Is it common for people with dementia to get retraumatized by going into a nursing home, especially if they had PTSD when they were younger?

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Thanks for this.. I will check it out right now! :)
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W/no offense to nursing home staff, they don't has as much experience as the VA in dealing with PTSD. I'd research the VA website to become more acquainted with PTSD triggers and how to deal with them. The VA has created some programs to help Veterans, and probably has a lot more diversified experience than any nursing home could have.

I read (last week I think) of an arts program for PTSD treatment. Therapy dogs have been used successfully as well. I get a VA newsletter and there's a lot more that the VA is doing, but I don't always check out all the links.

A big concern for your aunt would be how she can get therapy to address the triggers, and I suspect that isn't available in a nursing home.
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Thanks again, I don't think she had any therapy or counselling. She is on some medication for depression. One of the things I know is that patients don't seem to get the good care in some facilities. As a volunteer for a few years, one of the things that really bothered me was how some of the staff seemed so cold. Patients often had to wait for way too long before getting help. It was sad to see and I hope she won't have to go.
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Busyone; thanks so much for coming back! Has your aunt been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? Has she had any therapy/medication over the years to deal with those issues?

Knowing her history is going to be a blessing going forward, whether she is at home or in care, because you are there to tell the caregivers what might be triggerers for her.

I remember reading a sad story several years ago of a dementia patient who always fought being showered (not uncommon among dementia patients). But it turned out that she had been raped in a shower many years before in school, so for her, being in a shower was a particularly traumatizing experience.

I'm so glad she has you on her team!
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Thanks for your responses. Yes, my aunt was institutionalized against her will when she was younger. She had a lot of negative experiences while there and I don't want her to get triggered. I was a volunteer at a hospice and saw some patients with dementia and PTSD regress back to their earlier days. Something triggered them and they suddenly thought they were back in that awful place and would become fearful (retraumatized). It looked awful for them.. :(
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Busyone, I have the feeling that there is more information that would help us give you better answers.

Are you contemplating putting your mother into a care facility? Does she have PTSD from earlier in her life?

It would be wonderful if we could predict how a demented elder will react when they start in a care facility, but we can't. I think the best you can do is get them the psychiatric care that they need so that agitation and fear don't get the better of them.
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Get on board with the staff. I see patients with PTSD who are in the hospital not by choice. When we get report it is important on how we approach the person. Some like a closed door and a gentle knock before entering . Others will give us recommendations on how to wake them in the middle of the night. Try to ensure that the staff is oriented to the particulars so that no one gets injured.
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I don't know if it's "common", or whether there are even statistics on this. But it's certainly possible, and if PTSD was diagnosed earlier, it's very possible. The new surroundings, restrictions, new faces and structured living could traumatize anyone.

The important issue is how do you handle this and how can you protect this person as much as possible from further trauma?
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