I need some ideas for leaving a dementia relative at a NH for my respite care.

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In Aug. I will be going on a retreat, and my husband is not able to take care of her. If I told her in advance, she will resist even leaving the house, or she will not remember 10 minutes after I tell her. She has extreme fear about being left somewhere, as she was the youngest and last of 5 children in her family to be placed or adopted. Would it help to take her 2 days ahead (if a bed is available nearby) and stay for awhile, and visit before I go? It is going to happen, because I need it, but I'd like to lessen the trauma.

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First off, good for you, taking a break for yourself!  If you can destress during that time, all the better.  She will be in good hands, so no matter what, try to put it all out of mind and relax!  Maybe if they have an Rx for anti-anxiety (mom gets Lorazipam (sp?), very mild, just takes the edge of and is "as needed" only (she does NOT take this every day, and it does not need days/weeks to produce results.) 

Yes to the moecam idea. I recently asked both of my kids to send mom a card, letter, pictures (one has the great-grandchild, the other has the mini-doxies) once/month to liven up things (all her generation are gone, her "friends" are either gone or too old to drive to visit, one brother is not local, the other is still working, so she gets me - and I get 'Oh what're you doing here? Where'd you come from?'

If at all possible, could she go for a short time, say 2 days only, before your retreat and then again the next week, and so on, so she gets used to her own mini-vaca/retreat? See how she does with the short stays beforehand. You don't indicate how long your retreat is - if it is a week or less, you might only need 1-2 of these little visits before the real thing. Use it as a test run, so you can see how things go when you are still available in case she tweaks...
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Reply to disgustedtoo
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Moecam has a great idea. Go with it.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Moecam, what a great idea. This would be great for anyone in a NH. A weekly "happy" to give them something to look forward to.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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When I went away I took in wrapped several packages that I made up even to pretend stamps - she opened them & inside was a small item with a note that I would be back in a few days & was looking forward to seeing her etc -

The home gave them to her every few days so that was her 'visit' for that day - she enjoyed this a lot at her then level of dementia so do this if you can - I put in several mini [Hallowe'en] chocolate bars in the packages so it doesn't have to be a big item [I couldn't send them through mail in summer anyway] but something she loves
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Reply to moecam
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Would not leave plants/flowers that need care unless parent can do so. They are proof they are alone. We used the idea of a vacation for my mother (96 years) to explain her placement. Subsequently, explained that the home was hers and we had come to visit. Would not mention your getaway as it could cause apprehension. Emphasize this was her vacation and encourage interaction with others...
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Reply to MichaelC
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All I can say is God love you. Caregiving is hard when its a parent but to care for a friend. This may be a good test. And I agree, ask husband to visit a little everyday or friends. She may surprise you and do well. I wouldn't tell her in advance. We told Mom the day we took her. Told her she was going to a new apartment. That she would meet new people, etc. Just tell her you need to go away for a few days. I wouldn't say retreat or vacation. Good luck.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Giving her some time to acclamate to new surrounding with frequent visits by loved ones, I think would likely help reduce her anxiety ..and take a little gift each time you visit and maybe flowers that last a few days while you will be gone 😊
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Reply to Cheryl312
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Can your husband visit her semi-frequently while you’re gone? He won’t be caring for her but he will be a familiar face. If she has other family or friends nearby, they can visit her as well. Then she won’t feel abandoned. You may also want to speak with her doctor for an anti-anxiety script to be given if she stresses out. I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that you’re leaving her. She has no concept of time, more than likely. Tell her you’ll be back “in a while” and have the facility staff tell her the same thing.

Enjoy your retreat!
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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