Which care home? Help needed!

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Emac, Sep 17, 2015.

  1. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    171
    Hi, I would really value some input into choosing a care home place for mum. She is 76 has had alzheimers for 9 years now and up till now has been cared for by my 80 year old father, with input from social services, day care and my sister and I. Last weekend he said he could no longer cope with mum at home as she now cant be left and needs someone with her 42/7. She also does not really cope with the outings to the golf club to the dances and social evenings they both used to enjoy so much- she just wants to go home and wont settle. He asked me to 'get the ball rolling' on finding her a care home place- so I did expecting this would take weeks if not months. However we now find ourselves in the position where our SW is applying for funding early next week and Mum's regular respite home is holding a room for her (they happened to have a vacancy) and it just feels like everything is happening too fast and I haven't had time to think about which care home is best. I thought the one we used for respite was the logical choice, the staff are lovely and though Mum hated being away from Dad she was full of praise for the 'girls' who always looked after her and asked if she was ok'. However when you are considering a long term placement suddenly you look at a place with a more critical eye. When we went to look around all I could see was the tired and tatty décor, no en suite and the lack of free access to outdoors. I hoped a chat with the manageress might reassure me but she was vague and did not seem to have all the information I needed when I 'grilled' her :eek: it all seemed very laid back and lackadaisical! The home is about to get a new manager, this lady was only temporary, but she just did not make me feel reassured Mum would get good care. However it does have a good reputation and the last care Commission report in 2014 was all 'Goods and Excellents'.
    For comparison I decided to check out a local authority care home we had used when Mum had early stages of dementia. They have a dementia unit for those whose condition is advancing. The meeting and tour was chalk and cheese. This is a purpose built modern home, freshly decorated and clean with en suite bedrooms and access to a safe fenced in garden area which residents can access freely in good weather. The care worker who spoke to us was enthusiastic and articulate in describing the facilities and amenities. I know which home I would rather stay in:) This care home has a more recent report- also very goods and excellents.
    However, the one we currently use for respite is much easier to get to for my Dad and for friends who will visit. He may not take her out so often if she is in the other one and although the home is tired and tatty Mum knows the staff and they know her and seem fond of her. She also knows and recognizes some of the other residents. it has a good reputation for dementia care locally. Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated. making a good choice for Mum is such a big responsibility, and I am usure which to choose.
     
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,489
    Female
    London
  3. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    171
    Which care home

    Thanks Beate, I will take a look at the document. My 'gut feel' says the same the care is the most important thing. However if the care is equal in terms of reputation and quality should we choose the 'nicer' home? I vaguely remember mum describing the respite home as 'a dump' on her first few visits :eek: though she has not said that for a while!
     
  4. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,489
    Female
    London
    I can't make the decision for you but I would probably stay with the one you know and your mum is happy in and which your dad can easily get to. Also, have you asked social services whether they would fund both homes equally? Nice new shiny homes tend to be more expensive.
     
  5. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    4,917
    Female
    Chester
    I haven't got to this stage yet but I have had to settle my mum into sheltered extra care.

    My gut instinct is that if she knows the carers and the residents it will take her a lot less time to settle. Don't underestimate travelling time for your dad as well. My mum is only 10 minutes away, but it would be much harder if she was say 20 minutes away.The travelling time and ease of visiting would make a massive difference to me.

    There may be many reasons your mum said it was a dump including not wanting to be there. She has moved on considerably with her dementia since then as well.

    I think the change of manager would worry me far more than the decor, but if the carers are nice that is important. Someone being able to 'sell' is not what you need but someone who will provide good care for your mum.

    I have to admit an ensuite would be good.

    If your dad has said he can't cope anymore, I suspect it needs to be weeks not months.
     
  6. Spamar

    Spamar Registered User

    Oct 5, 2013
    6,838
    Suffolk
    Can only repeat what JM has said. When OH was headed for a home, I asked an ex-SW friend and she said, 'the nearest'. Never underestimate travelling time.
    I also found that the manager is the important person. They set the ethos of the home and staff follow.
    Would also agree en suite is important ( in OHs experience!).

    That leaves you with a dilemma! Good luck on sorting it out!
     
  7. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    171
    Both were on the list of options from SW. The nice new shiny one is a council home! it also has a lovely secure garden which can be accessed freely by residents. The other one has a tiny internal courtyard the other garden is only accessible if residents are accompanied as it has not been fenced in.:( don't know what to do- I go round in circles with this. I think Dad may have the casting vote here and choose the nearest one where they already know Mum, Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
     
  8. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    171
    Thanks!

    Thanks Spamar and jugglingmum for taking the time to reply. The home is a not for profit Church owned one. The interim manager was very nice (and also very old- brought out of retirement to 'caretake') and Mum has been in and out several times over the last year for respite. We have noticed no difference to the care provided. The respite rooms ironically are much nicer, have en suites and are upstairs so I had never been round the resident part of the home. i was shocked at how basic the accommodation was. She will have her own toilet and wash handbasin just not her own shower. She wont be able to use the shower alone anyway so maybe that doesn't matter. Another worry is that the room is next to a fire door (alarmed). Mum spends a lot of time at home when being minded by carers trying to get 'out' and go 'home' or 'up the road'. She could be continually going out and having to be caught- she is still quite physically fit. Sorry! The worries just keep on coming don't they. Better calm down and get to work or i will have another worry.:eek: Thanks again. it is really appreciated.
     
  9. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    4,282
    SW London
    If your mum would have her own loo and washbasin, I honestly would not care about the shower. As you say, she will not be using it unaided anyway.

    When my mother went into her CH I had thought an ensuite would be vital for her, since she had always been an intensely private person. But I had not yet realised quite how much difference dementia makes. She did have an ensuite, but TBH I don't think it mattered a hang to her by then.

    As for decor, I have looked at masses of care homes over the years, for both my mother and my FIL, and soon learned that it is far from the most important thing - cosy and homely are what I would always look for now. I have come to the conc. that smart and 'stylish' decor - certainly anything smacking of Homes and Gardens - is very often there to impress the relatives who are choosing.
    In fact the worst home I ever encountered for atmosphere and surly, miserable staff - OH's old aunt stayed there a month and hated it - was also the smartest from a decor POV and had fantastic sea views. Talk about a learning experience - mind you the old aunt (no dementia) had chosen it for herself so I did not need to beat myself up about judging by appearances.
     
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,331
    Female
    South coast
    Mums CH is rather scruffy round the edges and she too has a tiny loo and wash-basin of her own, but not shower. She has settled very well there and the thing I have noticed is the care she is given. Most of the carers knew her already and I think it makes a big difference. The decor doesnt matter and she wouldnt shower herself anyway :rolleyes:

    Ease of visiting makes a huge difference. I think your dad and her friends would find it difficult if it were further away. I can see your concern about the fire exit, though. Have you spoken to the manager about this to see what they would do?
     
  11. Emac

    Emac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2013
    171
    Fire exit

    Hi Canary, thanks for taking the time to respond. I said Mum had escapologist tendencies her comment was it's alarmed :rolleyes: If she figures out that's an exit she could keep them pretty busy fetching her back. It leads out into the garden so at least no busy roads to worry about and i doubt she would head out at night she hates the dark however I will raise it again. I am sure there must be some special release mechanism on it if it was really easy for residents to use then surely they would all be out and off?! Thanks for all the very sensible advice from everyone. I have slowly come to the same conclusion about decor and ensuites. The council home was not Homes and Gardens though, just new and well thought out and purpose built, but I think being familiar to Mum and being handy for Dad is more important. Today's challenge has been being let down by the private carer who was going to look after Mum tomorrow so Dad could play in his Saturday bowling tournament and feeling guilty because I cant help out. I will be glad when Mum is settled and have fingers crossed it will all go smoothly.... Wishing all you forum readers and posters love and strenght xxx
     
  12. nannylondon

    nannylondon Registered User

    Apr 7, 2014
    2,474
    London
    Hi my OH is in the care home where he went for respite which is a bit tatty in places but has a warm friendly atmosphere and lovely caring staff which I think is the most important things I visited other homes which were smarter but I decided this was important my advice is go with your gut feeling xxx
     

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