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Temporary respite care home - how to address it?

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
My mum (my dad’s main carer) has been in hospital since Saturday with heart problems. I have stayed with my dad at their family home accompanied by either my husband or daughters which has been a great support.

However this is now night number 4 and each night when we go to bed my dad just won’t sleep. He’s unsettled and very frequently comes into my room upset and confused and asking where mum is. Obviously I can totally understand this but I am only human and after 3 nights of sleep deprivation I am really struggling to cope. The interruptions are constant and relentless. I’m exhausted.

Last night he got totally confused asking was it his mum in hospital (my dad is 77) and he thought I was my mum. I really found this hard to deal with, but just tried to stay calm and reassured him. Although he didn’t really listen and just told me his head was all over the place.

During the days he consistently asks the same questions over and over again, literally seconds apart. Again, I know he’s not doing this on purpose but I challenge anyone not to get overwhelmed and dare I say, annoyed!

He can’t be left alone since as in addition to Vascular Dementia, he has respiratory and cardio problems. We have managed things so far since it’s half term so my eldest daughter isn’t in college and my younger daughter is not at school this week. They, together with my son when he’s not in work, are able to ‘grandad sit’ to just be there. I have taken the week off work as annual leave.

Mum won’t be being discharged this week and it could well run into next week.

As much as I am here and will do all I can I have admitted to myself that we as a family just can’t sustain this level of care indefinitely.

I have made a phone call to social services to enquire whether we could get dad a temporary place at a residential care home, just for respite whilst mum is in hospital. I am waiting to hear back if a place has been found.

I have spoken to mum and she agrees that this would help and keep my dad safe.

Can anyone recommend the best way to present this ‘holiday’ to my dad in a way that doesn’t sound like we’re just ‘shoving’ him into a home. This is most definitely not what’s happening.

I am under no illusion that he will put up a fight, so I just want to package it in a positive light.

Any good spin doctors out there?



Thank you.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,051
Yorkshire
hi @Mumof3kids
sorry to hear about your mum ... I hope she recuperates well

for your dad, might you say that your mum is hoping he'll have a break while she is away and then gets better, so she doesn't have to worry about him being all alone and she's found a lovely place for him ... is she able to write him a card so he has something from her

do really push Adult Services, make it clear you cannot stay any longer and he cannot be left on his own, especially with his physical conditions, even with carer visits
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
hi @Mumof3kids
sorry to hear about your mum ... I hope she recuperates well

for your dad, might you say that your mum is hoping he'll have a break while she is away and then gets better, so she doesn't have to worry about him being all alone and she's found a lovely place for him ... is she able to write him a card so he has something from her

do really push Adult Services, make it clear you cannot stay any longer and he cannot be left on his own, especially with his physical conditions, even with carer visits
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Thank you @Shedrech - that's a good idea about her writing in a card - as he'll recognise her handwriting and know it is from her and not that 'we' are trying to 'get rid of him'. I will do that when I seem mum later.

We had an awful night last night. I am ashamed to say I lost my cool after the 100th time of him coming into the bedroom to ask his questions over and over. And at 6 am I snapped. I instantly regretted it as it just caused my dad to start shouting nasty remarks at me, calling me selfish.....

At least this has confirmed temporary respite is needed. Thank you x
 

Jaded'n'faded

Registered User
Jan 23, 2019
687
High Peak
I'm thinking temporary with a view to permanent. It may not be what you want (it isn't what anyone wants) but there comes a time of need. How is your poor mum going to cope with your dad when she comes out of hospital? She's going to need plenty of rest and someone looking after her!

Sadly, your father isn't going to get any better. He needs a whole team of people to look after him now.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
I'm thinking temporary with a view to permanent. It may not be what you want (it isn't what anyone wants) but there comes a time of need. How is your poor mum going to cope with your dad when she comes out of hospital? She's going to need plenty of rest and someone looking after her!

Sadly, your father isn't going to get any better. He needs a whole team of people to look after him now.
I know @Jaded'n'faded - you're right. Temporary with a view to permanent. I guess this crisis that we've found ourselves in (it's always a crisis that makes us face the truth isn't it?) has confirmed that we can't continue the way we have been. Having walked in my poor mum's shoes for only 5 days, I don't know how the heck she has coped this far. You're right that she herself will need to recuperate and be looked after. Not to assume the role of full time carer the minute she arrives home. The plan is to keep dad in respite for the first few days after she's discharged. Assuming we can get him to go.

Social services have called me this morning to say there are 2 possible care homes that meet dads' needs which have availability. We're just waiting to hear. I guess we need to start the process of looking at more permanent homes for the not too distant future..... I will speak to the social worker about this.

Like the majority of PWD, my dad doesn't think there's anything wrong and when different members of my family turn up to relieve someone from their grandad sitting duties, he's very sarcastic about us fussing and being over the top. So I know there's going to be a hell of a lot of resistence. Hence my need to sell this in a more positive light.

Thank you.
 

reedysue

Registered User
Nov 4, 2014
4,803
Scotland
@Mumof3kids
No amount of selling in as positive light worked with my mum and as she can't remember anything for more than about 10 seconds even if she agreed she would not have remembered doing so. In the end I packed her suitcase in secret and when we arrived at the nursing home and she asked what we were doing there I said we were meeting someone for tea and cake, after the paperwork was done one of the nurses had to distract mum while another came out to the car and took her suitcase, I am afraid that I just had to jump in the car and drive away before she saw me again and kicked up a fuss. The respite worked well and mum did not even realise that she had been there a week.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,209
I agree with reedysue, I didn't tell my mother when she was moving to a care home, because she wouldn't have remembered what I said, she would just have been 'distressed in the moment', then I would have had to explain it again half an hour later. And you will have the same problem because your dad doesn't remember anything for more than a few minutes. So I would pack his things (just enough for a few nights, you can go back later with more) and just think of a trip you could take him on which will cause him the least possible agitation - somewhere he'd like to go. Your aim should be to keep his anxiety at the lowest possible level.

Obviously when you leave him at the CH he will become anxious, but good staff will help him with that, and there isn't really any way round that.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
@reedysue @Sirena Thank you both for your advice. It really does mean a lot coming from you who have had this experience. I totally agree that it is not worth telling my dad any plans in advice since it will worry him unnecessarily since he will forget seconds later.

Hopefully I should hear back from the Social Worker tomorrow. I will give the situation some good thought this evening.

I just pray that tonight he stays in his bed for even the smallest of periods and we can get some sleep.

Thanks again.
x
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,209
I hope you got some sleep, and also a reply from the social worker.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
I hope you got some sleep, and also a reply from the social worker.

Thank you.

A care home was found and we took him there yesterday. He didn’t want to be there. He argued that there was nothing wrong with him and he would be alright in his own home. I tried to explain the reasons why this wasn’t true. But as you would expect- he wasn’t going to agree.

He looked directly at me and said ‘I am not staying here’. I can’t get that picture out of my head.

Had my husband not have been with me I would have brought him home.

The guilt I feel is off the scale.

We visited mum in hospital who looked relieved when I told her.

She confided that he’d had 2 separate falls at night recently that she hadn’t wanted to worry me about!

I knew deep down we had done the right thing by him to keep him safe, but this really justifies the decision.

But I am now terrified my dad hates me.

He’s booked in for 2 weeks.

Do we visit or will that make the situation worse??

Xx
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,129
Kent
But I am now terrified my dad hates me.

He’s booked in for 2 weeks.

Do we visit or will that make the situation worse??
He won`t hate you @Mumof3kids. He`ll probably feel out of his depth and confused but perhaps it is how he felt in his own home.

It`s enough your mum is relieved, to reassure you the right action has been taken. Who knows? Perhaps you have saved your mum a painful decision for the future.

I`d give him a few days to settle then perhaps pay a visit. If you can, be firm and tell your dad the doctor wants him to build up his strength [or something like that] before your mum comes out of hospital.
Before you do visit, let the home know and ask them to help you if you can`t manage to leave without upset.

For now, try to get some rest after all those disturbed nights.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
He won`t hate you @Mumof3kids. He`ll probably feel out of his depth and confused but perhaps it is how he felt in his own home.

It`s enough your mum is relieved, to reassure you the right action has been taken. Who knows? Perhaps you have saved your mum a painful decision for the future.

I`d give him a few days to settle then perhaps pay a visit. If you can, be firm and tell your dad the doctor wants him to build up his strength [or something like that] before your mum comes out of hospital.
Before you do visit, let the home know and ask them to help you if you can`t manage to leave without upset.

For now, try to get some rest after all those disturbed nights.
Thank you @Grannie G for your wise words and advice x

I hope I can muster up the courage to visit him. That’s good advice re telling him the doctor wants him to get stronger.

Yes I think secretly my mum is relieved.

Having walked in her shoes for just a short period of time, I honestly don’t know how she has coped. I do wonder whether the situation of being with dad 24/7 and the stress it causes has contributed to her poor health.

Thank you x
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
597
I agree, give him a few days to settle in. We did this with Mummy and when i visited found her happily gardening with other residents.

I would also say, the first few times you go, leave as he is being taken in to lunch. Don't say goodbye, just go. That way you have a moment of distraction to go. Get the staff on your side, they'll be well used to this sort of thing.

Sadly, no one with dementia ever wants what is often the only safe least-worst option. They will say things that will make you howl (I cried all the way home form the CH after leaving Mummy there) but the alternative is being in A&E or dealing with the police after an accident. There often is very little choice.

It does get better. Many people do settle in care homes and Mummy now enjoys the routine and the chance to interact with lots of people. Sadly, dementia doesn't improve and so if there are issues now, these are only likely to get worse. We worried that we might have transferred Mummy to a care home too early, but actually her having a bit more capacity initially helped her to get to know the staff.
I hope things improve for you.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
I agree, give him a few days to settle in. We did this with Mummy and when i visited found her happily gardening with other residents.

I would also say, the first few times you go, leave as he is being taken in to lunch. Don't say goodbye, just go. That way you have a moment of distraction to go. Get the staff on your side, they'll be well used to this sort of thing.

Sadly, no one with dementia ever wants what is often the only safe least-worst option. They will say things that will make you howl (I cried all the way home form the CH after leaving Mummy there) but the alternative is being in A&E or dealing with the police after an accident. There often is very little choice.

It does get better. Many people do settle in care homes and Mummy now enjoys the routine and the chance to interact with lots of people. Sadly, dementia doesn't improve and so if there are issues now, these are only likely to get worse. We worried that we might have transferred Mummy to a care home too early, but actually her having a bit more capacity initially helped her to get to know the staff.
I hope things improve for you.
I cried all the way home too @Helly68 and for most of the night. It’s so hard knowing you’re doing all you can to care and protect yet feeling cruel at the same time.

Good advice re distraction when we leave after a visit. Yes the staff we met seemed pretty well equipped with how to handle things.

Oh my dad is very good at saying things that will get to me. I’m 50 years old yet he makes me feel about 10.

Thank you x
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
597
@Mumof3kids I think we have the same Dad....

It is hard to recognise that those we looked to for guidance in the past, we now have to support in making appropriate decisions.....even when they don't like it. It is a hard transition for everyone but the risks to your Mum and your Dad are too great to leave things as they were.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
@Mumof3kids I think we have the same Dad....

It is hard to recognise that those we looked to for guidance in the past, we now have to support in making appropriate decisions.....even when they don't like it. It is a hard transition for everyone but the risks to your Mum and your Dad are too great to leave things as they were.
Thanks @Helly68 - in the moment I knew we were doing the right thing, but then I overthink it and start doubting the decision.

You’re right. It’s hard when the roles reverse. It’s going to be hard but I need to get a bit stronger to deal with the decision making.

And yes, things couldn’t have remained the same.

Thank you x
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
597
Thanks @Helly68 - in the moment I knew we were doing the right thing, but then I overthink it and start doubting the decision.

You’re right. It’s hard when the roles reverse. It’s going to be hard but I need to get a bit stronger to deal with the decision making.

And yes, things couldn’t have remained the same.

Thank you x
You are welcome @Mumof3kids. Many of us have been where you are and it is very hard. Hopefully, he will settle a bit and you know that he us less likely to fall
 

northumbrian_k

Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
1,009
Newcastle
This sounds like the only thing that you could do in the circumstances @Mumof3kids When your Mum comes out of hospital it will give her space and time to recuperate. It will also bring home just how much she has struggled up to this point. My wife went for a trial care home stay last May. As soon as she had gone I knew she was in the best place and that making her stay permanent was inevitable. This was both the only practical way to meet her needs and also the best solution for us both. She has deteriorated as her dementia has worsened but we now have a better relationship with time to be a couple again. When I am not visiting I know that she is safe, cared for and - as photos of her dancing show - able to join in with and enjoy things. It is a difficult road but put aside any feelings of guilt as you have done the right thing in your parents' interest.
 

Mumof3kids

Registered User
Aug 12, 2018
113
This sounds like the only thing that you could do in the circumstances @Mumof3kids When your Mum comes out of hospital it will give her space and time to recuperate. It will also bring home just how much she has struggled up to this point. My wife went for a trial care home stay last May. As soon as she had gone I knew she was in the best place and that making her stay permanent was inevitable. This was both the only practical way to meet her needs and also the best solution for us both. She has deteriorated as her dementia has worsened but we now have a better relationship with time to be a couple again. When I am not visiting I know that she is safe, cared for and - as photos of her dancing show - able to join in with and enjoy things. It is a difficult road but put aside any feelings of guilt as you have done the right thing in your parents' interest.
Thank you @northumbrian_k and I am very sorry to hear that you have had this journey with your wife. This is why this forum is invaluable. I know that you know how I feel.

We ring the home daily and although he’s telling everyone he’s not staying - he’s sat in the lounge watching tv. And I know he’s being cared for and being kept safe. He is also protected from the confusion of why mum is in hospital and the anxiety that caused him.

There are some tough decisions for our family to make.

But things cannot go back to how they have been.

Since being in hospital my mum has been open about the real situation.

I wish you both well x
 

mancmum

Registered User
Feb 6, 2012
403
We used a big dry wipe notice board for my Dad when he was asking the same questions over and over again. Can your relative still read. Big writing simple explanations. Different categories, coming up, been and gone, where we are now. Been and gone was an important way of remembering nice things.

My father will always let me go when I explain I have to get home to cook my husbands tea/do his ironing/be there when he gets home from work. Even if I have to look after the children....all fully fledged and earning. These are things that are easier for him to accept because that was how life was.

Depending on how his memory is you could agree that he is NOT staying permanently just while your mum is convalescing. So much less washing for her if he is able to stay there. My father still thinks he has only been in care home for a couple of days even though now its 2 and half years. If he wants to get out I explain that husband is having an operation and if he can stay for a couple of weeks it would really help me. I know he could manage on his own perfectly well (not true) but that if he stays here I don't have to worry about him.

Sadly I do have to look after my husband because of his health needs. When it is put that way father gets in....although probably forgets it.