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Our first experience with respite was a disaster, in part I think because I didn't know exactly what I needed to ask for and emphasize about her needs. Mom won't complain and can't ask for what she needs and this time I won't be around to supervise, so she is totally at their mercy... I know that sounds awful but I don't know any way to put it.

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Thanks all, I'm leaving the country on Sunday for a family wedding and we will all be out of contact for a few days so I will just have to trust that all goes well. After our "trial run" last summer I made my concerns known and yesterday we were met at the door by the DOC herself who assured my she has made changes and we certainly got the royal treatment. I can only hope it is not all just icing covering a pile of dog poo!
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Whoops! I see you posted 6 days ago. Perhaps you're back already?
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How long will she be in respite, presumably while you're away (nice vacation in sunny Florida, perhaps)?

I think I would bring her favorite things - special blankets, pillows, items of comfort, CD player with favorite CDs, or a radio, books if she's a reader, photos of you and your family to provide a reference point and help her remember that this is respite and not a permanent stay.

Also, perhaps a calendar marking the dates you'll be gone and when you're be returning. A staff member could help her cross off each day. Then she can see when you'll be returning.

I might also write out a lot of cards, one or two for each day, and ask one of the staff to make sure she reads them on a daily basis.

What I've done for family members with special health challenges is get together a batch of cards, mostly animals with different expressions, for different moods. I found "sleepy" cats, energetic cats and dogs, resting wildlife, and others. I used my collection of rubber stamps to add decorations to the envelopes and put suggested moods for each - i.e., when someone is feeling great, feeling poorly, getting restless, tired, wanted to just rest, etc.
So there were cards for a variety of occasions. They could open cards specific to their mood that day.

I'd probably also call, perhaps a few times a day, again as a reference point to help keep her focused.

Another possibility is discussing with the staff what activities she might want to attend and ask them to be sure to help her get to wherever they're being held. That way she won't be alone in her room.
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Cwillie, when my mom was in rehab after hospital stay she was acting badly because of UTI and the pain meds so at hospital she would not cooperate with nurses aids docs etc. We feared she would also give rehab people trouble so we made a point to talk with the staff about what to expect what was normal and what was not. We also found out who her aids would be and had a long talk with them. We took her favorite blanket to put on bed, candy she liked and a few other things. My husband also made a sign for the wall that read " if mom tells you to take a powder and blow dont take it personal". This put the staff on alert but also calmed them because the knew the family understood mom could be difficult at times. Things went fine, few days she refused pills but the staff kept working with her and soon she came around. I think letting the staff know you understand things may be tough at times makes them work harder for you, you become partners as it were in moms care. Hope this time things will be better for your mom. Enjoy you time off and dont worry all will be ok.
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Bring her favorite quilts or throws, a few pictures, her favorite books and music. Also pack her preferred toiletry items.
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