Relatives abandoning Mum now she's in a home.

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Kittyann, Aug 18, 2015.

  1. Kittyann

    Kittyann Registered User

    Jun 19, 2013
    After caring for my Mum at home for several years her dementia finally deteriorated to the point where, after her spending five weeks in hospital following a mini stroke where it looked like she was going to die, the medical team told me that if she did survive it would be impossible for me to look after her at home anymore. Anyway with great reluctance I agreed and luckily managed to get Mum into a really good care home. She settled in well and has improved hugely physically (in hospital she simply would not eat, now she is eating really well and even able to get out of bed with just the help of two assistants instead of the hoist) although her mental decline is obviously irreversible.

    But to get to the point ... I'm finding it terribly hard to get used to her being there and what has really added to the hurt is that my two cousins and aunt who have previously been very supportive have only been to see her once since she went into the home nearly two months ago. It's as though they've now just abandoned her. I know she may not recognise them but she is still her if you know what I mean and this has really upset me. I don't want to say anything as they've been very good in the past but it is really difficult.

    Has anybody else experienced anything like this?,
  2. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I have never experienced that.

    But have read on Talking point that it does happen .

    Can understand how hurtful it must feel for you .

    May be ease for me to say .

    How I think is ... As long as your mother has your love care nothing else in the world matters . xx
  3. cragmaid

    cragmaid Registered User

    Oct 18, 2010
    North East England
    #3 cragmaid, Aug 18, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
    My late Mum's social life revolved around her Church. When she became unable to go to church, one or two people continued with their contact but the rest....the majority...were not seen for dust. Mum had four nephews and one niece. One of the males couldn't bring himself to visit...he didn't want to distress himself seeing his darling auntie like that!!

    I didn't want to see my Mum like that either...but I got on with it.

    Their loss.

    Love Maureen.x.
  4. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    If you and your Mum are lucky, these relatives will only be "catching breath" for a bit and will start visiting your Mum's new home shortly.

    You might encourage them to do so by awaking their curiosity (through "casual" but positive comments about how attractive the home is, especially the garden!) and by making visiting sound easier than they perhaps think it is (eg the new home is so easy to get to you can just drop by for a 10 minute chat; and the staff are quick to offer visitors a cup of coffee and scrumptious cakes).

    I think many people still expect care homes and nursing homes to be dismal, unwelcoming, sad and smelly places. Doing what's possible to remove any unnecessary fears and out of date assumptions that your relatives have might just result in more visits for your Mum.
  5. Kittyann

    Kittyann Registered User

    Jun 19, 2013
    It's not that because they've been once and professed it a lovely place - which it is. They've just not been back. I have tried dropping subtle hints and they keep saying they will go and see her. They just never do. So now every time they ask me how she is I'm biting back saying well why don't you go and see her and find out for yourself. The home is only a few minutes drive from where they live

    The thing is they were supportive before so I feel I shouldn't really be so angry with them but it's hard. My Mum is still alive but it's as though now she's in a home they've effectively buried her.

    When you don't expect much of people you just brush it aside but when people you really thought would be there suddenly behave like that it's a real blow.

    But I'm very emotional at the moment so maybe I'm making too much of it.
  6. joggyb

    joggyb Registered User

    Dec 1, 2014
    You have my sympathy. It's hard enough for you as it is, without the lack of support as well.

    Sadly, it's a familiar situation to me. My father went into a care home (again, very nice, beautiful gardens, etc), last October. He had a huge circle of friends, and lots of close family, including his 2 brothers and their families.

    Since last October, only 2 friends have visited, and his 2 brothers have been just once this year. I can't tell you how close they were before all this happened. I have always looked upon them as exemplary family down the years - incredibly loving, loyal, and supportive.

    But now I simply don't know what to think. Happily, his 2 sisters-in-law (my deceased mother's sisters) have been rays of light in this time. Although they live over an hour and four hours away respectively, they visit nearly every month/six weeks. In their view, even if Dad doesn't know who they are, they don't want to abandon him. They visited only last weekend, and although he couldn't say their names or say anything other than gobbledygook, Dad seemed really, really happy to see them, and was 'chatty' and obviously very content during their visit.

    It's just so sad that others in the family don't understand the value of a visit to Dad, even if they themselves don't get much out of it.

    I can't offer any words of wisdom or help, though - just understanding as to how upsetting it can be. If your relatives simply won't visit, then all I can suggest is you just focus on you and your mum, and try to make your time together the very best it can be. If/when your relatives ask about her, just keep it brief and factual, so that you don't get too emotionally invested. Easier said than done, though, I know!
  7. Suzanna1969

    Suzanna1969 Registered User

    Mar 28, 2015
    My parents' few remaining relatives have abandoned them even though they are still in their own home. Dad is the eldest of his cousins and Mum's siblings are gone to it's just her nieces left. My Dad misses company very much and the lack of stimulation is having an effect on both of them. I've tried to get them involved in social groups but Dad's very limited mobility means it's difficult and Mum gets very tearful just before we go out and sometimes we have to cancel at the last minute, so people visiting them at home would be the best way for them to socialise.

    I feel so angry that they've just been forgotten, especially as I remember when we were kids and we all used to have days out together, with Dad organising the trip and Mum bringing a home made picnic for everyone. I hope these people think back on this when the time comes for them to be left lonely and forgotten. I sure as heck won't be there now!
  8. Singing Friend

    Singing Friend Registered User

    Nov 5, 2014
    It can be very hard being the "other" relatives, and maybe they are uncertain just how much they should do now, and even how much you want them to be involved. They might be thinking that you don't need, and perhaps don't want, quite so much contact now. You'll never know if you don't ask though! Perhaps you could encourage them to visit - when they ask say "yes, please do visit". You could ask them to let you know how they think your mum is doing there. Talk to them about her, and encourage them to be involved even if it's not so much as you would have liked.
  9. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    Is it possible that your relatives were supporting you more than your mum while she was at home. Now she has moved into a lovely care home they are feeling they need a breather and she is being cared for 24/7 so all is good. Maybe gently say how much YOU would benefit from knowing that your mum has her spirits lifted by having a short visit by them. If you try and do it very positively you hopefully may get somewhere. However sometimes I find being nice but totally honest about my feelings is the best way. Like someone said to me, what the worst that could happen??? If I can deal with that then go for it. X
  10. Onlyme

    Onlyme Registered User

    Apr 5, 2010
    I've been told they don't go as they want to remember them as they were, they won't remember them or when they popped in just after lunch that person was asleep so there is no need to go again.

  11. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    So sad isn't it? Somehow you'd think members of a church would have more compassion, but this was exactly what happened with my mum's church. I still feel bitter about that.

    It was one reason I decided it was better for mum to move a care home near me rather than in her home town, at least that way I would know she would see one of us often.
  12. Kittyann

    Kittyann Registered User

    Jun 19, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your responses. It is helpful at least to know I'm not alone in this as in so many other difficulties when it comes to trying to get through everything this dreadful illness generates.

    I've done everything suggested here bar actually tell them how upset I am on Mum's behalf that they've abondoned her now she's in a home but to no avail.

    I'm very reluctant to bring it to a confrontation because they have been great over the years. It's just that their behaviour at this point is so upsetting largely because it was so unexpected. And I don't think I will ever be able to put it out of my mind because I just know Mum would not have done it to them if the positions were reversed.

    I think that's what's really breaking my heart. She was such a good person who supported so many people through difficult times and now when she is the one suffering there doesn't really seem to be any of them there for her. it's just so sad. She deserves better.
  13. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    I wonder whether your auntie and cousins have some troubles of their own at the moment that you are unaware of? I suggest this because I wanted to go to visit my elderly neighbour who was in a home after having a bad stroke - I'd visited her previously in two hospitals and the home when she was first admitted, but then became bogged down with other troubles in my own family and just couldn't face visiting my neighbour as well as juggling everything else.

    It does seem strange that people who were previously very supportive have suddenly stopped being so, so perhaps there is a genuine reason for it.

    I do hope everything sorts itself out in time.
  14. Kittyann

    Kittyann Registered User

    Jun 19, 2013
    No there's no reason for it. Nothing has happened in their life to explain it. I guess they think that because she now won't recognise them it doesn't matter whether they go to see her or not. And maybe it doesn't but to me it's not about that. Mum still loves to see people even if she doesn't always know who they are.

    To be honest this more than anything has been the final straw for me and brought me to the brink of despair. I've spent the last three evening crying my eyes out about it. To the extent that I just feel crippled with anger and sadness.
  15. Kjn

    Kjn Registered User

    Jul 27, 2013
    I think you need to speak to them and find out why they havnt been and what their thoughts are. You need to tackle this as its eating away at you not knowing their reasons, your feelings will escalate unless you can talk to them.
    If they say why giving their reasons then you can't make them go, there is no point continuously dwelling on it though and making yourself I'll in the process.

    I do hope you can sort things out and find some peace in your mind xxxx K
  16. chris53

    chris53 Registered User

    Nov 9, 2009
    Hi Kittyann, am so sorry you feel so sad, so many people just bury their heads in the sand when an illness comes along, maybe it's their way of coping and because someone is in a "care home" that's it, my mum in law is in care now, and sadly her step daughter does not pop and see her or her "best friend" because they feel she is being looked after, the fact that mum in law was being well looked after whilst she was in her own home and needed to have 24/7 care after frequent falls seems to slip their minds, she doesn't recognise my husband or myself anymore but seems to like to see us, she thinks my husband is her he goes along with that, funny enough though she recognises our dog! maybe when the time is right you could have a gentle chat with your aunt and say it would mean so much not only to your mum but to you,if mum was still included in her life:eek:
    Take care
  17. miggie

    miggie Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Kittyann, I too went through this and appreciate the way you are feeling.
    Prior to my Mother moving to her care home, my cousin visited Mum at least twice a week.
    However, during the two years Mum was in the home, my cousin went to see her just twice ( this home was no more than half a mile from said cousin's house).
    I had the usual excuses such as "she didn't want to see her like that" or "she found it upsetting". I was even told there was trouble parking so she didn't want to risk driving there! I never had any problem parking and it would have taken her no more than 10 minutes to walk.
    I never understood the reason for her behaviour and I never confronted her about it.
    Please try not to let it upset you - it just isn't worth your time.
    As long as you see your Mum whenever you want to and are happy with her care then that's all that matters.
  18. marsaday

    marsaday Registered User

    Mar 2, 2012
    Hi KttiyAnn,

    I must say I have come to expect very little from my cousins. They show their faces about twice a year if that. And they were happy to use my Mum when they needed help with their own mum. Often my Mum gave up her weekends to go and stay with her and she was not an easy woman to look after. Often nasty and belligerent to my mum.
    It makes me very cross.
    But I have to accept that they have their own lives and problems. If only I could rely a bit more on my own brothers who only show up about once a month.That leaves just me to do most of the visiting.
    As for old friends - I don't think any have been to visit in the 3 odd years that she has been in care home.

    Best of luck
  19. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    Had similar. Think we just have to accept that most people will not willingly visit a care home unless they have to.

    When my mum first went into respite it was eye-opening. There was someone who walked around and bumped into her chair all the time (which made her really angry) and someone else undressed themselves in the lounge in front of everyone. I did find it hard and I understand people will just avoid situations that upset them. In the end you get used to the care environment but it does take time.

    I know that most of us don't feel we can just say "I'm not going, it's too upsetting" or "I'd rather remember her as she was" but lots of people can and do justify it to themselves in this way, or with other reasons. Selfishness or self-preservation? Some people can't handle hospitals either. Maybe people can't handle the thought "that could be me in future"?

    In my mother's final care home we had to sign in and out. For maybe 20 residents we were the one of a few families who visited regularly (my brother once a week and me twice) and some days I would go and see my name was still on the same or next page from when I last went, which was incredibly sad.

    It is maybe ignorance that people don't realise how much difference a few minutes makes to someone who rarely has any conversation in their day.
  20. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    I agree with Kjn. And to be honest, I still wonder whether there's something going on that you are simply unaware of. A health scare with one of them, for instance. Are the two cousins sisters, and your aunt their mother? Perhaps there's something they're not sharing with you that involves all three of them.

    If as you say there is nothing at all, then maybe they simply feel that they've done their bit and can step back now that your mum is in a home and being looked after, in their eyes.

    I'm so sorry, if this is the case, and I hope they will eventually start to visit her socially again once they've had the break that they maybe feel they need. It's very hard on you, I know, and very perplexing from your point of view.

    Big hugs xx

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