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Respite stay didn’t work


Registered User
Sep 10, 2017
Hi everyone, dad goes to a local home for day care 4days a week (9-4pm). They have been trying to increase his time there to eventually try respite over night. Last night was the first time they’ve tried to keep him and it failed, we had to pick him up at midnight.
They rang a couple of times to ask for advise as he would not go to bed and was going into other residents room and waking them up. He wouldn’t take his hat and coat off so he was hot and sweating. He was trying to get out and talked about mum constantly, becoming frantic as he couldn’t find her. He wouldn’t sit down or rest and started to get aggressive. The behaviour wasn’t really the reason they called us to pick him up, they were genuinely concerned about his wellbeing. Sadly dad is like this at home too, he rarely goes to bed and spend most of the night wondering. He also doesn’t know mum most of the time so still becomes distressed because he can’t find her.
My question is what happens now? Our mental health nurse has in the past said she didn’t think respite would work and once we’d tried it she could then arrange for dad to go into hospital. Is this sectioning? If it is can we stop it? I don’t want dad taken away. I fear they will just drug him up and break what spirit he has left.
Any experience/ advice please x

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
I fear they will just drug him up and break what spirit he has left.
I don`t think it will be as bad as you think @Dilouise

Your dad is obviously in an acute state of anxiety and fear and it`s not fair to him to choose to let him continue in this way.

I don`t think any doctor takes sedative drugs lightly and if your dad was offered a small dose, perhaps it would help calm him.

My son always reasoned , if he had a headache he would take something to ease the pain. If his dad was anxious and frightened something gentle to calm him was acceptable.


Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
My mum has been in her care home for six months and spends most of her time walking around in her coat and hat. After being very unsettled she is now much calmer and I think we will eventually manage to get her to take them off. It now seems more of a habit than the sign that she wanted leave immediately that it was when she was first there. The memory clinic and GP have prescribed half a lorazepam every other day to take the edge of her anxiety, and the carers are monitoring her carefully as they don't want to change her personality. I think if your dad went somewhere for respite or permanently where they can cope with his behaviour he will settle eventually.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
My mum was another one who was up all night and most of the residents were in and out of each others rooms, but it did not faze the staff, who coped with it admirably.

I think the problem is that this care home is not able to meet his needs, but that does not mean that there isnt a care home that will. The problem is that many care homes only want the early, easy stages of dementia and once it progresses they do not know how to deal with it.

I would suggest that you look at other places, be upfront and honest about your dads behaviour and ask them how they would deal with it (woolly answers probably mean that they have little experience) and what sort of behaviour they would not tolerate. This will help to rule out the ones that would not be suitable.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
North West
If someone needs to be sectioned under the MHA then there is little you can do to stop it. Not everyone admitted to a specialist unit is held under section, so you need to clarify what they mean by admission to a faciltiy and whether that will mean sectioning.

I am an avid disliker of sedatives because often they are used for the wrong reasons, but in your dads case I am inclined to agree with @Sarasa and @Grannie G. A small level of sedative would be useful in helping your poor dad calm. Think of this from his point of view, constantly in a high state of anxiety not knowing what is happening even when he is at home and not being able to rest or have some calmness in his world, his thoughts continually racing as he tries to make sense of the world.

@canary has raised some valid points about care homes, some aren't geared up to more advanced stages of dementia and it may be that you need to search for one that will accept your dad and know how to care for him.

Its awful for you to have to cope with this and your poor dad. I hope you get a resolution soon


Registered User
Jun 19, 2016
I agree with @canary and @Palerider don't be put off and look for another care home. Dad did two weeks of respite and given his aggressiveness towards the carers from the agencies that I used I was sceptical but he settled in well. He had two weeks there before going in permanently a couple of weeks later. When he went in permanently he did wander and there were times when he got aggressive but the dementia nurse said that this was normal. You might also like to know that there were times when he wanted to stay all night in the lounge and the carers cottoned on to the fact that he liked company. Also there were times when they had trouble getting him changed into pyjamas but he was always in fresh clothes the next day.

Good luck