Anyone had to put their mum in a care home recently?

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middlewifemiddlewife Forumite
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Just after any words of wisdom and tips really. She is 93, lives alone 90 miles away has a sister who has faithfully visited daily, sometimes several times a day, living just round the corner fortunately.  Mum has developed dementia symptoms over the last 6 weeks and so tomorrow myself and my sister will be moving her into a very nice, very expensive care home. I ruled out 2 others for various reasons but this one has designated activity workers for each resident and lots of activities for mum.
She is due to arrive at 2pm, I need to leave by 5 to drive home in daylight.  We have a van booked to take some of her belongings. How do you explain to someone with no working memory that this is her forever home now? Any tips on leaving? My sister is around for 4 days, then I will visit next Thursday to take her to her surgery (which she doesn't need to change) for her covid booster.  We tried hard to keep her at home, but she is not safe or happy any more. Any reassurance welcome,thanks.

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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Contented Dementia, book by Oliver James

    Maybe you don't tell her this is her "forever home". Maybe you go with whatever narrative she finds for herself. Maybe it's a holiday, a break. 

    And ask the home for help and guidance.
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  • tetrarchtetrarch Forumite
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    Not Mother but MIL but I can relay some experiences

    MIL had a bad fall down the stairs at home last May and her slowly developing dementia was massively accelerated by the physical injuries, exacerbated by long spells in hospital.

    The transition to care home was an agonising one for my Wife as she is (effectively) an only child and had been hoping to help her Mum manage at home with assistance.

    In my opinion the way to manage the care home very much depends on the mental state of your Mother. Our technique for smoothing the passage was very much to emphasise the medical side of things and to concentrate on explaining that this was the best place for the time being.

    Again, just my opinion, but you don't need to necessarily disclose the "forever" nature of the arrangement. It may well cause upset and if so will absolutely tarnish any potentially positive feelings about the home. There will definitely be some guilt on your part associated with this deception, but my guess is that there is already plenty of that already.

    Best wishes

    Tet
  • edited 31 March at 12:03AM
    elsienelsien Forumite
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    edited 31 March at 12:03AM
    It will depend on the person, but generally speaking I don’t  think misleading people is helpful even if it’s well meant. 
    I’m presuming that some conversation had already been held with mum and it’s not being presented as a fait accompli? 
    People tend to know they’re not at home, even if they’re not sure where they are. And moving to a care home under the holiday deception just kicks the can further down the line when people are still asking to go home only to then find out that home isn’t there any more. 



    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    That's why I recommend the Contented Dementia book. It suggests finding a 'safe' topic which will lead the person away from distress, and indicate how you can build on the person's own narrative.

    My late FIL continued to ask after my parents long after they'd died, sometimes several times in a short space of time. I'd assure him that they were well, although not getting out so much these days, but with a lovely view. Occasionally he'd then recall that they'd died, and worry that he'd upset me, which he hadn't.

    My response was instinctual, but I noticed that he was more upset on being told his sister had died as soon as he wondered when they were going to see her again. 

    But do talk to the home. They've done this before.
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  • tooldletooldle Forumite
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    Has a member of staff from the home been to visit mum, or mum to visit the home? If so, you could use that visit / familiarity as a distraction.
    With my mum i went with something along the lines of she needed looking after for a while whilst i sorted some things out (Dad had died and mum was not able to manage on her own. She had no recollection of Dad's death and would ask where he was) with the house. I didn't give timescales or mention permanency and mum didn't ask.
    I'd recommended not visiting for the first week or so, give your mum time to settle in and get to know her surroundings. With my mum, i find needing to concentrate exhausts her and hence any visit would take up precious energy that could be used to get her feeling settled, if that makes sense. 
    Depending on how bad your mum is, leaving can be very easy. You can use any excuse to pop out of the room and not come back. These days i find mum often asks if it is time for her to 'go back'. I use this as a prompt to take her back to the lounge and then i leave. When she was a little more alert, i would time my leaving to coincide with a meal time, in that i would walk her into the dinning room, get her seated and then leave. 
    My mum has been in care for getting on for 9 years now and only in the past couple of months has she started to ask about going home. 
    As others have said the staff will have been through this many times before and can guide you on what works best for mum.
  • middlewifemiddlewife Forumite
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    Thanks everyone.  Fortunately the awful phase where she knew she was losing the plot didn't last long. For now she still knows who we are and tends to accept simple explanation followed by the same questions over again unless she is distracted. Will update later. 
  • middlewifemiddlewife Forumite
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    The staff were brilliant.  They fussed over her, tea and cake, made her laugh! As I left they were letting her win at zimmer frame football;)I think she was very lonely and isolated, so hopefully this will cheer her up and boost her confidence. 
  • bouicca21bouicca21 Forumite
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     We never told my mum that it was her forever home.  At first it was somewhere to recuperate (she had deteriorated badly after breaking her hip), then she forgot and just accepted it was where she lived and made up her own narrative about why she was there. It was a big house so obviously she was in service …
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