I have a 35 year old daughter who resides in a nursing home due to a car accident 10 years ago. i spoke with other caregivers who visit this nursing home and they all told me they feel stress in the home. is this common with nursing homes or is it just this particular home. some days i dread with a passion going to visit her. sometimes i think it's just me that's inflicting this stress onto my self and other times i think it's the environment of the home.

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I'm so sorry about your daughter.

When my elderly father was in a NH I too dreaded visiting him. I found the environment extremely stressful. People lined up in wheelchairs. The staff screaming and laughing up and down the halls. Other residents who reached out to me (literally) with their arms, wanting something I couldn't provide. Stopping and making small talk with my dad's roommate or one of his tablemates. Then there were the meetings. The social worker wanted to speak with me or the bookkeeper needed to speak with me or the DON wanted to speak to me. It was all too much. I'd go to visit my dad and by the time I bypassed all of this other stuff I would have already been there an hour and I hadn't even seen my dad yet!

I have patients in facilities and I see the same thing over and over with their visitors. The same awkward conversations. The same forced cheerfulness. The same attempts at trying to engage the person they're visiting.

I found it exhausting and I may sound insensitive by saying this but I couldn't wait to get out of there each time. I loved my dad very much and I wanted to be there for him, and I was, but it was extremely difficult each time. I always tell people that when they put their loved one in a NH be prepared because the caregiving doesn't end there. It's just different. We're still caregivers when our loved ones are in a NH. We still have the same stresses. Anyone who thinks that we just "dump" our loved ones off in a nursing home never had a loved one in a nursing home before.

If I had any tips or suggestions on how to make your visits easier I would share them but I don't. I don't know if there are easier ways to go about it. Find a way that works for you. I used to think I had to be with my dad everyday but after a while I couldn't keep that up. Eventually I ended up going 2-3 times a week. I knew other family members of other residents that went more often and that was fine for them. But this way worked for me and I couldn't compare my situation to anyone else's. I'd either go for 2 really long visits or 3 shorter visits per week. This was all I could handle.

But I have to agree with you, it is stressful.
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I'm so sorry that you're dealing with what must be an excruciating situation. Can you go into self exam mode and tease out what are the external factors that contribute to the feelings of stress? Are there sounds, sights, smells that disturb you that you feel you must ignore. Are there internal pressures and feelings that make it stressful. It's a totally different situation, but my mom is in a nh that's a 90 minute drive from my home. I reward myself after each visit with a shopping trip to Goodwill (it's a very nice Goodwill) or sometimes a pedicure. I listen to nonstressful audiobooks, radio shows or music both ways. Post back, and good thoughts are with you!
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