Anyone else have problems with visiting Mom or Dad in the nursing home? - AgingCare.com

Anyone else have problems with visiting Mom or Dad in the nursing home?

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Ok, I have been putting off posting this topic because I realize many folks here have much more serious problems to discuss than a dilemma like this. That is, it may not seem like a dilemma to anyone else but me --- however, I am choosing to "bite the bullet" because it's the problem I'm having related to my 76 year old Dad. .

My Dad has been in assisted living and now a nursing home for 5 months or so. He gets the occassional visit from my brother and his family. Once a week someone from the church comes to give him communion. He, also, has a weekly visit with his counselor. Friends rarely visit because they're either busy or have health problems themselves.

I feel like I should visit Dad every other day. I love him and I want him to know that he's not forgotten. My problem is that I have begun seeing these visits as a chore, an obligation and something I don't look forward to.

First of all, it's incredibly depressing to me that he now lives in a room with little more than a bed, a dresser and a tv. I walk down the hallway to his room and see other folks who seem to be in far worse condition and think, "Dad doesn't belong here!"

When I get to his room, he's usually in his wheelchair watching tv. The usual topics of conversation aren't on the table. Like we'd exchange conversation about what we'd been doing for the past couple of days. For him, we're pretty much down to whether or not he had a BM that day. I've stopped asking who he's talked to lately because it's so sad to hear him say nobody has visited or called him. As for me, my life hardly changes from day to day and I'm sure he's not interested in dustball stories or money woes.

Please tell me what kinds of things you talk with your Mom or Dad about when you go to visit them. A lot of time we just watch tv together or the subject of my Mom comes up. She died 8 months ago and we do have a lot of grief to share --- I have brought Dad small photo albums I made with pictures of Mom and the two of them together which he seems to appreciate.

Dad used to be a voracious reader so we could talk books or even the latest movie we had seen. That's out because he doesn't have the attention span to do any heavy reading and we don't go to the theatre any more. I bought him a Scrabble game for Christmas and now realize he just doesn't have the patience or concentration to get through a game.

I bring him dinner or dessert or something to drink on a regular basis. So we eat together and that's something familiar --- comforting.

My other question has to do with frequency of visits and the length of time of visits. What seems like the right amount of visits per week for anyone who has a Dad or Mom in a home? When I let 3 days go by without visiting him, I feel guilty --- maybe I should alternate between calls and visits. Right now I rarely call since I see him so often. Also, I feel like I should stay an hour but sometimes it's just too much and 20-25 minutes is my limit on some days. Again, I feel guilty when I don't stay longer.

I appreciate the opportunity to share what's been on my mind for a while so thanks for reading if you've gotten this far. I look forward to finding out how other caregivers handle visits.

Thank you!

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Carol, you are doing a fine job with your Dad. Everyone's situation is different, so I would say just do what you feel is right for you. So many people here have made wonderful suggestions. As for myself, my 88 y/o Mom is in a NH a little over a year, and it is about a half hour away. Prior to her going there, I was pretty much burned out with the emotional and physical strain of her care. I deliberately limit myself to once a week visits. The conversation becomes shorter and more repetitive as her dementia progresses. I do bring in food/coffee/snacks (she loves a nice hot cup of DunkinDonuts coffee), bring her clean and pressed clothing every week, and pack up the dirty laundry. We watch TV - she loves wheel of fortune. Sometimes I will do her nails or trim her hair. The visits last between 1 - 2 hours. Generally, once a month I take her out to the hairdresser along with my Uncle for their haircare, and then we go to lunch or early dinner. These outings of course are intended to be pleasant and for the most part are. But they are very strenuous for me due to both of their physical limitations. Added to that, Mom sometimes reaches a point where she starts to get very argumentive and critical of me, and then I know I've kept her out too long. I put on some American Standard music from the 40's while we are driving, to keep her in a good mood as long as possible on the drive back to the NH. None of this is easy for caregivers, but it is important to recognize your own limitations and not feel guilty for what you cannot do.
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Carol, it sounds to me like you're doing a very, very good job in what you're doing in the visiting department! And for heaven's sake, going every other day to see him is exemplary, BUT if you feel you can't continue to visit so often then you must stop, and more importantly, stop beating yourself up over it if you have to cut back visits. It is counterproductive for both you and yr. dad. Let me tell you something: mom is in a nursing home, my husband, daughter (19) & I live with dad in his home and we can't get DAD to come on our visits with mom! So don't think it's horrible of you to have a hard time going frequently.

My mom has only me, one wonderful cousin and my sister who visit her; no friends have ever visited; other family members are either dead or live far away. My husband works 2 jobs, my daughter 3 part time jobs; they are stretched to the limit so 90% of the caregiving of dad falls on me, thru no fault of theirs. It's a tough economy! We have to do what we do simply to be able to keep somewhat abreast of bills and eat.

What you do w/yr dad on your visits is pretty much the same that I do with my mom. And it's hard. Everytime I have to gear myself up to seeing her as it's so heartbreakingly depressing for me to see her in the debilitating condition she's in. I've even cried to the CNAs and nurses about my being a negligent daughter and THEY have reassured me that no, I'm not; I've got a full plate and am doing the best I can.

You must realize this is true. If you cannot see dad as often as you feel you "should", believe me, you are feeling this way because you are stretched too thin, unhappy at a situation you can't change....but truly your dad is most likely doing well where he is. He has other regular visits from different faces & that's good too.

Start feeling better about yourself! Everything you are feeling is exactly the same thing I have felt & others here have too. Many, many hugs, support and encouragement that you stay strong, take each day step by step and focus on the beautiful in the world. And keep writing here! It has been a godsend for me!
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Mom asked the social worker that she wanted to speak to her. Most likely it's about finding another place to live. She told me that she wanted to talk to thesocialworker about that. I hope the social worker does not discourage her, but after speaking to my mom she can do some things to fix her complaints. Mom was always a complainer. Never could see the best in most situations
She may be so convinced that I'm concerned that she will eat less and fall back in depression because she's not getting her way. Yikes.
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Equinox, there are times that a new facility will make life better for someone, but from what you are describing, this is not one of those times. You can look around and see if other nearby places are even available, and try to find out from Mom more specifically what she does not like, but if it is a case of just not wanting to be around other people who are confused and needing help, moving to another facility would not likely change that at all. The main thing is that she is doing well, or as well as possible, and it may just be unrealistic to expect for her to be totally happy with the situation of needing care. Letting her complain may be the right move. Maybe the facility social worker or one of the therapists or activity directors would have some ideas of how to cheer her up adn make her life better if possible, and a talk with them might help you see it from a less "guilty" perspective and make the best decisions for Mom too.
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Hello
very good ideas and you all have so much compassion. My mom has been in NH since last April.In the course of one year I have seen her loose 25 pounds gain it back when she was adjusting period. I have seen her go forward in her strength and back and forth. Now I must say she's just like she was before she went to the NH. She is wheelchair bound, incontence, stubborn, . I can see that she does forget when asked if she had lunch. Then she will remember. That's when I'm asking others whether she came to the dinning area. At this time looks like she thinks she is feeling better, and I know she is. She makes comments about people,"I don't like these people thhe way they look" she is asking to leave the NH that she's in now. My thoughts are where. She is close to my house, her sisters, who is 87 and drives to the NH Atleast once a week. I don't want to be unhappy . Even when she was in independent living she was saying the same thing. Don't know what to say anymore. I am thinking of letting her talk and avoid the subject.
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Raven1,
What a brave and honest post! It isn't easy to suspend judgement, when our experience has been different.

My mother, who never spent a day in a NH, said, "I know that if I go to a NH, your father will never be able to visit me there." She didn't admire that about him, but she recognized and accepted it. She, too, had to work to accept others' ways of doing things.
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When I read your question I have to admit I was angry that you had placed your father in a nursing home where no one comes to visit and he sits in his room watching TV alone. It really bothered me that you wanted to know how many days a week you had to go visit and how long you had to stay. I just kept thinking so if the tables were turned, how many days would you want someone to come see you and how long would you want them to stay and why is it the responsibility of friends and church members to visit your father, he is YOUR father.

In my family I saw my mother and aunt spend every single day at the nursing home with their mother....all day long and it didn't matter that they had kids, we could take care of ourselves. I then watched my Mom do the same for her sister at the hospital and nursing home. My father died in the hospital but my Mom spent every night sleeping in a bed next to him to be there for him. I now care for my mother at home and have promised her that I will never put her in a nursing home, unless she is so ill and in need of medication that I cannot administer at home.

But this is my family, it isn't every family. I had to think about how to answer your question and all I felt was anger, so I ate dinner with my daughter and niece and asked them what they would think they would do. I was surprised by their answers.

They both said, it depended on what their circumstances were at the time, married, children, or work. One said they think they would be there every other day, the other said at least once a week if every other day was impossible. As far as time goes they did not have a specific time but both felt that an hour at minimum was not asking too much. Their answers changed my thoughts on what a child should be expected to do for their parent. I will continue to care for my mother every single day, all day long, but it isn't right that I should feel you are neglecting your father for not doing what I do.

I have to say that I am extremely impressed by the advice these other ladies have given you as things to do with your father when you visit. Please try some of them and if he isn't interested today, he may be tomorrow or next week so keep trying. Get books on tape and sit and listen to them with him if you don't want to read. Do use music that is really good for a lot of people. You might see if you could record him talking about his life growing up, we got my father to write about his life and it is such a blessing to read now. Bring him the newspaper every day and sit and read with him. There really are all kinds of things you can do to occupy your time and bring him enjoyment during your visits.

I apologize to you for being angry that you had placed your father in a nursing home, your question has made me grow up and have a talk with my daughter and niece about what they think they would do. We each have to live with our decisions in life and not everyone's decision will be the same.

God Bless you and your Father on this journey!
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not a big fan of primate penis iz what im sayin..
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my mom was in AL for 3 months about 4 years ago. i used to have dinner with her too for a minimal amount of money. to be honest it tasted like 3 feet of beat up monkey d*** and only strengthened my resolve to get her home..
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I just lost my Mom a month ago... I don't regret a day I spent with her... Some were better than others but I can look back now and say I did the best I could. I visited my Mom everyday... Not because I had to but because I wanted to... She gave me life and I wanted to be there through hers.. You don't have to entertain them as some one else said, just to be there... to touch and smile and laugh with them... I too kept lotion and put some on her legs and feet when Iput her socks and shoes on. she loved it so much... she would often say don't forget this leg... Right now I would love to go over and just touch her one more time... Enjoy them while you have them....
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