Never had kids, never sent anyone to camp. Never put anyone in a care facility before. When I travel, I travel LIGHT. So I have no idea....

I am expecting to get mom into a respite bed for a week, so I can get a break....but I don't even know what to pack!

I was told to label all mom's clothing so it doesn't get lost in the laundry. So I assume they'll DO laundry. Mom leaks BMs out of her Depends sometimes, and occasionally vomits and gets some on her clothing.

So how much should I pack, do you think? Should I pack an entire week's worth or just several days' worth of changes? An entire week's worth of nightgowns is every nightgown she owns; ditto the hip protector I'm reluctant to pack everything.

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How is the week of respite coming? Let us know if you are back from some exotic vacay with your cat????
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Ok, I can't believe I managed to cram all that into mom's little suitcase. Well, ALMOST. Got to take a tote bag with her lap blanket and jacket.

The travel sized toiletries were a good idea, thanks for that! I managed to get everything into two baggies - a shower kit and a daily care kit.

Complete list is done - one copy in the suitcase and one in an envelope for admin. Also included a copy of her MOST (like the POLST in the US) and meds list for emergencies - I'm sure they'll probably have that, but who knows?

I did talk to the facility nurse this morning. So darned cheerful!! Apparently the laundry goes off site for cleaning, so I encouraged her to just try and keep everything that's not really soiled, and I'll wash it when she gets home.

Thanks for your help, everyone!
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Inventory, yes - I was going to say, write a list. And I agree with Sue C that thinking of a number and doubling it is the safe side.

The chances of the staff's being willing and able to use special kit like the denture cleaner are vanishingly small. Don't even bother. To be honest, and not to depress you, but if the denture gets cleaned as well as you would do the basics you will be ahead of the game (sorry, but it's true).

Visualise the week. Pack enough to keep her going. If I were you, I would also unpack it once you're there so that at least things start off in a logical order. Then you have to grit your teeth and trust them. Do not focus too closely on the details or you will end up not wanting to go; and quite honestly you're going to have enough of a struggle walking out of there and taking your break in any case. You probably won't sleep 'til Wednesday. This is NORMAL.

Your mother will be fine and in every important way they will take good care of her. Any bells and whistles that go missing you can put back afterwards. JUST GO!!! :)
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Well, we don't HAVE one and a half times the amount of clothes as days, lol. At least not pants, nighties, or camisoles (she won't wear a bra anymore). And there just isn't any time to get too special about it....she goes tomorrow (Monday), if the bed is still open.  (It's a hospice bed in an public extended care facility, by the way.  183 beds.  Is that a lot?) 

The hip protector pants are supposedly industrial laundry strength, so I'm sending 5. They were $90 a pair plus shipping and taxes. At that price, we have exactly 7....I'm nervous about losing a single one of them! And we're kind of effed if they all fall apart, because I have to order them, so there's no way I'm sending them all.

I had put together a week's worth of tops, nighties, and socks (incontinence underwear is provided), but given your advice, I guess I'll put in a couple of extras tops and some pajamas just in case.

(Just in case mom's wardrobe sounds super spartan....she has lots of clothes, but the hip protector pants, camisoles, and nighties are newer additions to accommodate her changing needs.....with budgeting, I've only managed to acquire enough so that I wouldn't have to do laundry every damn day, lol.)

Great idea about the travel sizes. I should have time tomorrow to at least pick up that stuff.

Do you think I should be worried about her fancy sonic denture cleaner? It's not like it would go missing in the laundry, lol. But I could just send the denture brush. (I had the dentures engraved with her name when she got them.) Also I'm just sending dollar store reading glasses. Not that she can read anymore, but she'll want to have some glasses.

Edit:  I think I'll just do up an inventory of my own and send it in the suitcase....suitcase(S), I might need, plural, with all these darned clothes!!!  
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I'd vote for one and a half times the amount of clothing she uses in a week.

I agree, don't send anything that is of any value or that has sentimental meaning. Don't bring jewelry or a watch. Don't take the big costly bottles of shampoo, lotion, body wash and toothpaste. Try to buy "travel size" if the facility doesn't provide them.

Goodwill or other thrift stores sell great clothing for just a couple of bucks and you won't mind if it gets lost. The plainer it is, the better. (Meaning, if a blouse has a lot of lace, buttons, etc. they can fall off or get torn.)

I, too, have seen my mother with other peoples jackets on. You can't get too upset if a thing or two is delivered to the wrong recipient.
 The first place shredded her clothes-I don't know WHAT they did in the laundry (must have beaten them on a rock!) but clothing she had had for a few years and was in great shape, came out looking like it was 20 years old, (tattered, bleached, etc.)

Now, congratulations that you'll be getting a week to "regroup and renew". You poor thing, the troubles you've had with your Mom would make anyone shudder. ENJOY your free time, whether you go out and live it up, pamper yourself in a spa or stay home, sleep in and listen to the silence.
You may find that the facility will do quite a good job and you can have many more respite breaks, possibly leading up to a permanent home for her. (I don't know HOW you handle the accidents with carpet and upholstery. My Mom would urinate on the floor but ours is tile.)

We'll be thinking of you and how relaxed you'll be.
Helpful Answer (4)

Dori - you might want to contact the facility and ask them the question. They will know the laundry turn over. Is it a large facility or a smaller one? Things do get lost and misplaced. The last two times I saw mother the tops she were wearing were not hers. This is a larger facility than the last one she was in which did pretty well. I would not send a favourite item. Everything will be washed and dried at maximum heat too, so bear that in mind. Mother loved her hand knitted pure wool Norwegian sweaters but there was no point in leaving them with her. They would have been ruined at first washing. I think the thrift shop is a great idea for extra and cheap items that you wouldn't worry about.
Helpful Answer (5)

Honestly, I hear you that you don't want to send everything she's got for fear that it won't come back. But, with group settings like what you're describing, a lost item sometimes happens & we pretty much roll with it since our mom's overall care is good. Even with a name written on them, a few undergarments, socks, t-shirts have gone missing - but it's the exception and not the rule. I'd hope they could keep track of everything for a week for you, but these facilities are HUGE. I got to see the laundry room once and it was CRAZY in there with all the items. They might inventory what she's coming in with & that should help with having the same number of items when you leave. In spite of your fears, I'd still pack more than you think she will need - maybe 10 outfits with the assumption they will do laundry. *Sometimes it takes a couple of days to get things back from a group laundry situation like what's in a facility.* When you label, mark clearly with permanent marker (double-check that it's indeed permanent... if your label washes off, you're back to square one). Big and bold letters so they know whose it is. If it's a top and pant set, mark both pieces. Label each sock, etc. Her laundry will get done with everyone else's in the facility. I don't hesitate to write directly on the item - sometimes the tag is too small. If your mom's clothing is expensive or would be otherwise hard to replace or you'd rather not write on it, maybe get a few things from the thrift store which would take care of it without significant expense?
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