Should we or shouldn't we?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Martin099, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Martin099

    Martin099 Registered User

    Nov 13, 2012
    Mum (71) has been in a specialist dementia care home since July last year, ever since coming out of hospital after a left knee op. The plan had never been to have mum transferred to a home after the knee op, however due to the dementia it took a long time to get over the operation and it was impossible for mum to return to her own bungalow, albeit with live-in care, as was originally planned.
    For the first 7 months things weren't too bad, mum rarely asked about going back to her home and appeared to be settling reasonably well. There were some periods of depression and tears, but possibly this is normal with the progression of the disease.
    The last two weeks have been a nightmare - mums depression has reached horrendous levels and everything is going wrong....pain in her right-knee where she has ruptured the tendons, pain in her stomach, lack of appetite, not drinking enough fluids and a deep depression. In the last few days mum has been continuously asking and saying to me "what's happened to me? "where am I?" "I'd rather be dead?". It's so upsetting and I'm now starting to feel a very sick feeling inside my stomach every time I walk n to the care home. Please let it be better today, but in my heart I know it will not be. I actually think she is going through a grieving process herself - she is gradually losing the concept of who her family members are and in a way is calling out for support.
    Now i'm wondering whether or not I should take my mother back to visit her bungalow, say once every couple of weeks. My thinking is that it will give her at least some kind of reference point and some familiarity where she can piece together where she was, and that her home still exists, and where she is now. Is this a good idea?...or something that could risk causing more harm than good? From a personal point of view I would feel bad if I never took mum back to her bungalow, but by thinking of my own conscience am I just being selfish? I have discussed it with my wife and she thinks it's too risky, that I would be taking mum to something she can't have any more. I understand that viewpoint but i also think my mum has a right to visit the home that she lovingly looked after over so many years.
    So the question is should we or shouldn't we take mum to visit her home?
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I took my Mum back to her old house (she'd lived with us for about a year then and never been back) just before we sold it and she wouldn't even go in the place, she got quite upset asking "what would I want to go back there". I think she might have though we were going to leave her back on her own, although that is only my guess.
    I don't think you'll know until you try it it could go any number of ways, I'd try bringing things from her old house for her room, things that are familiar to her might be a help.
    The dreaded "what's happened to me? "where am I?" "I'd rather be dead?" will ring a bell with a lot of us here, I think it's the stage where they still remember enough to know something is wrong but they lack the capacity to put all the piece together any more to make the whole picture (pretty poor analogy but it's the best I can do) as capacity goes this stage seems to pass.
  3. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    Oh, your poor Mum.

    I'm afraid I agree with your wife, it would be suggesting to your Mum, planting a seed that doesn't need to be planted.

    If you were to take her back after this length of time there is a good chance she wouldn't recognise it and still long for the place she can't pin point, the place of safety, ability and security.

    My mother was not in last stage dementia when she died, she knew who I was but lost track of infrequent visitors, needed reassurance that she was home, it was her nest. Every morning she awoke to a new place.

    I totally understand why you want to bring her comfort, indeed I love and applaud that desire in you, it shows your love for her...but as you suggest is probably more to do with comforting yourself. I would worry that it could only add to your Mum's discomfort and disorientation.

    Believe me that happens whatever the environment, some members on here have loved ones who didn't move home for 50 years and were unable to recognise their surroundings.

    Anyway...that's my tuppence worth Martin, I don't think it's a good idea but I hope with all my heart that your Mum feels some peace and comfort and then it will filter down to you. x
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I took mum back to her bungalow once she had been in her CH for a couple of months to choose things to take back for her room, but she didnt recognise it at all. She got quite irate and wanted to know whose home it was and why we had brought her there. She wouldnt have it that it was hers.

    I dont think it would achieve anything by taking your mum back to her old home. I doubt that it would settle her or give her a reference point - I suspect that she will just end up more confused than ever. Im sorry she is going through such a bad phase at the moment.
  5. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    How about taking her for a drive out, without mentioning anything, and pass near to her bungalow, and see whether she says anything about recognising the area?

    Then you can guage her reaction, if she has one, and decide whether she would be able to cope, or not, with actually visiting the bungalow itself.

    Just an idea.
  6. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    Pretty good idea too, I never thought of doing that.
  7. sleepless

    sleepless Registered User

    Feb 19, 2010
    The Sweet North
    I would not take her back. I know exactly how you feel about it possibly being a 'reference point' (I felt this for my own mum, many years ago) but the fact is that she no longer lives there, nor does she live the life that she had there. Dementia has changed her life, and her 'home', and it may be kinder to accept this, and let her form new 'reference points' in the care home.
    But believe me, I do know how you feel, really I do.
  8. jimbosmith

    jimbosmith Registered User

    May 10, 2013
    My mum's memory is back to her childhood. She often refers to her childhood home which is local to us. So on occasion I drive past it to see if she remembers which she does. Sometimes she does and other times she doesn't, it's 50/50. I always say her mum is out and that we will go back later. I think often I'm doing it for myself as much as her so that I can see some signs of a happy memory for her.
  9. Martin099

    Martin099 Registered User

    Nov 13, 2012
    That is a really good idea - thanks.

    I already take mum out for drives in the car. She hasn't got a clue where we're driving. although to be fair the care home is situated close to our house, some 40 miles from mums bungalow.

    Just off to the CH now with my 1 year old daughter - this nearly always puts a smile on mums face, at least in the short term!

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