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I applied for a respite where my mom would go into a nursing home for 6 nights. I am having anxiety over how and when to tell her because I know she will strongly resist. The stay is planned for over a month from now. There is no other way for me to do this as it would be way too costly to get someone in the home, and this will be a free stay paid for by the Office for the Ageing. The reason it cannot be assisted living is because she is blind and needs guidance and assistance with everything. She does not have dementia, nor is she incontinent. I also would like to hear any tips on making her short stay more comfortable. She is very spoiled and will throw crying or yelling tantrums if she does not get what she wants when she wants it. She is narcissistic and feels entitled, and rarely says please or thank you.

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Since your mom will not be happy with these arrangements I would not tell her till the very last minute. Also I agree with using what I call a fiblet, A little white lie, something that will satisfy mom as much as possible as to why you were taking a break whether it be for medical reasons or what ever works. Below I will share a list which you may need to tell us and she is blind and does not have dementia but it's a good guide to start. Enjoy your respite!


Small pillows or cushions to make those darn chairs more comfy for long waits
Tissue, lip balm, money for vending machines
Nice comfy, plush robe, throw or blanket to keep from freezing to death
Small bottle or pack of Advil, Tylenol, Motrin or Aspirin for the major headache you are dealing with...Thermacare patches to put on your poor aching back
Bottled water, instant coffee, tea bags, sweetener, creamer and a microwaveable cup...in case the nurses are sympathetic and let you use their microwave
SNACKS for you and your loved one
Big comfy socks for your cold tootsies
Cell phone charger
Crochet - yarn and hooks and scissors
List that included current meds & who prescribed them, current doctors, allergies, medical history & diagnosis, family medical history, copies of driver's license or id card & insurance cards, emergency contact info.
Cards, yarn (for crocheting), notepad, pen, and a coloring book. Also, I have a small travel size toothbrush, deodorant, and underwear.
Lighted Nook.
A sweater /sweatshirt, a blamket, coffee, a pad and pen or pencil, a book or something to read, maybe a protein bar and a bottle of water (which I can then refill)
Slippers, and spare glasses (if you wear contacts like me).
CHOCOLATE...LOTS OF CHOCOLATE.....FAMILY MEMBERS PHONE NUMBERS TO CALL AND LET THEM BE AWARE OF SITUATION....(MAYBE SOME WILL COME OFFER TO SIT WITH YOU OR GIVE YOU A BREAK)
Toothbrush, toothpaste, facial cleanser, little makeup, small hairspray and deodorant, a phone or tablet that plays music, download songs your loved one likes.
Paperwork to sign up for a different insurance company so you can go to a Kaiser and not have to wait so long.
A crochet project with yarn, scissors and a measuring tape. CD player.
My journal.
My Kindle
My meds , POAs..directive to physicians..list of all surgeries and ailments (Copies and tell them to keep them)
I had about 50 old pics of my moms we would look through together at appts...calmed her allot..me too.
My kindle, charger, reading glasses, hoodie.
A power cord for your cell phone.
A pamphlet for the staff to read on how to be patient & kind to a person with alzheimers or dementia.
List of phone numbers and people to contact (if not in your phone).
Change of clothes.
Snacks for sure
Toothbrush, lotion, water, mints, special blanket, pillow.
Comfy robe
A blanket or poncho
Neck pillow
Clorox Wipes and Lysol Spray to sanitize door knobs, rails, remotes, handles, sinks, floor, etc.
Just a hint...put it all in a rolling bag
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It is not totally a respite from caregiving. It is a business trip I take every year with my husband who was counting on me. As it is, he has been very patient with me having to stay overnight with my mom every day for the last 6 months. Not to say that I won't totally enjoy this trip as I always have in the past. I won't lie to her because she does not have dementia and will ask my daughter and others where I went. Once reminded, she will remember that I do this every year at the same time. Anyway, if I told that fib you can bet she would insist on details.
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You could also use what someone else here cleverly called a "therapeutic fib". You could say you need to have a minor medical procedure that requires bed rest, or just plan rest, for about a week, but that you've arranged for your daughter to visit in your place.

Don't give details on this "procedure"; just tell her it's minor and isn't dangerous, so she doesn't worry.

If you need more respite after the first 6 nights, you could say that you're getting post-procedure PT and need to cut back your visiting hours a bit.

I don't like lying, but it sounds as if under the circumstances it would be better than telling her that you need a respite from caregiving.
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Thank you both for your helpful responses. I will be out of town, but hopefully my daughter will be around to visit frequently. Candy, CD player, and photo over the bed with a letter to the caregivers are all good ideas! I think I will tell her a day or 2 before so she is prepared, but doesn't have too much worry about it.
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First, I'll mention that narcissism seems to come with old age so don't judge her too harshly. Secondly, my answer to "when to tell her" is the morning of. Why get her upset ahead of time? Take your time explaining it to her...what she can expect, where she's going, exactly how long you're going to be gone, where you're going, if she'll have visitors (that'd be nice, if you could arrange for other family or a friend or two of yours to stop in). Tell her about the care she's going to get...excort to meals, help with dressing, etc., etc. In my opinion, your mom willl be absolutely DESPERATE for reassurance that you'll be back.

As to ways to make her stay more comfortable...how about sending along some of her favorite snacks? Maybe a CD player with some of her favorite music or an audio book? How about a big box of candy to the nurses' station in mom's name for staff? And trick-or-treat-sized candy bars in her room so staff will stop in frequently to say hello.

When mom went into a nursing home for rehab (she was there 3 months), I brought in a framed picture of her when she was a young woman along with a typed letter I wrote telling a little about her...her likes/dislikes, what she needs help with, things she might enjoy. The nursing home posted it right above her bed. They actually were very appreciative. And loved-loved-loved the photo.
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Well if she is the type to hate everything you are not going to be able to make her like the nursing home, no matter how well they care for her or what comforts you provide. Just tell her you will be away for a week and you have arranged for her to go somewhere to be looked after. It's up to you when to tell her, there is no sense making it too soon if she will torment you about it, but I guess it is only courteous to give her a couple of weeks warning.
To provide for her comfort, make sure she has plenty of warm clothes if she is the type to always be cold, an extra blanket/afghan for her bed/knees, and perhaps her own pillows. Are you going on a holiday? Have fun!
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