My mother is 93 and has been in a nursing home for about 5 years. Obviously her condition has progressed and I am not sure she knows exactly who I am when I visit. I do know that she gets very upset now when she gets visitors and it upsets her whole day. I know she doesn't remember from one day to the next, so even if I could visit daily, her reaction would be the same...upsetting for her. There is much guilt on my part because I didn't have a choice but to put her in a nursing facility. I know she gets very good care there, it's a small facility for Alzheimer patients. I am struggling, making myself visit, when I know the visit won't be pleasant for her or me and am I doing it to satisfy my guilt or because it benefits her in some way. I don't see how being upset for an entire day benefits her at all...just so I won't feel guilty.

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Clearly most of us want to visit our loved ones when they move on to a facility. Not to mention it is important to see that she is being well cared for. Perhaps you can come up with a new visiting approach. Afternoons rather than mornings, for example. Can you visit during a meal, or if you have been doing that not during a meal. In other words, just change things up a bit. Come during an activity or bring something to do. I've seen suggestions here about sorting playing cards or buttons or coins. It's just something to do together. I used to bring one of those large fashion magazines that were mostly photos. I'd look at it with my Mom (and then my MIL) and we would discuss the photo, the colors of the clothes, the size of the heels on the shoes, etc. Never got past 5 pages but it allowed her to contribute --- even if the comment was absurd. ('I just got a pair of shoes exactly like that' --Really Mom you are such high style!) Try a different visiting pattern and see how that goes.
Helpful Answer (31)

bguerra, curious, do you visit Mom the same time each day? I remember one time a writer on the forums here said whenever she visited her Mom, her Mom was so upset being in that place, had no friends, wanted to move out, the whole 9 yards of guilt....

Well, one day the daughter decided to visit at a time that her Mom wasn't expecting her. There was Mom, in the common room with other ladies enjoying the activity of the day. Then Mom spotted her daughter... oops, the gig was up.

For your Mom, it could be the Alzheimer's talking. Maybe your Mom thinks you are someone else. I remember my Mom would call me by name, and I thought gosh she still remembers me. It wasn't until one day she was calling an Aide by my name, and that wasn't the aide's name. Ah ha. Mom also thought my Dad was her brother. So it isn't easy knowing what is going on in Mom's brain at the time.

As for upsetting the day, I noticed with my Dad he preferred a routine, and a visitor or anything else would throw a wrench into his routine. He enjoyed visitors but in the afternoon he was very tired being he was in his 90's so I decided to cut back to one day a week, weekend morning, and just for a few minutes when I was delivering supplies to Dad. That worked well for both of us.
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I'm less than 10 minutes away from the nursing home and see my mom from 4:30 to around 6:15 or so every night at her dinner time and help feed her. I run my mouth as though she can understand what I'm talking about. She may be talking to herself at the same time but does seem to brighten up most days for a bit and usually laughs and adds some nonsense to the conversation. After she eats (or doesn't eat) I take her outside to a small garden they have and put earphones on her (she was in a choir as a kid, so that's the type music I use), and she sometimes sings along (or talks to herself). Being outdoors for a bit always seems to help her. I then wheel her back in to sit with a group of ladies pretty much like her, sitting in a big TV room at a table. A few of the staff have told me many of those ladies never have a visitor, so sometimes I stay awhile longer and sit with them. When I get up to leave, I always say that I'll be back. I've been faithful daily though of course many days, I absolutely don't want to go and know I don't have to, but I'm always glad I made the effort.
Helpful Answer (16)

It may not serve any good purpose for her or you to have one on one contact. I would suggest stopping by occasionally to check on her. You don't have to try to engage her, remind her who are etc. it might be very upsetting for her to have a visitor who know her but she doesn't remember them.

I used to do some hospice volunteering. Many patients had advanced dementia and were freaked out by this strange man trying to visit them.
Helpful Answer (15)

There are many good suggestions...We all want to do "the right things" with our loved ones in nursing homes....You know she gets upset every time you go..Perhaps you could just go often and not visit mom, but talk with the staff and hang out at the nurses' station for a half hour or so...The staff will not be able to be one-on-one with you for extended time periods but while hanging out you could ask them if mom is still the same, worse or better....Possibly you would want to visit with mom briefly about once a week.. The main thing see it is that you will feel better if you know how she is doing..

Whatever you decide will likely not be ideal, nor anywhere near it...Yet, separating how you feel from what you do may well be the best you can do in a puzzling situation.

Grace + Peace,
Helpful Answer (15)

It is not YOU that upsets her but the disruption in the "routine"
If you could visit her everyday for 1 hour that would become part of her routine and the visit would no longer be upsetting for her. Even every other day visit would become part of the routine. But it would be best to make the visit the same time every day.
Take her for a walk, sit and read, or just talk. If she is having problems eating make your visit at a meal time so you could help her. It will give her a bit of one on one care and she will equate your visit with something that hopefully she enjoys.
Helpful Answer (11)

I go 1-2 times a week, going there is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. My mom is 77 and has been there since January of this year and I am almost positive she doesn't know me , When she first went she knew enough to know something was different and exactly same as you I had GUILT, GUILT ! There is nothing in this world to me that makes it easy or better, I feel like I am going thru the gates of H*ll, Panic Attacks when going and leaving. I talk to several there that know me by my face and at least I do know I bring some joy in their life. I have been going to a support group for Dementia and Alzheimers and this helps, But one of the hard parts in all this too is watching my dad so sad. He goes to the support group with me and this has helped him alot. Number one thing was GUILT ! Things that run thru my mind is so hard, How often should I go see her, would never put her in a nursing home, I am mourning my mom and will do it one more time, I ache for my moms touch, her talking to me, etc. My dad took care of mom around 6 years and I helped as well but not near as much as he did. They have been married 57 years.. I do go different times and other family members as well, this let's you keep a watch on her care. I think at sometime we have all heard bad things about nursing homes. It is sad that they cannot have enough employees in a much needed place, I have not come across one yet that has enough. At one time where my mom is they had 20 patients for each employee, there is no way they can properly care for them as needed and they will tell you that themselves. Sad, very heartbreaking because the ones my mom has does care and wants to give more care
Helpful Answer (10)

Lawyers say visit frequently because the nursing home will know they are being watched. Just make it a habit and do it daily as part of her routine--and visit the same time everyday. Alzheimer's is often no different than someone with autism. They may not remember day-to-day events but they will know what is routine and what is not.
Helpful Answer (9)

My wife has dementia and is subject to periods of agitation. These periods happen most often in the late afternoon (Called Sundown Syndrome). During these periods she does not know me. She gets angry at herself, then takes it out on the caregiver.
She is now under Hospice and I am taking care of her at home but when she was in the memory care facility I visited almost every day at lunch tome. She was less likely to be agitated and I could help feed her. I also made it a point to get to know others and talk to them and call them by name. It actually became an enjoyable experience that I looked forward to. The smiles I received made it all worth while.
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It would be helpful for you to examine your feelings of why you feel guilty when you did nothing wrong. Did you have a good relationship with her before the Alzheimer's? Did you put her in a nice place where she can get quality care until she passes? These are signs of a good daughter and what matters. If you being there upsets her, then that is a counterproductive thing to do. After all this should be about her and not about you at this point. I suggest you visit a couple of times with a competent therapist to get these feelings of your sorted out. Ask the social worker on staff to suggest a name or two.
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