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I'm going to be taking a break. This is my first break since my divorce two years ago. I'm just worried about my mom, even though it's only five days.

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I never heard of it but I think its wonderful! Your mom will meet some new friends and you will have a break! I wish you both a relaxing and joyful time :)
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Shanzmom23, my mother went to respite care for one week a couple of months ago, and I've booked her in at the same place for a further week at the end of June.

Essentially, a) you need the time off and b) there is a limit to how much they can get wrong in the space of five days. So get your head down, get some sleep, get some fresh air and exercise, do whatever will help you make good use of that precious time off.

That said, here are some reassuring thoughts, and some things that we found worked well (and less well, but there weren't many of those and I'm really splitting hairs).

I assume you've chosen the nursing home carefully - asked around, ideally spoken to other residents and their family members, visited the place and had a good look (we invited ourselves to lunch when we went to check it out. The food was ho-hum, but it was hot, fresh and served with a smile even to residents whose relatives weren't watching). Be as nosey and (constructively!) critical as you like at this stage. A good home welcomes questions from people who care about their elders. And if they don't welcome such questions… there's a clue.

So: it's a good place, with a good reputation. In that case they will take care of your mother well. There are things you can do to make that easier for them, especially when they have such limited time to get used to her preferences and routines; but it is their professional duty to ensure that your mother is safe and well cared for. Sit easy. Nothing awful will happen.

As your mother can't talk, it will help the staff if you can give them a detailed checklist of her daily routine, and especially the things she's most likely to need to communicate about. Which hand she holds her toothbrush in. What order she prefers to put her clothes on. If you run through your typical day with her in your head, and jot down milestones on paper, that's the kind of thing they need to know.

Does your mother have any physical illnesses, or is she frail? Again, a good care home will want to know in detail about this and should have procedures to make sure they comply with her regimen and her safety needs. Yes, things do go wrong some of the time in some care homes; but most of the time they don't. These people know their job and do it well.

Then there's the question of how your mother will manage the disruption. I'm afraid she will probably take it badly - not because anybody is doing anything wrong, but simply because she will be disoriented and confused. I refer you back to point A, though. YOU NEED THIS BREAK. Settling her down again once she's at home will be trying for a short time, but it'll be worth it.

Did my mother like the respite care as much as I did? No. She hated it. And if I sat in a room with my arms folded and my mouth pursed and refused to interact with anyone for a week, I'm sure I'd be bored silly too. She has promised me faithfully that next time she will make an effort to converse with her fellow residents, and take up some of the staff's suggestions about things she might like to do. I'll believe it when I hear about; but I'm still having that break.

As this is respite care, I shouldn't worry about the 'don't contact them or they'll never settle' rule. I emailed every day with 'news from the home front' and the staff printed the email, in large type, and gave it to her. I don't know if they'd have read it to her if she'd wanted them to, but probably they would. I felt it would reassure her that I wouldn't forget to come and collect her (tempt me!), and I could remind her that she was only there for a few days so make the most of it.

Do a packing list, check things off when you get there, and count them back in again when she comes home. Provide a LARGE bag for them to put all her laundry in, plus plastic bags for anything that, um, you know; and bring it home with you - that way you don't have to worry about labelling clothes or about their coming back mysteriously shrunk or not at all. Make sure the staff know that her clothes are not to be sent to the laundry. Actually, it might be wise to put name tapes in anything that you care about, just in case. And of course if your mother's got continence issues you might want to do things differently - just don't take anything that she'd be upset to lose.

Do make sure she's got good clear photos of you and other significant people. Captions will help the staff make conversation, and also keep you familiar to her while you're away.

The staff will have your number in case of emergency. Make sure you all agree beforehand on what constitutes an emergency. If your mother has a phone in her room, tell her that YOU will call HER at a particular time. Don't take calls from your mother's room phone. If there's an emergency, the staff will call you.

Don't take house plants. They will die, because no one will water them.

Even though it's for such a short time, do take a few favourite, familiar items to make her feel at home (and help her recognise her room), such as a blanket - we took her bedside light because she finds ordinary ones hard to operate, but not every home will allow this so best to check.

That's all I can think of. The first stay was my first break, too; I had grandiose plans, but mainly I just lay down and breathed deeply. Enjoy your time off and relax - your mother will be muddled by this, but no harm will come to her. Best of luck x
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I just did this with my dad this past weekend. It went really well. The director said dad wanted to leave Friday night be she got him settled down. No complaints the entire weekend. Of course my dad has such short term memory he doesn't remember much of the weekend. I didn't even call to check up on hom.
In fact he is going back Thurs morning got the werkend as I have an extended job with my hobby business.
Just find out how they bill the hours as this place bills midnight to midnight which I did not know upfront so I could have dropped of earlier. Just an fyi make a list of exactly everything you brought as The staff had to look for his sweatshirt.
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The only other option you have is to hire full time in-home care for the time you are gone. You more than deserve to take a break and Mom will do just fine.

Doing the worried woulda, shoulda, coulda dance brings nothing but additional stress. Taking care of yourself is very important as a 24/7 caregiver!
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My mom is the last person that we thought would like a NH. She has thrived since day 1.
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Shanz, WONDERFUL! My mom went to respite for two weeks two years ago. She did fine for the most part but naturally was more confused than normal. I asked her doctor for a xanax prescription for those nights they felt they needed to give her something to calm down. One thing I think we should all consider is what if she does very well and enjoys that 5 days? If she does would you consider placing her permanently? Changes in environment are so hard on them, it would be hard to know what is best for them. When at home does she have friends and activities to keep her busy and engaged? This is so very important for them to have regular interaction with peers.
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