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Visiting mum in a care home


Registered User
Aug 1, 2015
Hi everyone,
My lovely mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in early 2008. Later that year my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in the December. We promised him to keep mum as independent as possible for as long as possible. She has managed well until the last 18 months during which she has gone downhill mentally, rapidly so in the last 6 months. She is very fit and well in all other respects and looks about 10 years youngEr than she is. Mum has had carers go in twice a day for the last 18 months to ensure she takes her medication and eats, but this was received badly and she has started to verbally abuse them over the last couple of months when agitated. The head carer started to advise a move for mum too. Mum was stopped from driving almost a year ago and we got rid of her car. The last 2 months have been awful with her no longer remembering the house she and my father lived in for 30 years. My brother who lives close to mum and I have been receiving constant phone calls from her either begging us to get her out of 'this godawful house' that she has been dumped in, yelling at us to bring her back her car so she can drive home, verbal abuse, etc etc. her doctor had advised us at the beginning of the year to start looking at care homes, which we have done, and over the last 2 months we chose somewhere which was as nice as we could wish for under the circumstances - they have even taken her dog from whom she cannot be parted and she also has free rein to go outside in the secure gardens at will. My brother tried playing back to mum some of the recorded messages she had left him - she was mortified - for 5 minutes then would forget. Due to her escalating paranoia, anxiety, a sudden steep weight loss and the tendency to start storming out of the house in a temper with only her keys and a dog bed under her arm late at night (no dog, no purse or ID) and general fact that she was frightened being in her own home, we reluctantly brought forward her move to the home we chose to last Friday. We took advice from everyone on how to manage this, her doctor advised mooting it as a temporary move while my brother and I are away over the summer as she isn't safe to be alone at home without one of us close by to help. Her response was 'absolute rubbish, I won't go', why don't you leave me in peace and quiet on my own with my dog ( no point in saying there's nothing we'd like to do more but you haven't been living in peace and quiet for the last couple of months.....). Anyway, she did help me with packing and even asked if they had a phonograph where she and the dog were going 'on their holidays'! On moving day, my brother took mum out while I organised the removal men to move bits of mums furniture so that her room is homely and familiar. Once we got her in the car and we said we are taking you on your holiday she went ballistic, tried to get out of a moving car, became abusive and said she'd never agreed or packed anything to go there. Once we arrived, she did thaw a little and ate lunch, lots of people came over to introduce themselves and made a fuss of the dog. Mum happily helped set up her room and arrange flowers, remarking on the similarity of the furniture to her own.... Then said are we staying here? We said that she and her dog were staying for a while so that my brother and I could go away then she lost the plot completely. She was like a cornered frightened animal and went to hit me, stopping herself just in time. The abuse and upset were awful and in the end my brother and I were advised to leave so they could clam her down. We were taken to a private room in the other building and about half an hour later, the deputy manager came in to reassure us that mum was calm now (they had reached her by saying she needed to calm down to stop upsetting her dog) and was currently making tea for some of the other residents in the dining area! Reports this week are that she is eating and sleeping well and has periods of being totally settled and joins in well, but for the main part she is adamant that she is not staying and tries to get out of the building. Her doctor has sent in a report which stresses the need for her to be somewhere secure for her own safety. Ultimately, our wish is for life to go on as before, with us, Taking her out to eat, to go shopping, to have days out etc but just return her and her dog to somewhere different where she is safe and has all the reassurance she needs. But as a friend said to me, whose own mother is further down the alzheimers route than ours, you are applying reason and logic to that scenario, your mother no longer has either most of the time..... Obviously we have huge feelings of guilt, devastation, disbelief that it has come to this etc, but also some relief to know that mum is safe and being cared for by experienced trained people. I am desperate to visit her but petrified at the same time in case it puts her back or we have a repeat of last Friday's drama. Her carers advised not visiting for at least a week so I will speak to them today and see how the land lies for a visit this afternoon. I live 2.5 hours away and work so it is not so easy to arrange a spur of the moment visit. Does anyone have experience of something similar and any tips on how to handle the first few visits? Especially when it is time for me to leave? Any advice would be gratefully received, thank you.


Volunteer Moderator
Feb 27, 2015
Hello Tiggs & welcome to TP.
What a traumatic time you are having.

There are threads on here were people have experienced similar to you & their loved ones have settled & the visits become easier.
The main thing is your mum us safe & well cared for.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Im sorry that you had such a traumatic move, although I must say that it strikes me as being par for the course.
You could well find that your visits trigger off unsettled behaviour, so I would put off visiting her for a a few days yet. Im assumming that you are contacting the CH itself and asking the carers there how she is doing. Once they report that she seems settled you can then try visiting. I would advise that you dont stay too long to start with - tiredness often triggers mum off. Do something like go and walk around the garden and talk about the flowers which will give you conversation to distract thought of getting away, but doesnt put any pressure on her memory. When I first started visiting I would time my visit so that it was about half an hour before dinner (mid-day) as she was at her best then and there would be a meal to distract her. I didnt need to do anything else - just said, oh look mum its dinner-time I will see you later, but I know that for others on here an escape plan was needed. You could arrange to leave your coat and bag in the office so that when you leave she doesnt see you putting on your coat, dont say goodbye and arrange for one of the carers to come and take her to dinner so that you leave before she has a chance to realise that you are going.

It will get better. I know that eventually I wont be able to take mum out, but at the moment I can still take her shopping, or to a local garden centre or even just to the sea-side and eat an ice-cream, so it may happen for you and your mum too.
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