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My mother, who has dementia, is in a nursing home and we took her to my house for an overnight visit for Thanksgiving. While we was a bit confused, she did pretty well, though we had to help her with using the bathroom, etc. The only thing was that when it was time to take her back, she got so depressed. She put her head in her hands, cried, and said she would rather be dead than go back to the nursing home. We are thinking of taking her home for Christmas and I'm wondering if it is the right thing to do, or are we causing more harm than good. It was heart wrenching for my sister and me, when we had to take her back.

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It is challenging. I do believe that it's the people who make the big difference in a place though. I feel that caring people who really are kind to the residents does come through, even with those with severe dementia.

I have a friend who's father is in an upscale memory care facility and self pay. It's very nice, lovely, good reputation, but they have the same problems that all the other places have. I don't see that those residents are any happier than those in other places that aren't so fancy.

I was fortunate to place my cousin in a small, family owned facility. It's not super fancy, but clean as a pin. I've never smelled anything unpleasant and their staff is long standing. Most of their staff has been there for at least 7 years. It's not problem free, but she tells me that they are good to her and she likes living there.
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Amen lynvick.
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My sister and I had a sit down with the Social Worker, head nurse and and other staff members recently and voiced our concerns. We were met with polite smiles but nothing seems to have changed.

I don't think my mother absorbs too much but when we had her home we watched "The Wizard of Oz" and she loved it. She was even singing along to the songs. So I think it depends on the programming and environment.

We are also concerned that they sit in these hard, uncomfortable chairs in the depressing, overly bright activities/"dining" room, for upwards of 12 hours a day!

No nursing home is perfect. We looked at a lot of facilities and believe it or not, this place was the best. This process has been quite an education. It's sad to see our seniors, who worked so hard all their lives, raised families, etc., end up like this. Seems there should be better alternatives. Unless you can self-pay, this is it.
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Maybe some of the residents like golf. Seems rather odd to me, but I would ask to discuss the list of movies to see if there was a fair mix. Do you know how much she absorbs. It's difficult to know, but all we can do is hope that some stimulation is getting through.

I'm not familiar with how a nursing home handles it, but in some assisted living facilities they have a social coordinator who comprises a lot of the activities. Do they have someone like that? I would discuss my concerns so they might either improve or explain to your satisfaction what they have available and why.

Making a dementia patient happy is a big goal. I applaud you for trying, but even with a multitude of activities, she still may not be content. That's why I would explore medication. If she's depressed that might make a big difference.
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My mother, too, feels like she works at the nursing home. She is always worried about work when we take her out for lunch, etc.

The nursing home does post a calendar of events, and "Movie Time" is one that they have most often. That involves sitting the residents in front of the large flat screen TV and airing programs like golf tournaments, college football, and most inappropriately, Lifetime movies featuring knife wielding, scorned women. To be fair, they do show "I Love Lucy" and "The Carol Burnett Show" but sometimes it seems the programming is meant to engage the CNAs rather than the residents.
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It sounds like she might get upset again if you brought her home. I try to look at the big picture and whether it is worth the risk. Of course, it's a personal decision to be made by your family. It just seems it would cause distress for her and her family.

Have you inquired about her stimulation at the memory care unit? In NC, they are required to provide so many hours of activity each day for dementia patients. My cousin's Memory Care unit has a schedule on the wall with the times for each activity, such as exercise and stretching, games, music time, etc. Some are not able to participate, but they are still included as much as possible. If you think that added stimulation would be helpful and for some reason the facility is not providing it, then I might explore hiring a professional to go to the facility and visit with her a few times a week to engage her in activities, such as crafts, reading or just chatting. You have to determine if her memory would allow her to benefit from it. She would certainly enjoy it in the moment though and I that's what I try to achieve with my loved one. I try to bring happy moments as often as possible, even though she may not recall them. It can be so frustrating.

I would also point out that with dementia, many patients are not happy anywhere they stay. They can be unhappy, even in their own homes, so it might not be the facility that is making her depressed.

I might discuss it with her doctor. She might need medication to help with her mood. My loved one is on Cymbalta and she is doing great. It doesn't make her tired or sleepy. She's quite alert and she says she loves where she stays. It's a Secure Memory Care Unit, but she calls it her apt. The rooms are very large and she gets around on her own in a wheelchair. She thinks she works there too.
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I would vote "no" do not take Mom home for Christmas as you probably will have a repeat of what happened the month before with Thanksgiving.

When living in a nursing home and elder with dementia learned the routine and eventually follows the routine. Any changes to the routine, like a day out or an overnight stay, throws a wrench into that routine.

My Mom [98] is in a nursing home with dementia and even though my Dad wants to bring her home, I try to discourage that. The logistics of doing that are too overwhelming at her stage. My Mom didn't even know it was Thanksgiving nor will she know when it is Christmas. It is so sad seeing this.
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