My mom has been in MC for a month now. One of the parishioners of her church spoke to my dad and he told them about her move and dementia. Now I’m getting calls from the members that want to visit her and bring her gifts. All overwhelming. I am being very kind with them but it’s getting very intrusive and pushy. My mom is starting to get used to the MC and I don’t want to aggravate her. Ideas to help fend them off would be appreciated.

Since these are all church friends is there a way they can arrange a "visiting tree" where 1 or 2 people visit a week so it does not overwhelm mom?
Explain to them that this is all new to mom and that she needs to get settled in and used to the routine.
You can also explain that if it does become overwhelming that visiting will be more limited.
Trust me the vising sadly will not last long as these "well wishers" will go on with their lives.
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to Grandma1954

So sorry but we're letting mom acclimate to her new environment for another few months before she'll be ready for visitors. I'll let you know when, and thanks SO much for your kindness.

In other words, don't call me, I'll call you.

Only you know what will upset or aggravate your mother, not a bunch of forum users on the internet. Plus, nosey gossiping women DO exist in life, even in churches! I know that for a fact.
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Reply to lealonnie1
NeedHelpWithMom May 8, 2024
That’s exactly what I think. I just called one of the people who called her nosey because they were quite pushy on the phone with her.
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It might be your FATHER who could really use the socializing and support for HIMSELF. Would HE enjoy being asked to go out for coffee, or other social church activities or have visitors come to his home? I would make all decisions in conjunction with your father, and do everything slowly and in moderation. Visitors for your mom would mean well, but in the long run might create more work or stress for your father. Consider also that your mom has built in support in the MC home. Ask you dad what would be most helpful to HIM. I imagine this is a huge change for him and that he might feel isolated after caring for your mom as her illness progressed. Let me explain...

If people weren't visiting your mom before she was in memory care, I would be careful about introducing a new slate of visitors for her. Was your mom a social person before? If not, consider just one or two people who will commit to visiting her consistently for the long term. This would allow them to accumulate some experience on how to support her and be sensitive to her ever changing abilities and needs, and allow your mom to adjust to them. It's not all memory loss and repetitive conversation, it can also be very uncomfortable talk of confabulations and paranoia that some visitors might feel compelled to report or gossip about, such as "someone stole your mom's wedding ring", or "she said no family has visited her in weeks" (my dad, even though I came almost every day). Limited visitors would also allow your dad to receive meaningful feedback. Most people with cognitive issues need consistency and routine, not a parade of even more faces every week.

I continued (paid) "social companion" visits for my dad when he entered memory care. Even when he was getting these visits in his home, we limited it to three individuals. I was startled when after about a month in MC, one of the staff said the visitors were taking him out of the routines of the home like dining with the other residents and joining in on "fitness" games, that this might slow his adaptation to his new environment, and that sometimes my dad slept through their visit.

In retrospect, I believe I insisted on keeping the socializing service to help ME feel better. The visitors were a second set of eyes and ears to report back to me (in addition to the staff). Also, it was very hard for me to admit that my father had declined to the level that I perceived the other residents to be at, though of course I could only see on a superficial level how the other residents were functioning. I felt the visitors allowed him to continue to function at a higher level, and I still believe it did, for a while. The visitors also allowed me to take more time for myself.

I believe supporting your FATHER needs to be at the center of this decision. If your father is getting adequate support, your mom will be too.
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Reply to HonorAble
NeedHelpWithMom May 10, 2024
What a wonderful post. So often, people forget how difficult it is for the family members of the person who has dementia.
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update- Yesterday my mom was pretty sharp so I asked her if she wanted these visitors. She emphatically said NO- then got worked up and I had to redirect. She definitely made her wishes known- no visitors except immediate family. I'm glad I held the well wishers at bay.
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Reply to Arkh64
AlvaDeer May 13, 2024
So am I . And I still think you can have this sweetly and nicely mentioned at her church by her Pastor. Ask them to send card that are pretty, and any treats she loves, but to spare her from visits which she has now told you are upsetting for her.
You have a right to this and any right-thinking person would gladly honor your wishes.
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Some people don't want a lot of visitors. Some love having them.

I didn't want visitors in the first two weeks after surgery. I needed to sleep and take care of myself, and I asked them to stay away. My neighbor didn't want the whole neighborhood dropping in after her husband died. People respected her wishes. One of the worst days in my life was when I brought my firstborn home from the hospital, and our dear friends came "to see the baby" and stayed for three hours (I'd had a difficult childbirth, didn't want to talk about it, and thought it would be rude to ask them to leave so I could rest). Another neighbor wanted people to drop in and stay all day every day during her recovery from surgery, so she wouldn't feel lonely.

It's an individual thing. Do what you think your mom would want.
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Reply to Fawnby

My mother’s friends disappeared rapidly when she entered a nursing home. I know you’re feeling overwhelmed but I hope you’ll be grateful for those who care and want to be there. In time you may see it as a blessing
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Reply to Daughterof1930

I would kindly tell them thank you for the interest in visiting mom, but this is an overwhelming adjustment for her and a very confusing time for her and we are not accepting visitors at this time. Ask them to keep your mom in their prayers and thank them for respecting your family's need for privacy at this time.

Before my mom was diagnosed with dementia, my husbands aunt developed dementia and she lived an hour and a half away and we ended up moving her closer to us so we could manage her care as we were the only family she had. We never dreamed that we would need to tell people that this was a locked down memory care unit and we were not allowing random visitors to show up unannounced. Her church loaded a bus of people and drove the hour and a half and visited her without us knowing. She was a very private person and carried herself in old school style with hair set and dresses with panty hose every day, etc. Very prim and proper. Obviously in late stage dementia she was no longer able to maintain herself in that way. She would have been mortified that those people came to see her had she been in her right mind. They obviously didn't understand that she no longer knew them...she didn't even know us. She was incontinent, she was cursing which was totally out of character for her and they are the last thing she needed walking in the door unannounced. These people are pushy and you have to be firm and upfront with them and just tell them no.

Your obligation is to your moms wellbeing...not theirs.
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Reply to Jamesj

I'm just curious why these members are asking you, rather than your dad, about visiting your mom?

If your (collective) concern is that it is still too "soon" for mom to get visitors, because she is still adjusting to her new home, then I think honesty would be your best policy here. "Dad and I so appreciate your wanting to visit mom, but for the very short term, it's best she have limited visitors so she can get used to the nursing home. Dad and I would LOVE if you would hold off your visit for (xxx) amount of time, to give mom the best odds in a smooth transition. In the meantime, if you could send her a card or a note, that would be very kind of you."

I wouldn't be too quick to totally discourage any future visits, because for many residents of a home, these are too few and too far between. Even if mom can't remember who they are, future visits might cheer her more than you could imagine. Obviously, if the visits distress her, then that's an entirely different scenario. But she might very well come to a place where she can get visitors without undue stress.
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Reply to notgoodenough
Pjdela May 9, 2024
Yes, I am with you in wondering why the OP is recieiving the calls and not her father.
Was your Mom or Dad very close to these people? Especially the pushy ones? Most of my sunday school group have known each other for years, having raised kids in the church and now having grandkids and great grankids. Many have had health problems. Two members, at least, are living with incurable cancer and come every week and are active participants. They all love, support and pray for each other. Thy have spent the majority of their adult lives together and been there for each other through good and bad. We share news about people's situations with their permission. Some celebratory, some mournful. I doubt people in your parents age range are naive to dementia issues and are gawkers.
I like the phone tree idea a lot. People want to be supportive, and if your Mom could enjoy visits, maybe later if not now, it may be of comfort to her, your Dad or even you when things become even more difficult later on.
My phone is sometimes busy with text messages for prayers, meal trains, and updates from this group. It can feel overwhelming at times, but I know they would be doing the same for me. Better than no one caring.
I pray things go as well as they can under the circumstances for you, your Mom and Dad.
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Why would you want to "fend" off people that truly care about your mom and would like to come keep her company for a while? Don't you think your mom would enjoy seeing them? Would you rather her be lonely and all by herself all day long?
So you tell them that you're sure your mom would love to see them just not all at once. Perhaps they can space out their visits to just once every other day for the time being.
And don't worry, if it goes as usual, those church visits will eventually taper off to next to never anyway.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to funkygrandma59

If you feel like their visits would aggravate her, then be honest with them and tell them that what you just told us, That she isn’t up for company, because she’s just now getting used to her facility.

Say that you feel that it is too soon for a visit. If you don’t want to close the door entirely, you might also add, that you will let them know if the situation changes.

Keep a list of names and numbers. Or, get email addresses and send a group email.

If someone is calling that you feel would not be good company for her, say that the staff has recommended that she shouldn’t receive any visits from anyone outside of family.

If you really want to cut the conversation short, you can say that she isn’t receiving any visitors without any explanation. You don’t owe them a reason.

I understand how these calls feel like an invasion of your privacy right now. The family is trying to adjust to this situation alongside your mom.

If you change your mind about visitors later on, that’s okay too. What do you think your mom would like?

I suppose your dad wanted to tell them about his situation or that they asked him about your mom and he told them.

If your dad needs to talk about his feelings, ask him if he is interested in participating on this forum.

Another thing you could do is ask if they have a choir that would be interested in making an appearance to perform for the residents.

When my mom was in rehab in a facility, the residents really enjoyed the chorus groups that sang hymns.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Bunnymomjulie May 14, 2024
Yes, agreed! Sometimes I also think about whether or not she would want them to see her this way. Only the super close friends and family usually come. The situation kind of scares off the casual acquaintances. I combined my mom's Christmas list with mine and wrote a letter to everyone explaining the past year(s) and wrote out where she is and her mailing address. Local people are free to come by, and the rest send cards.
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