The care home solution

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
Hello again after a while,

I have not been posting much as since putting Monique into a care home some 2 months ago I did not feel like it - did not feel I had anything new to say.

In posting this I am not looking for sympathy or support - just felt I wanted to 'record' how it has gone...

It really is an painful and surprising sleigh ride putting somebody you care for into a home. The surprising bit is that it is harder and more painful than one imagines.

Monique went 'in' OK - a few more lies and sleight of hand and she was through the door and accepting that she was in there for her health... Like lots of others I have heard about she went downhill quite a bit in the first week... Lost weight and quickly came to wear incontinence 'pants' which she had not 'really' needed before... She was a very sick bunny.

Me? A wreck - seriously considered getting her out and bringing her home. On the drive back - during the days that followed... Very stressed out. Common sense said that it was the right thing but emotionally very difficult to cope with. I also did not know how to handle my 'freedom' - the ability to go out without looking at my watch all the time so I would not be late to take over from the SS carer(s). Living alone in the house was also 'odd'.

The guilt problem is that by condemning Monique to a madhouse environment I was liberating myself -- that monkey can sure run riot!

Since the first week or so to now Monique has had some bad times and better times. One vast improvement is that the doctor who looks after a lot of the people in the home interviewed her with me present and following my 'concerns' about the tranquilisers she was on has changed the medications. Brilliant! A shame the neurologist she had when she was with me was not as enlightened. She is much less depressed - can smile sometimes even. She is still 'thrilled' to see me although I doubt she really knows precisely who I am.. another friend visits regularly and gets an OK reception from Monique and by comparing notes I am pretty sure I am 'special'... That actually makes it harder.

The excellent sociologist who 'runs' the place warned me it could take 2-3 months for Monique to settle... She also stated that every body (50) in the establishment knew they were in there for memory/Alzheimer's problems and recently I have told Monique that is why she is there... It is good not to lie although lies did seem the only way to go when she was at home... The sociologist uses a (American) technique of turning the patient's questions/demands back into a question so that the patient has to find a reason for wanting/not wanting/demanding... and the next response is another question from the carer.. does seem to work but is of course a 'sleight of hand'.. The good thing about a non lieing environment in the home is that I totally believe what ever they tell me about Monique.. No rose coloured 'kindly' spectacles - just the truth..

Monique is of course still not settled totally and would like out... But when she was with me she wanted to 'go home' all the time as well. Couldn't wait for her parents to come and get her... Same fantasy - different scenario I think (hope)
She is beginning to make 'friends' with other patients. Very difficult for Alzheimer's people to have friends as a conversation is impossible but a situation of friendly recognition does appear to happen. Her health has improved as has her walking. The incontinence is more 'accidental' than just a 'letting go'!!! I am optimistic that in another month or so she will be totally institutionalised and content that the home is her home...

Me? Its really mixed... I do dread the visits.. so painful if she is a bit lucid and wants 'Michael' to take her out of the place - help her escape... does not want me to leave when the time comes.. Other times we sit on some chairs in one of the 'gardens' exterior areas looking over some sand dunes to a beach and the sea - works well for me as I can 'bunny' on about lighthouses, sailboats, far shores etc... I do not have conversations but rather talk at her until she decides she needs to go to the loo and we go back inside.. Often then she becomes tired and lays on her bed and I can say 'au revoir' and slip away... to resume this odd life I now have - bit hard to put it all back together... cannot sail off into the sunset because its now winter and the visits keep me close although I am 'travelling' more... It is and will be hard to put back together a reasonable interesting life but by no means impossible......

Crikey! Bit of a novel all that... Just wanted to pass on the experience for what its worth and join with all the other folks on this forum who have a guilt monkey over the 'care' home problem and say it is not easy... even when you have done the deed... but .... probably takes a while ..........

Michael
 

Margarita

Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
10,824
london
Common sense said that it was the right thing but emotionally very difficult to cope with
That what I dread if or when I put my mother in care home . emotional side . thanks for the update I did wonder how you where getting on . I meet a someone who brought dream home yoat[sp] while I was on holiday in gibraltar , the husband love sailing , so he reminded me of you as that your hobby , that left me wondering how hard it must be to find your own life now without Monique and how you was getting on
 
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connie

Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
9,519
Frinton-on-Sea
Hi Michael, thank you so much for bringing us up to date.

I know how hard it was for you to let Monique live apart from yourself, albeit so that she can have good 24/7 care.
Me? A wreck - seriously considered getting her out and bringing her home.
Don't think there can be many who have not felt like that.

It will take time, for Monique to adjust, and for you to gradually pick up some of the old threads of your life. Please stay in touch.
 

sue38

Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
10,854
52
Wigan, Lancs
Hi Michael,

Thanks for the update.

Interesting technique you mention about responding to questions with questions. It sounds exhausting, but I suppose no more so than forever trying to give answers which the sufferer will accept.
 

jude1950

Registered User
Mar 23, 2006
182
Lincolnshire
Oh Michael ..Thankyou for posting I too am treading this path of seperation Jim still pleads with me to come home the heart wrenching feeling that makes me want to say yes come home ...then the awful realisation that I cannot have him "home"
His enviroment is lovely I realy chose well before getting him a place there and I know the care is excellent..I suppose time will make him more accepting of his surroundings.
I have been visiting every day but have now decided that he won't settle if I am there every day and he needs to integrate more with his fellow residents so I am limiting my visits.
My family have been very supportive and jim's children now accept that the best care will be given to their father in the Nursing Home . All I need to do is get this Guilt monster off my back.
I hope Monique continues to settle into her new surroundings.
regards
Judith
 

Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
565
Merseyside
Hi Michael,

Thanks for letting us know how it went.

That sounds like a very interesting technique with the answering questions/demands with questions.

I think I'll suggest that to my dad as he finds mum very difficult to reason with or deal with when she starts making odd demands. Admitedly, it may not work too well as her language is very limited now but it can certainly do no harm to try.

I hope Monique continues to settle in and that you can find a way to enjoy the freedom you have.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
jude1950 said:
I have been visiting every day but have now decided that he won't settle if I am there every day and he needs to integrate more with his fellow residents so I am limiting my visits.
Well maybe I do have something to offer... I have found the sociologue at the home very 'helpful'... Not only helpful but pregnant for Xmas which is a bit of a worry....

She never tells people what to do but does give 'information'.... rather than opinion... very caring person - even got the doctor into see me on one of my early Monique visits as she thought I was cracking up!!! That quickly put a stop to any cracking... Moi sick!!!!!!

The following is from my own observations visiting lots of AD homes - all the really awful ones suggested very frequent visiting ... the 'excellent' ones were of the opinion that because the 'home' was to become the permanent home of the patient it was important they 'forgot' - gave up memories of another place and became institutionalised... Sounds awful but it is a reality - they have to accept that they are in the place cos they have AD and that the place is where their friends and social life is.... Never going to be perfect but it wasn't before they entered the home.... I just heard a few minutes ago, that when my friend visited Monique she found her in the garden with another woman patient... wandering and socialising.. Progress??? I have a feeling that in the end it is kinder to let them get used to where they are and not to rely on us... Trouble is we have 'guilt monkeys and needs' as well so not visiting too often, at first, is difficult.. I used to telephone the home or they called me with updates every day... then every 2 or 3 etc etc

ANSWERING QUESTIONS/DEMANDS with questions is actually no harder than thinking up lies... I have begun to find.... It is an American technique and I will ask the sociologue where she found it exactly... It does turn the problem round and generally the response can be phrased out of the wording of the question - demand... I am using it now as well - not 100% of the time but a lot and it would appear to do more good than harm...

I am 'up' cos my last visit was good and my friends visit today was good too... The bad visits lead to some pretty 'sad' times

Do try the questions system... love to hear if it works for others..

Michael
 

BeckyJan

Registered User
Nov 28, 2005
18,972
Derbyshire
Hello Michael:

It is good to hear from you and it seems Monique is doing quite well. It seems you may need more time to adjust!!!!!!

So this technique - should our conversation this morning have been directed differently?

Where is my Jan?
Where do you think she is? (Instead of 'I am here')
Where is my lovely wife?
Where do you think she is? (Instead of 'I am here')

Not sure whether I can handle it - but will try a little harder.

Seriously I do hope you can get some sailing in and other hobbies - you deserve it.

Take care Jan
 
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Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
BeckyJan said:
Hello Michael:

It is good to hear from you and it seems Monique is doing quite well. It seems you may need more time to adjust!!!!!!

So this technique - should our conversation this morning have been directed differently?

Where is my Jan?
Where do you think she is (instead of 'I am Jan')
Where is my lovely wife?
Where do you think she is (instead of 'its me, its me!!!)

Not sure whether I can handle it - but will try a little harder.

Seriously I do hope you can get some sailing in and other hobbies - you deserve it.

Take care Jan

I think you could also try - 'Why do you want her'?
or 'when did you see her last'?
but then there is no reason not to do 'I am Jan'

To be honest I think it has something to do with distracting the person - I found it all very difficult at first but it has got easier - the truthfulness also helps - not sure why..... Who knows...

Got all sorts of plans and plans - think I have sold the house - will know for sure in a couple of weeks then I will have lots of 'displacement' activity!

Michael
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,048
Kent
Thank you for the update Michael. I think you`ve really managed the whole transfer very well.

Ok , perhaps there was some concern you might be `cracking up`, but you didn`t did you.

And you have enough experience to know `going home` did not necessarily mean to the home you shared.

And it sounds as if you had the bigger adjustment to make and are still making it.

The answering a question with another question is very interesting. I saw this in an exchange between a Buddhist monk and a disciple.

My husband does it to me all the time, eg.
Me `What time would you like to eat?`
Him `When do you want to eat?`
Me `Do you want tea or coffee?`
Him `What are you having?` :rolleyes:

I shall have to try it.

Take care, and please continue the updates.

Love xx
 
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Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
Michael, it is really good to hear from you, and kind of you to share your experience and 'tips'.
This enforced separation which we all dread is akin to bereavement, and really difficult to handle. Depending on the 'stage' the patient is at, it is often much harder for the carer, and although I am well aware that such a decision is drawing ever closer, I am absolutely dreading it. :eek:

Please stay in touch. It is people like you who fuel my determination ("if he/she can do it, then so can I!"). Fingers crossed .......
 

Skye

Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
17,000
SW Scotland
Nutty Nan said:
.
This enforced separation which we all dread is akin to bereavement, and really difficult to handle. Depending on the 'stage' the patient is at, it is often much harder for the carer, and although I am well aware that such a decision is drawing ever closer, I am absolutely dreading it. :eek:
Oh, Nan, that's exactly how I feel. It's getting closer, and I'm dreading it too.

Michael, thank you for sharing your experience. It helps that so many of us are suffering in the same way. At least we know that the fear and grief we feel are 'normal'.

Please keep in touch, I'll be interested to hear how long it takes Monique to settle.

Love,
 

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
5,379
NW England
Crikey! Bit of a novel all that... Just wanted to pass on the experience for what its worth
Michael, thank you. In very different circumstances, where would I have been even now without people on TP passing on their experiences?????

I feel a novice traveller - limited to carrying a few nuggets - and trying to stash my pockets full of all the wisdom shared here ......

... did not feel I had anything new to say.
Michael, whatever you say is, to me, a rare blend of pathos and amazingly good humour in spite of the adversity you face ..... much missed on the forum when you are not around.

Much love to you.... Karen, x
 

jenniferpa

Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
39,448
Michael: I wonder if this is some variation of "reflective listening" (beloved of therapists) when you say something and the other person says it back to you in a slightly different way? I'm very interested to hear that this technique seems to help, because I must confess that when people use it on me, I feel like strangling them. I can see though that from the point of view of the carer it must be considerably easier: no need to enter into the fantasy, no need to tell those (white) lies.
 

Michael E

Registered User
Apr 14, 2005
619
Ronda Spain
Thanks for the warm welcome back... I have been away and was a bit doubtful if I would ever 'do the posting' thing again... Nice feeling to have been missed a bit!

I wonder if this is some variation of "reflective listening" (beloved of therapists) when you say something and the other person says it back to you in a slightly different way?
I must state that I find therapists to be on the level of solicitors and estate agents - people who make no useful contribution to society except to line their own pockets --------- However I find Mme Veronique Petitgenet - the sociologist in Moniques 'home' to be really quite wise... She does do the 'therapist' thing and that irritates but oddly the 'Truth shall set you Free' (USS Enterprise???) is quite useful.
I went gleefully down the lies road - in fact recommended it - partly because Moniques first Neurologist said it would be destructive for her to be told that she had AD in the early days.. Then we all agreed on this forum that this was the way to go.... I am now doubting this...

The VP philosophy is not that we should drum it in that the patient has AD but when questioned or when appropriate confirm it - only once in a day - week - month whatever... She boasts that all the patients in the home know why they are there ( I think that is an overstatement, as several clearly do not know they are even anywhere) But the fact that every member of staff will only tell you the truth. Not dictate the truth but say it as they see it is certainly useful to me and I think to the patients as well..

My new philosophy is that I will continue to tell porky's in my personal life but at the home, with Monique I will try to turn the questions back and never lie.

Only 09,00 here in France and I am in need of more coffee

Michael
 

Lonestray

Registered User
Aug 3, 2006
236
Hereford
Bad memories

Michael, Your post brought all the bad memories flooding back for me. Of course everyone is different, as are NHs. Jean was much futher gone, little speech, in a wheelchair and was doubly incontinent for two years earlier when I had her placed in a NH. It was sheer hell visiting every day not only to see Jean, but other people who had no one to visit them. I still get choked up thinking of those lovley, lonley old people, who have all, long since passed on.
It's good to know you found the best place for your loved one. I hope you find leaving your old home less painful than I did. The mistake I made was leaving it to our daughter and grand daughter to find a place for Jean and I once I removed her from the NH. Not what I'd have chosen had I'd been clear headed. Leaving our dream home was just too painful. But five years on I still have Jean, OK she's as stiff as a board and can't talk, but I'm happy and she's 100 per cent healthier now.
The road I've taken I know is not for others, which leaves me feeling I'm sweeping the tide back, therefore of little use to others.
Michael, I wish you and your wife well in your change of lifestyle, may it be calm and sweetly memorable. Padraig
 

sue38

Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
10,854
52
Wigan, Lancs
Michael E said:
I must state that I find therapists to be on the level of solicitors and estate agents - people who make no useful contribution to society except to line their own pockets ---------
Thanks for the compliment Michael. :rolleyes: :D Good job I've got broad shoulders.