Nurses and aides who call Mom "Hon."

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Okay here is the deal. Mom has dementia and is in the NH in another state. I call there about twice a week and go visit about once a month. Nearly every time I call there they go looking for her and hand the phone to her and say here is the phone, "Hon." I want them to call her by her name. When I visit it is the same thing. They call her Hon. I think this is disrespectful and talking down to her. I mentioned it to the Director of Nursing and she made light of it and thought it was no big deal. Is she right? Am I making too much of this? Am I too sensitive? She has a name why can't she be called by that name? Otherwise Mom seems to be treated with respect and it is a good NH form what I could see. I just don't like this Hon thing.What is your opinion of this?


A memory care unit should never disrespect your wishes. Not only that, her given name should always be used. Losing her memory and dignity with dementia is bad enough. To lose her given name by default is unprofessional. I I would have a good laugh on them. The next time you call for your Mom, kindly ask to speak to 'Hon'. I would then explain that each and every time I call my Mom (?) you give 'Hon' the phone...LOL. After a moment of confusion they will hopefully get the message. If that doesn't work, I would take my complaints to an administrator. And no way are you out of line in demanding respect.
Myself I think it is an endearing way of making your mother feel loved and liked. If they call your Mother hon, odds are that they call most of there residents that and it would probably feel odd to her if the other residents got an endearing word and when it came to her they would call her by name. Just a thought. If your mother is being treated with respect and being well taken care off and she has not complained about it I would not worry about it. I don't think I would center her out like that. I call my husband hon, My grandson, and my daughters. I would never call someone I did not like hon. See what I mean :)
I'm with emillie on this. I think it shows respect and fondness.
My Mom is in a NH (dementia) I live really close and go often, so I see the big picture. When you call someone Sally in a nursing home there may be issues involved by doing this. Another Sally may think you calling her, then repeatedly ask for the next few hours why did she call my name??? So that's not pleasant. Or someone may have a person in their lives called Sally, so mentioning the name may result in the question of where is Sally I wanna see Sally etc. or I hate Sally and then get violent. I witnessed these scenarios more than once. The other reason my be that saying hun in a non forceful, pleasant manner may be more acceptable to your Mom or others. Greeting my Mom as a stranger and saying hi beautiful gets me a long visit, calling her Mom gets me yelled at and ignored and makes her angry. It confuses her sometimes when I call her Mom, so sweetie, honey, pretty lady, anything is better than what creates anger.
My Mom calls her aid Mother as in OK Mother I'll do it for you. I am glad she excepts the aids care and not rejects it, she'd be unclean and not cared for properly otherwise. She calls people she is not fond of words I never heard her speak prior to dementia. I would be glad that she is being treated like a loved one and not a peace of garbage. I am a hairdresser for alot of elders and I get attached to them myself and I have many people at the home happier to see me than my Mom. Because it's all about smiles and love and not negativity. Those same people complain to me about their children because they are usually upset and/or stressed when they visit understandably, but this triggers bad thoughts. Choose your battles, work with the staff to keep your loved one happy, stress levels are easily triggered by staff and elders.

I agree with Emilie, too. I think it is sweet and I would want that for my mother. Most of the medical people where I live call my mother "sweetie." I find it endearing.
We had a big discussion of this on another board. It appears to be partly a regional thing. It is far more common in some parts of the country than others. And some people are more offended by it while others like it. I asked my 86-y-o husband (with dementia) whether he would like it if helpers and other professionals called him "hon" or "dear." He said he would not. But I notice that when his sweet and gentle massage therapist calls him that he isn't bothered at all.

Tone of voice, eye contact, and general consideration are probably more important. If it bothers YOUR MOM (not you) then the staff should be sensitive to that. Otherwise I think I'd pick more important battles to fight.
I hear a lot of "hon" and "sweetie" here - but mostly to me. I do take exception if it comes from guys younger than me. But it's okay if it's older men....

Mom's caregivers who sponge bathe her - calls her "mom" or "mam." - at first I didn't care for it. But when you hear it often enough, it comes out as affection...

My dad's caregivers who sponge bathe him calls him "uncle." or "pop". He doesn't like it. He says he's not their uncle or their pop. Yet when his favorite hospice nurse comes to visit and she calls him "pop", he's just so putty in her hands!!
I also think it is partly regional... I am from the South, so everyone is 'sweetie', I use this endearment with S, but not with M, I feel,in her case, she would feel 'talked down to'. But if your mom has no objection, then it's a moot point... make sure when you are placed in a NH that it is known to everyone involved to not call YOU "Hon"...I don't mean to patronize you, but I would much rather hear staff using terms like that because it shows a caring attitude... but if it bothers you that much, then go to each of the staff and let your feelings be known...
I am a nurse practitioner and have been in the field for 35 years... I cringe when I hear the word "hon" when speaking to the elderly. I do not use that term myself, always Mr/Mrs or at times first name no matter what their mental status is. I have however witnessed nurses aides who truly mean it in the most endearing way especially those from other cultures like the West Indies, Phillipines, etc... My recommendation would be to truly look at the intent... are they patronizing or is it truly an attempt to make a connection with your parent...
I would prefer "Hon" to a first name. Here in Texas we have alot of "Miss" Sally or whatever first name is and I love it . I have never liked having younger people call their elders by their first name only. It is all about respect...I would never refer to my Mother by her first name. She is Mrs. - whenever introduced. Our helpers all call her Miss "first name" or Hon.

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