How often should I visit Mom when she goes into a nursing home?

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It is regrettably that time for Mom to go into a nursing home. Every day for the last 2 years I have said " I can't do this anymore". My mom is so sweet and I love her but someone has to have eyes on her 24/7 as she is clueless to what she is doing and has started wondering off. I hoped this day would never come but after 9 years of this, my health is failing, my kids and husband complain that they don't spend time with me anymore and I'm just exhausted. The only thing that gives me solace is the knowledge that I can spend a lot of time with her at the home to she will be around someone familiar and not be freaked out. She may not remember anything else but she does remember who her immediate family is. I feel guilty . I feel like I'm abandoning her. But the worse part came when I talked to the home yesterday where we are trying to get her admitted and they told me that it would be best for Mom if we don't visit her very often or not at all for at least the first couple of weeks. I feel very uncomfortable about that but the administrator told me that she will adjust faster the less we are around. She said If we come all the time, then Mom will keep expecting that and keep thinking she gets to go home now. I wanted to cry all the way home. Does this sound right to everyone else? I understand what they are saying and it makes sense on an intellectual level but on an emotional level it seems wrong. I feel like I know her best and should be there to help her get adjusted and help the nurses understand her. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated

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Gina, hang in there. Your mom definitely needs to be where she is now - it is best for her. The guilt and hurt you feel will be difficult for a while, and then you'll settle into a routine. (Trust me, I completely get where you're coming from with that.) My own mother is only 75 and I had to place her in a facility earlier this year because she had too many medical issues for me to handle at home, and she kept having to be hospitalized every couple of weeks for them - and then her mild dementia would go into overdrive because of being in the hospital. Something about being in there makes her go over the edge.

So just hang in there. You and Mom will settle into a routine after some time passes. My advice would be not to take her anywhere for a while - it will only confuse her when she has to go back, and the hurt will start all over again. Let her settle in. Definitely go to see her as often as you feel is appropriate, take her to the cafeteria for coffee or just walk with her around the building and let her tell you about her new home.

((Hugs)) to you.
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Well the dreaded day has come. My sisters and I took Mom to her "new home where they are going to keep for for a while so they can try to help her with her memory problems". We tried to act upbeat and excited about decorating her "new house". She allows follows our lead. If we act like this is exciting then she thinks it must be exciting. But the whole time we were there she would say "so can we go now"? We must have explained 20 times and she would agree and then couple minutes later "can we go now?". We felt so lost. We didn't know how to leave. She clung to us and did not wander off for even a second (unusual). We just wondered around with her not knowing what to do with ourselves or how to leave without feeling like we were abandoning a lost kitty. After 4 hours it was time to eat and when she started eating we hugged her and said "we will see you in a little bit" and she said ok but then she said when and I said 'tomorrow". her head snapped up at that comment and said "tomorrow?" which sounded like "what the Hell?" I told her the doctor was coming tomorrow so she needs to spend the night in her new room so she'll be there when the Doctor comes tomorrow. She did not look very certain about all that but I told her she was going to eat and go to bed and I would be there in the morning when she gets up. She accepted that with a bit of uncertainty. We kept up the facade of acting upbeat until we walked out the door and all three of us had tears streaming down our face. I wish there was a better solution. I spent the rest of the evening feeling lost, wondering around aimlessly, not knowing what I was doing, feeling lost, feeling like a traitor, not able to eat. Thought I was going to throw up. I called two hours later and they said she was starting to interact with people and poking in everyones room. My sister called an hour after that and they said she would not let them change her diaper. My other sister called an hour later and they said she keeps asking where we are. We asked them what they are telling her and they said they keep telling her we will back back in a little while. We called at 9 and asked if they would give her her sleeping pill and find a tv channel she likes and tuck her in bed and they did. They said she was asleep in 10 minutes and only then could I start to have a complete thought of my own. I've decided I have to see her everyday for at least a little while. Take her to get a cup of coffee or lunch or something. Make sure they are keeping her clean and meeting her needs. I understand why they said not to visit much the first 2 weeks. Mom wouldn't go do her thing or interact as long as we were there. Thank you all for your support
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((Tight HUG))) you sound just like me- wavering between letting a little looser on the cord and holding tight. My mom is very healthy physically and runs around- that was the problem, she looked fine! but neighbors found out she didnt know where she lived. Lock-down is a scary word, but it just means there is a disguised door they cannot go through. Other than that they can wander about freely- which my mom loves. She wanders around in everyones room poking around- she doesnt know which is her room, so she has to be prompted to sit out in the common places. Your being there does not affect medicaid. I have found the staff seems to care about You and you getting back to yourself.
They have told me "It's ok, you can leave now" as they see my guilt..
Peace to your heart, and dont worry about your crying and feeling that you will never adapt to this. I am still 'winging it' and its been months ((Hug))
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To everyone who has answered this. The answers are so different and yet they all have validity. What I have found most helpful is the love and compassion that I feel from all of you. My mother presents with a unique set of problems that has made it extremely difficult to get her admitted anywhere and she has no money or assets. Getting her qualified under the Medicaid "rules" has been a challenge because she has no Physical problems that require medication and she can climb the stairs 200 times a day. To look at her she seems perfectly healthy. Mentally she is like a two year old. She doesn't know how to do anything for herself. She doesn't understand anything about anything and doesn't even know you are talking about her when you are talking about her. But she will walk up to strangers and hug them and tell them they are her best friend.
The facility I found was recommended by a friend of a friend who's mother had Alzheimer and was in the same financial boat. She put her Mom in this home and loves it. At first they said they weren't sure they could qualify her because of her good health. But when they found she wanders and couldn't give the police any information on what her name is or her birthday or address or MY last name, they said that could be her saving grace. But because of that they will have to put her in a lock down unit and the thought of that kills me. They said that after they get her on meds and get her approved for medicaid they will try to do trial periods in the open population rooms to see if she tries to leave and if she doesn't then they can move her. They are very well staffed, clean and most importantly the nurses and aids are always smiling like they're happy. I wander if their recommendation is as much for me as it is for Mom because I haven't stopped crying and she hasn't even gone in yet. She will go in on Monday so we can have her for the holidays. Maybe they are afraid that if someone is there all the time with Mom that medicaid will think she has people that can care for her?? Or maybe it's just been their experience that patients really do settle in faster to cut the cord clean for a short period so they settle into their new routines. Whatever the reason is, I trust them. I will spend several hours the day I take her and bring a list of questions, and meet all the nurses and aids on that wing and talk to them all and get the phone number. I may wait a few days and just call the nurses everyday and ask how she's adjusting and acting. I'm really just winging it. I thought I was ready for all this and didn't realize it would hit me so hard. You can't help but to feel protective and worry about how they are feeling and doing. I'm sorry if I'm rambling and I appreciate you all so much for caring and for the advice. Merry Christmas to you all
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I've never gone through anything close to that, but my breathing is getting shallow and my sight's blurred by tears. Something in your post is familiar to me; yet I can't put my finger on it.

Follow the administrator's suggestion and let Mom time adjust to the new surroundings. After that 1-2 hour visits 2x a week would be just about right. Your husband and children need you. The whole family needs to heal, and you must nurse yourself back to health.
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There is a middle road. Visit her when she not at meals or if there are activities going on. The idea is to get her to focus on new friends and new activities. If you are there all the time, she will not get a chance to fit in, she will cling to you. It's like taking your kid to school for the first time---mothers aren't allowed to stay for just the same reason.
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Gina, I don't mean to stray off topic, but I'd like to focus more on you during this transition.

You have had to make a really hard decision.

You cannot be certain how your mother will settle in. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst is a good rule of thumb.

The 'leave the staff in peace to help her settle' school of thought has experience on its side. I have no doubt it does help them help her adjust to the NH routine more readily. Whether or not that is *all* that matters in terms of her quality of life is a different question. Speaking for myself, I feel that the continuity that only seeing you can provide is at least as important; but do bear in mind that it won't fall to you to deal with her confusion and (possibly) distress every time you leave - that's what the staff want to avoid.

So, I don't think there's a certain, right answer. Why not see how it goes? Visit her, form good relationships with the NH team, and see if, by co-operating, you can actually help. Then if that isn't working you can always think again.

But *meanwhile* there is how *you* are going to be feeling. Once the pressure comes off, mind guilt doesn't creep in and destroy any benefit for *you* (and your family) of this huge adjustment. Be kind to yourself, remind yourself that you have done and can only do your best throughout, and do what feels right.

Real experts, by the way, won't order you around or fob you off. If you're happy with the NH you've chosen, you should be able to trust its team to work with you for the best possible outcome for your mother.

Best of luck, please let us know how you and she are getting on.
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Im not going to comment on how often but can I pick up on a point caregiving made. If you are checking your LO over for marks etc to be on the safe side can you also check for bruising on the inside of the upper part of her arms.Thats soft paler skinned part between the armpit and the elbow - but the upper part of that. I have personally watched, reported ad seen action taken against two care (using the term loosely here) workers who were, on the face of it, helping a lady to stand.She howled in pain and initially i thought that standing hurt her and she was very old and arthritic - subsequent visits indicated she only howled when these two were on and I am ashamed to say it took me 5 visits to actually see what the b^&*hes were doing. As they so carefully went to 'help' her they were both pinching the inside of her arm hard to force her to stand more quickly. I told the manager and she checked this sweet old lady and sure enough 2 massive bruises on the inside of the upper part of the arm. They were suspended immediately pending investigation. 6 out of the 10 people checked had the same bruising. So while I loathe saying that some care workers really should not be doing the job but should just go into some dark hole and be left there, you do occasionally get bad apples in the bag and you should be vigilant. Your LO may have dementia but what they say might also be very true.
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I completely respect what Babalou is saying, really I do, as every person's experience is unique and different (some positive, some negative), however, I disagree with staying on the sidelines. The nursing home is being paid top dollar and making a huge profit margin of every patient - they should be accommodating to the patient and do what's best for the patient's comfort and timeline and not the other way around. I'm not saying you should be in their face all the time but you don't want to be a wallflower because they will do the bare minimum if given the opportunity to do so while cashing in the fat checks. The nursing homes are purposely understaffed for a reason...Hello Christmas Bonus to the management team! Sorry to sound cruel but it's the truth. As a family member, you need to be actively involved and not think that dropping off your loved one means his/her care is of 100% quality - 24/7. I have a personal - and very painful experience from this situation - so I know what I'm saying is valid feedback. You need to let them you know in a firm and kind way that you mean business and one example of this is casually checking out the patient's skin; you don't need to tell them what you're doing but you need to do it in the periphery of their vision or when they're in the mother's room so they can see what you're doing. And if someone actually does ask what you're doing, you just reply with something like "I'm just making sure my mother's needs are being met..." and they'll get the picture, quickly.
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I just went through this with my mom. She was wondering and I was very sick. No one forced me to stay away and actually didnt even notice that I visited.
You may find this exact same thing happens! Dont sweat it, do what you want.
I found the best thing was to call and have them have a tray of lunch for me so I could eat lunch with her...Then visit a bit till the afternoon program started, then when she was situated there, I slipped her into the face to face attention of an aid- I would leave. She didnt notice i was gone.
The next home she is in now, there isnt a program going on- so I say I have to go to the bathroom, or I say "see you tomorrow!" and she happily goes about her business... i was shocked at first at her lack of reaction, but its a godsend...
Make the visits short and like i saw up there, follow your gut.
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