Follow
Share

I have just placed my 93 year old mother in a nursing home, where they have specific care for dementia. I have been caring for her myself, but she tried to run away. Now she is in the home, and wants to go "home", but thinks home is where she lived as a child. I'm unable to console or soothe her, and it is breaking my heart. Any ideas?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
It does take awhile for elders to get use to the nursing home.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks so much for sharing your story with me.You are a good daughter and your mother is lucky to have you looking out for her.

I am taking care of my mom by myself. My brother lives an hour away and helps when he can but I live with my mom and I'm the primary caregiver. My next door neighbor can babysit her when I have to work late. Mom goes to adult day care when I'm at work and to respite care when I have business trips.

But I can tell that she is changing. She has breast cancer and her lungs are filling with fluid which makes her short of breath when she walks a short distance. I'm beginning to wonder if she shouldn't live at home anymore. I know she wants to live at home and it will probably break her heart not living with me because she relies on me so much and I'm her security blanket Mom is very attached to me and can get pretty upset when I'm not around. But I want what's best for her.

My mom also would confuse where we live with the place she grew up and sometimes she asks me to give her mother a ride or mention a departed relative as if they are still alive. It's a very hard decision.

Fortunately, the day care center also has a nursing home I picked it just in case mom couldn't live at home and the move wouldn't be too unfamiliar to her.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi Jro. I placed my mom in a dementia ward in January. It was heartbreaking. She had been living alone with help from me and from some agencies. But she began trying to run away, wanting to go back to the place where she grew up. She also no longer believed that her home was her home. She did not want to come to live with me, so I had no choice.

Now it's a couple of months later. She thinks her home is with her parents, long deceased. She fought the dementia unit for a while, then seemed to adapt. She has gotten together with a man named Peter, and the two of them sit by the hour and plot their escape. It is actually kind of sweet. Mom was very religious, and they don't have church services, so I have begun going down on Sunday mornings and just playing some religious music and hymns for the whole unit. She is much safer and happier where she is. She turned 94 in the unit. If I could have kept her with me, I would have, but this is actually beginning to work out well.

I hope you are having some help and not taking care of your mom entirely by yourself. It is exhausting. I got shingles twice last year, and am still having after-effects from that. So take care of yourself, and be sure to do things that you love to do.

reikibev
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

My mom still lives with me and turns 94 next month. She has Alzheimer's and cancer. One night she woke me up and asked me when we could leave this hotel and go home. All night long I tried to convince her she was already home but she kept asking the same question. She was fine the next morning and didn't remember any of this. But it was a long sleepless night for me. The next night she asked me when will we go home, the thought of going through that whole experience again flashed before me. Then I decided to take out some photo albums, we looked at old photos of family and friends and she really enjoyed it. We went to bed and everything was fine.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I have never geard of Sundowners!
Need to check it out.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom had sundowners when she went into the nursing home. After a few weeks she got pneumonia and had to go into the hospital. She had had COPD and smoking related lung damage. They put her on oxygen, and she is still on it. The side benefit, is that the sundowners disappeared. She had been on dementia drugs to quiet her down, but they have been able to discontinue them. I know everybody is different.

Reikibev
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Now, about your Mom being confused about going to a nursing home. My dad was like that, he actually had a "melt down" wanting to die and crying uncontrolably, actually so were we! what a mess!
One of the residents started to sing a church song. The nurses made us leave, and told us not to return for 2 weeks.
I have to say this about that, the nursing home is a wonderful facility, the nurses,therapists, and all the employees treated
dad as if he was their Dad. No controlling meds.
They just made him feel " at home". Can't do that with us there, putting his name on his door,keeping him very busy, sitting and talking to him,etc.
We know because we asked to ck on him and they said "yes" as long as he didn't see us. He was having a ball!! jeeze!
The secret to helping Dad is distraction, distraction, distraction.
Even,now when he asks to go with us or wants to go home with Mom, we put a movie on in his room, for dad its a hunting dvd,
or animal planet on the TV. Works great.We sit with him for a while and watch with him.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Tennessee,
My dad had sundowners synd. Along with dementia, he would get very, very confused , would get agitated. That happened several times, first time we thought he had another stroke. scared us.
We called his Dr. and they told us it was sundowner syndr.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

tennessee, I just posted a reply to your separate sundowning post/question. Hope it helps.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I feel for you so much,My Mum went into a care home 2 days before Xmas,90% of the time she is not to bad,but the other 10% she asks when she can go home.She has vascular and alzheimers dementia,and also broke her hip,there is no way she can go home,it is so hard.I agree about Distraction,but you have to do what is right for you and your family.I totally neglected my husband children and grandchildren for years!
I now have a life.It is so easy to get caught up with one person.
Just be there for her when you are there.Dementia is a terrible thing.

I wish you well.
I may be the other side of the pond,but the problems are the same xx
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Has anyone heard of sundown syndrone?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You may be arguing for yourself, and/or your Mom. Your heart may want her at home for awhile longer until you are ready to release her. There is nothing wrong with that. There is also nothing wrong if you feel good about the nursing home and place her there knowing that she will be cared for. End of life transitions and decisions are not easy. Whatever is best for you. It may be that with proper hospice care for your Mom in your own home, you will both have much needed closure. Pray for the right choice for you. If you are not a praying person, ask the universe to show you the way. I promise it will become clear if you seek and pour your heart out, just as you are doing right now. Blessings to you and your Mom. She is no longer herself because of her disease. Also breaks my heart, as it must yours, to hear her calling for "help." We can only offer loving support, as you seem to be giving to your Mom even though your heart is breaking. Keep thinking and talking it through until your spirit leads the way. Tears and grief are ok. Hugs.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My Mom is 93. She has severe and deep dementia. My Dad passed away in 2000. They had been married for 63 years. I have been my Mom's caregiver, (with an AID during the day) since she had a fall resulting in a brain bleed 2 years ago. It triggered her dementia, and she never walked again, and has lived in a constant state of agitation. Nothing is good enough for her, and she is never happy. Recently, (4 months), it has been hard to get her to eat anything and she keeps saying "help", under her breath. She bites and kicks and always seems to be in pain when I move her. She went into the hospital with pneumonia 3 weeks ago. She is now in a nursing home for rehab and serious rest. She lost 35 lbs in the hospital. She has survived the pneumonia, but while in the hospital they found a mass in her lung. They have given me the odds and I would never put my Mom through the treatments available. They have advised hospice. The nursing home is practically next door to my home, and it is clean and the staff seems wonderful. She has improved in the 4 days she has been there. My family believes that she should be there for good now. In some ways I agree, 24 hr staff, physical therapy, visual stimulation, (she was always a people person), audible stimulation, safe environment ,etc. I just don't know. I am arguing to bring her home, but who am I arguing for? What is best for her? Am I fighting myself? I am grateful for any objective advice. Thanks
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

ctherenn, what a wonderful thing you do to travel in time with your mother. I can see why she would enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your technique!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am in the middle of the same situation. When my mother wants to go home I just hug her, tell her I love her, and that I understand. She is a mean person so she often follows with a harsh comment. I have gotten to the point that I can let that go most days. The other thing I do is I travel in time with her. I go ahead and let her talk to me about the place she is at, I ask her questions, its the only way we have to socialize now. She enjoys it and all I want for her are some comfortable days with some pleasant stimulation.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Reikibev -I have heard good things about depacote and I hope it works as for visiting do what your heart tells you to do maybe a short visit would work but only you can decide.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

reikibev: I am so sorry you are going through this. I have no advice, merely sympathy. Hang in there. You obviously are a wonderful daughter!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I love the wisdom and compassion of your reply, Char6626. Sorry your sister is having to deal with mental confusion. It must be hard on you, too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

So true, DR.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Every Alzheimer's patient's journey is different. The forum that these comments are written is specifically for caregivers. The caregivers get to vent and get support, however, sometimes the focus of the caregiver turns to "me". What can I do to make "me" feel better...so, and it is difficult when caring for a family member, (especially in the case of skilled care facility decisions) you have to make a decision that is best for your loved one, realize that you have done what you can, and not feel guilty about your decision.
That all being said, before placing a loved one in skilled care you must do your homework and find a place that you can trust.
If you trust that facility, you must allow them to take over care of your loved one. I am not saying not to visit, not to care, but allow the transition to happen. There is not one "best way" for all dementia patients to transition to a new environment, but if you've done your homework and trust the facility, allow them to attempt to make all concerned lives a easier.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

To all of you who brought me through these past few days, thank you from the bottom of my heart. This morning I went to my mom's nursing home, and just crawled into bed with her. She had just finished breakfast and they hadn't gotten her up yet. I just held her in my arms, and stroked her neck and back, and she relaxed. She is also on the Depacote now, and it has done wonders. After I while I read her Bible readings to her, and then explained where she was (rehab), and that she would be going to a NEW HOME in a week or so, and described it to her. The dementia facility there is lovely. It is a huge circular area with the patients individual rooms facing onto it. They can see people all the time, but they can also be alone. In the spring, there are walking paths outside, and all of it is within a locked unit, though huge, so she can have freedom without the fear of her running away again. She said it sounded very nice, and she was willing to go. So going alone, and holding her and talking to her was the right thing to do. I am very relieved, and very relaxed now, and the worst is over, I think. Again, thank you for each and every comment.

Reikibev
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

With my MIL one thing she enjoyed was food even when she did not talk she enjoyed Mc Donalds once a week-she was overweight and the dietician had a hissy fit but I talked to her doc and said that was the only thing she enjoyed in her life and after eight years in the NH she was tired of their food I did not ask permission just said from time to time I was bringing her in comfort food she was near the end of her life and I was going to do what was needed for her and he agreed- he was a kind man and understood the dietician continued to give me dirty looks but so what.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear Reikibev, be her touchstone, for who can love your mom like you? I have let go of the past with my dad, and we've been rewarded wonderfully. I just go and let him be...in peace and love. I get smiles and hugs. He strokes my face and calls my name, even though he has Advanced Stage Alzheimer's. I go just to love on him and enjoy the moment. I will have lots of memories to treasure from being there with him every chance I get. I go sometimes just to relax... Just bought him a comfortable chair, for what else does an Alz patient need? Love! That's the best answer. Be her touchstone to the past, and her stablizing factor in the present. You'll be glad you did! She'll adjust her way and in her time. Just be there for her, and you'll both benefit. Bless your heart!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Right on, Bill. I took my mother into a small lounge of the facility where she resides and I sat her down beside me while I played the piano. We sang old songs and she remembered some of the words, especially the choruses of the songs. In the new year I will see if some of the other residents want to join in on a sing-song now and then. Those that no longer sing often just enjoy listening to the old songs, just as you said, Bill. I think music is always good for the soul.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

So many great answers so far. I would suggest playing music that your mother loved. Or sing with her. I know it sounds a little strange, but I just read a great article in the WSJ on how music can really benefit patients with dementia and how it is often the easiest thing for them to remember. It can help them trigger old memories.

Happy Holidays,
Bill
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear Reikibev

I am sorry that at least ONE of your friends does not care to try to understand what you are going through but since none do, please keep all of us in this community in mind and let us know from time to time how things are going. You are carrying a very heavy burden and I'm sure, have been, ever since (even before?) your sister committed suicide. My heart goes out to you. I hope you and your mom can cry together about how life has gone, hug each other often, and continue to feel love for each other. You and your mom are both going down the "dementia highway" but each in a different way. It is a new road for both of you and not easy for either of you. Know that neither of you are alone. May you feel protected. Much love, lcs
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hapfra, thanks for that comment. IT made me feel better. I'm going over alone this morning. Everyone wants to come with me, but I haven't had much alone time with mom. I'm going to attempt to tell her this is her new home, but that when she finishes therapy she will go to a lovely place, which is true. I don't know how much stuff she will be able to bring into the new unit.

To all of you, thank you so much for all your responses. It is so nice to have this site and not feel so terribly alone. My friends do not understand at all what I'm going through. In addition, my sister committed suicide a year and a half ago, and I think my mom slid into dementia then because she couldn't deal with it. So I have to make this journey alone. But not alone. Because all of you know how it is.

Thank you so much.
Reikibev
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The only thing that will help your Mom is time, I'm afraid. Since she's so confused anyhow it'll be hard for her.....changing the subject is always a good device if you can possibly do that. My sister has been in a nursing home now for 6 weeks, and she's adjusting well at 89 yrs. old. Since the memory gets worse very quickly these days, I'm thinking she feels like the place now belongs to her:)
Good luck and don't stop visiting her, but make them short visits instead of loooong ones, until you think she's a little adjusted, and it will happen sooner than you think.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

God bless you and your sister, lcs. Both of you and your mother are most fortunate to have each other.

So true, hapfra. Care situations, though similar, are never alike for two people. Lots of ways to approach a single matter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I can only tell you what my sisters and I did recently when moving our mom into a care facility. We were able to move out from the assigned room all the institutional furniture and we moved in Mom's pieces of furniture instead. She helped decide what was to be moved. (If she hadn't been capable of making that decision, we would have figured it out ourselves and of course we did this before we brought Mom to her new room). She decided what pictures to bring to hang on her walls and we put them up where she wanted them. She had chosen on a few knick-knacks too and of course, favourite books. Mom's room soon looked like it was "her" room and not just "anybody's" room.
We visited with her between meal times from the first day she entered the facility. For her first meal, we walked with her to the dining room and then to her assigned table and introduced our mom and ourselves to the people already at the table. The dining room staff and other staff members got to know us right away. (Of course the office staff had met us earlier). We continued to visit with Mom very regularily and took her for walks around the facility - she was afraid of getting lost on her own. We got her mail for her, took her to meet with others for coffee in the dining room and in general just made sure she didn't feel that she has been deserted.
A fear she expressed to us previously was that once she was in a facility, we would forget her. My sisters and I just looked at each other in amazement when she said that. WHY such a thought would EVER have entered her head was beyond us all - my sisters and I have practically fallen over backwards in trying to meet her needs all her life and she has NEVER been neglected or forgotten by any of us!!! Perhaps this was a fear going back to childhood days when my mom might have feared being neglected and alone? Perhaps this fear if just part of growing old? Perhaps it is part of dementia? All I know is that my mom would have felt totally deserted if we had not visited her for a month. I suppose if our visits had upset her terribly, we would have had to reconsider but I don't think even then, we could have left her alone for a month. She would have felt desolate, neglected and totally unloved. Who wouldn't???
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.