 101 and telling them I hadn't come home from school and that I was missing. They didn't seem to understand that 5 minutes after she'd phoned them she had no recollection of having done so. I got to a point where I dreaded answering my phone as I knew it was going to be connected to Mum. Knowing she is safe, is eating regular meals, is being given her medication when she's supposed to take it, and is generally being well cared for has been such a huge relief. It's only now I'm beginning to realise just how stressful the situation had become.

    Enjoy the time you spend with your Mum and take comfort from the fact that you have acted in her best interests and your own sanity. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that self preservation is extremely important.
  14. SarahL

    SarahL Registered User

    Dec 1, 2012
    Thank you Beestie. Self-preservation is absolutely crucial. I used to get calls all through the day and night in the end from Mum until I was broken down by it all. I am exactly like you in that it is taking time to realise how stressful my life had become. Anyway, it really helps meeting people like you on here and I am happy that Mum is now loving me so much and looks forward to seeing me, after all the years where the disease made her hate me. All the best. Sarah

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