struggling with mum having gone into residential care

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Carrot74, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Carrot74

    Carrot74 New member

    Aug 7, 2019
    8
    Hi - I'm new to this forum malarkey!

    My mum went into residential care at the beginning of July. She has struggled to settle, which I'm sure is normal. Shes been quite distressed and seems very small, sad and out of her depth.
    In the past week things seem to have improved a little. At the risk of sounding a bit "me, me, me" I'm really struggling myself. I constantly have to 'redirect' my brain so I'm not thinking about her as I find the thought of her feeling lost just devastating. I cared for her 4 days a week in the 6 weeks before she moved into the care home and I find myself in tears regularly, longing to be caring for her again. Already our relationship is changing, her speech is very badly affected and so it is hard to piece things together as I'm not around, seeing her day, which previously meant I could make guesses at what she wanted to communicate and she could agree, correct me or try again.
    I've been visiting regularly but only twice a week last week and will be the same this week as I work fulltime and after work visits seem very hard as she is tired and tends to be very tearful.
    Just feeling a bit lost
     
  2. karaokePete

    karaokePete Registered User

    Jul 23, 2017
    4,897
    N Ireland
    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    This is all very normal when placing a loved one in a care home so don't beat yourself up about it. Things will settle and you know your mum is getting 24/7 care from a team of carers.
     
  3. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    10,167
    Merseyside
    Welcome to DTP @Carrot74.
    It’s natural to feel the way you do as things have changed massively for you.
    Please keep posting as you’ll get lots of support here.
     
  4. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,352
    Kent
    Hello @Carrot74

    Hold on to the fact in the past week your mum seems to be settling . It sounds as if it`s even harder for you than it is for her.

    I'm sure your mum went into residential care for the best reasons but like all change in life time is needed to adapt and adjust to these changes

    Try to give yourself time to get used to the idea. I know what you mean when you say your mum looks so small , sad and out of her depth. She is vulnerable which is why she needs 24/7 care in a safe environment.
     
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,244
    Female
    South coast
    Have you asked the staff what she is like during the day?
    You are aware that by seeing her in the evening (I realise that you have no choice) you are not seeing her at her best - confusion and other symptoms are always worse when its the evening and she is bound to be tearful then, but you might find that the staff report that she is much better during the day. Is it possible to see her in a morning at the weekend for one of your visits? If she is brighter then you might find the other on in the evening is not so bad. Try to go in with an up beat mood - even if that smile has to be stapled on - my mum used to mirror my mood, so if I was happy, she was too, but if I felt miserable she would pick up on that and also be miserable.
     
  6. Soroptimist

    Soroptimist Registered User

    Jun 10, 2018
    31
    Hi Carrot74,
    My mum went into a care home in April and what you are describing chimes with me. Before that I was caring for her for much of the week, and I knew what she had gone through each day so I was able to second guess what she meant when she talked about things. That all disappeared when she went into the care home, and it took a while to adjust to that. It was worse for my sister as she had been used to talking to mum every evening, but that didn't seem to work in the care home. It is sad, and it is an adjustment, but we knew the home was the safest and best place for her. All I can say to you is that it will get easier over the weeks that follow. Very best wishes to you.
     
  7. Rosalind297

    Rosalind297 Registered User

    Oct 14, 2017
    60
    Oh bless you. I can totally empathise with your situation and it’s the thought of my Mum feeling frightened and bewildered that has stopped me allowing her to go into residential care - well one of the reasons. I am pretty sure I won’t be free of the worry about how she is, what she’s doing and how she’s feeling either, at least not until I am convinced she is settled.

    Obviously you have constraints on how often and when you see her which cause you stress. I don’t know what your job is or who you work for but wonder whether you could negotiate a slight change to your hours (the schedule rather than the number) to enable you to vary when you see her (as an ex-employment lawyer I regularly had to help devise such work schedules). If that is completely unworkable then can you talk through your emotions with someone - GP perhaps or someone from the AS? We have someone from the AS who visits Mum’s surgery for one day every two months and it is helpful for me to talk through reactions to events as well as getting practical advice.

    You want to protect your Mum, naturally but ultimately you have to accept that, with circumstances as they are, you ARE protecting her in the best way possible, by ensuring that professionals are caring for her 24/7. It has only been a month so give her more time to adjust. Do your level best to be as reassuring and positive when you see her and this may rub off on her and give her confidence. Best of luck to you and your lovely Mum, I hope the situation resolves itself in due course.
     
  8. Carrot74

    Carrot74 New member

    Aug 7, 2019
    8
    Hi thank you for replying - yes my work are brilliant (I work for a charity run by people with learning disabilities who are incredibly supportive) so I will switch things round a bit to visit earlier in the day. I'm being very positive and trying to listen but not get bogged down in her niggles and complaints about things but reassure her she's doing really well and I know its a huge change
     
  9. Carrot74

    Carrot74 New member

    Aug 7, 2019
    8
    Oh it is so hard isn't it - you are 3 months ahead of me and like you I do know that being in full-time care is the safest thing for mum. She said this herself as well and prompted the idea of moving. I think praps I've not ever seen the diagnosis as leading where it will inevitably lead until now, our humour and sharing a laugh, sharing conversations etc - so much of the familiarity of that came from being there, seeing it and being able to interpret it. I guess I just miss her. Before I used to worry about her falling or being unsafe. Not having that worry seems to have magnified the loss and missing and I think I was naive in not seeing I would have to adjust almost as much as she would!! Thank you for your wishes and hope things are going on ok for you and your mum.
     
  10. Carrot74

    Carrot74 New member

    Aug 7, 2019
    8
    Thank you so much for replying, yes they have said exactly this really - that she is happier and better in the morning, tearful and gets lots in the afternoon/evening (clearly they don't leave her lost! She walks the quadrant and will forget her way and become tearful so they bring her back round to the group room). I have visited after work a couple of time and have found that doesn't bring a positive visit BUT then was thinking that I shouldn't avoid that time just for my own reasons as if she is upset then perhaps a hug from someone she loves is a good thing? That said I've only visited before lunch over the last week.
     
  11. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    10,244
    Female
    South coast
    Unfortunately it doesnt work like that. She is upset because she is sundowning, not the other way around.
    I expect that you will find the staff are rather matter of fact with her during this time. If you try consoling her while she is sundowning you may find that it back-fires as it may just reinforce in her mind that she has something to be upset about - a bit like not making a big fuss of a dog who is afraid of thunderstorms.
     
  12. Reluctantcarer

    Reluctantcarer Registered User

    Apr 14, 2019
    34
    Hi @Carrot74 Like you Mum has moved into a residential home a month agp. Unlike you she has settled quite well. Again unlike you I am able to visit during the day & see her when her energy levels are probably at their best & she is happy I know it was the right decision to move her but like you I am struggling to adjust. Mum had lived with me for the last 16 years so I have a mum sized hole here. I no longer wake up worried that I’d go down stairs & find her on the floor yet again but I can’t stop worrying about whether she is happy. I don’t visit every day, something my sister who lives miles away struggles to understand, but I.wanted mum to settle into the home’s routine.
    It is a huge change to my life. I am going through her room & getting rid of what is frankly tat at best but more often just (rubbish - used envelopes etc) has been depressing. All the **** stuff she held onto but just meant she was never able to enjoy the nice things. Bry-nylon sheets still in their original packs!!
    As a family it would be good to have our living room back, she moved downstairs 3 years ago, but it feels almost indecent getting rid of her things. She is still alive but just not here.
    I hope you find some peace & are able to adjust to this change in your life. You know she is safe & with professionals who are best able to look after her.
    This is the next stage in our life. Good luck on the journey. This site & the wonderful posters are such a support. Take care of yourself
     
  13. Carrot74

    Carrot74 New member

    Aug 7, 2019
    8
    Ah ok that makes sense - thank you for explaining as its so hard trying to work out what is helpful and unhelpful to do
     
  14. Carrot74

    Carrot74 New member

    Aug 7, 2019
    8

    oh gosh that must be so hard - I'm finding a hole after just 6 weeks of regular caring so I can only just begin to imagine how huge this must be for you. I know what you mean, I am no longer worrying about her falling or being unsafe but now worry about her feeling lost. However things are better this week and perhaps I am also getting a bit more used to the situation.
    We visited daily (between my, my sister and my partner) for the first 2 weeks as mum was so lost and there were no activities as the co-ordinator was off sick. These last 2 weeks I have seen mum just twice a week and my partner has taken the dog in on another day and mum does seem to have accepted more that she lives there.

    Gosh the sorting out the possessions thing! That is hard, I really feel for you. We have done some of that as we have had to put mum's house on the market and we are lucky as although her speech and processing instructions is really impaired mum's global understanding meant she was involved in the decision to move, and wanted to take part in packing so she was able to be in charge of what she wanted to keep. Once her house sells we will then have to make decisions about the rest.

    All the best with your horrid job of packing and glad to hear that your mum has settled well
     

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