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How to handle the move to a care home

(38 Posts)
bytheway Thu 07-Sep-23 17:53:33

Background: Dad currently has his own flat, he has early stages dementia and has recently taken a turn for the worse. I am one of his 5 children. My nearest 2 siblings lives 45mins and 1.5 hours drive away, both still working. I live 400 miles away and the other 2 somewhere in between.

We all have power of attorney. The decision was taken a few weeks ago (between all the siblings) that he now needs full time dementia care and a suitable home has been found.

His savings will fund roughly a years stay, then the flat will be sold, then….who knows.

At the moment oldest brother is setting up an assessment for Dad which will be carried out by care home.

The closer we get to this the more uneasy I am feeling. No one has yet told Dad of this decision. Should we have involved him in the first place? Do we have the right to do this?

Of all of us I am least closest to Dad and furthest away and it’s been my 2 siblings that live the closest that have been dealing with everything and as I am not there often I have largely had to trust in what they are telling me (which I do implicitly)

Have any of you had to deal with this? Should we have involved him from the start? How do we tell him?

Bijou Sat 09-Sep-23 13:24:31

My family and carers know that I do not wish to go into a care home after having spent two weeks in one for rehabilitation after an operation.
For the amount care homes charge it will be possible to have care at home.
Wouldn’t be for long as I am in my 101st year.

littleflo Sat 09-Sep-23 13:25:45

It depends how bad his memory is. We told my mum she was going for some respite care. We actually used the word convalescent as it was a word she knew. She got a new lease of life. She was well cared for, well fed, had her hair done every week and was kept clean.

This was a Local Authority Home. The staff were lovely., all of them had worked for the home for several years. She lived much longer in the home and had a better quality of life than she would have.

GrauntyHelen Sat 09-Sep-23 14:35:31

Just because you have Poa doesn't mean your Dad shouldn't be consulted He may be deemed to have a degree of capacity

Saggi Sat 09-Sep-23 15:10:40

I admit to being a little devious about this…. after my third stroke in 2021 my Mixed dementia/ Alzheimers with Lewy bodies husband had to go into respite care while I recovered..… I’d been looking after him by myself since his stroke 26 years ago … daughter and son convinced me that I’d ‘done enough’ over all the years and it was time to reclaim a little bit of what was left of my life….I must say I agreed wholeheartedly …I’d had enough, especially as he had turned violent toward me! He was supposed to be there six weeks ( that’s your yearly allowance for respite) but he never came out! I spoke to him and told him I could not cope any longer as my health was now deteriorating ( arthritis !) and I could no longer lift him from floorthree times a day….I kid you not….and he weighs 12 stones of dead weight! So he acknowledged what I was saying to him and after a few visits where he asked “ when am I coming home”… he has settled down. I visit 2-3 times a week only as I dont drive and my knees are useless …. I’m not going to say it’s easy but you must all now start to accept the inevitable. My kids were correct …my health is better now than it’s been for the last 15 years…I’m thankful for the time left to me …I’ve been his nurse/ doctor /psychiatrist for 25 years …it was 10 years too long! Doctor said next stroke would kill me …so decision was easy …’ll have plenty of guilt …plenty of people saying you’ve ‘dumped him’….I say to these people “
here’s my shoes , and you can walk around in them for a couple months!!! See how fast they shut up!

Aveline Sat 09-Sep-23 15:11:32

I think convalescent is a very good word to use.
I volunteer in an NHS dementia unit. The ladies I see are all very different as you'd expect. There are friendship groups as well as people that just plain don't like each other. They're human! Their ability level can vary from day to day. One lady was just singing 'Yellow Submarine' over and over one day but the next told me that she's an inpatient here and can't go home. Quite insightful. Sometimes I wonder if people really have dementia but then something comes up and it's all back in focus. One sad coffee break the ladies all tried to remember their husband's names. Ended in some tears.

4allweknow Sat 09-Sep-23 15:51:05

How is the assessment of need going to be carried out? Generally a care home will want to do an assessment to ensure his needs can be met. He may well have a lucid moment when being assessed either in his own home or at a visit to the proposed care home. Someone should at least try to convey to your DF he will be moving from his current home to a new one. Appreciate he may not comprehend what is being said, all depending on the level of his illness but trying to afford him some dignity wouldn't go amiss.
Such a sad and very distressing situation for all involved.

GrannySomerset Sat 09-Sep-23 16:10:16

My late DH, with Parkinson’s making him ever frailer and less safe at home and with Lewy body dementia robbing him of his ability to understand and make decisions, went into the excellent local nursing home ostensibly as respite for me because I had such a bad back. He died there seven weeks later, safe, unafraid and well looked after, though I don’t think he quite forgave me. Better to make such a decision before a serious fall at home means there is no choice.

Musicgirl Sat 09-Sep-23 16:42:12

My daughter worked in a care home for a while when she was a student. One gentleman with dementia had been told by his wife that he was going on holiday. He accepted this and was perfectly happy, keeping up his holiday role until he died. He was another tipper, thinking that his meals were being served in the hotel restaurant.

Aveline Sat 09-Sep-23 16:54:37

Some of the residents in the unit I visit think they're in a hotel. They often feel they should be paying. The rooms are all single and ensuite bathrooms and actually do feel like hotel rooms albeit with some personal items. The only thing that spoils the ambience at times are the alarms that go off sometimes if someone tries to walk who shouldn't. There are some very frail and unsteady residents.

5553n Sat 09-Sep-23 21:12:30

A few years ago I was in a similar situation to you but with fewer siblings. My parents had given POA, then my Father died after a fall. My poor Mum had started to show signs of Dementia prior to this and as her situation deteriorated I suggested a period of 'respite'in a very special care home for her which she agreed to as she still had capacity. Following Mum settling in she then told me she didn't want to go back home so I had the problem solved for me by her decision. We then sold her flat to fund her care and as her Dementia increased over the years I moved her to a specialist Nursing Home where she received wonderful care until this year when she died aged 98. I'm sorry for your plight but by family members handing over decision making to you via POA you have to trust your instincts that you are making the correct choices for them. It is all very sad and difficult at the time, but he will flourish with companionship and stimulation more than you realise now- believe me!

Witzend Sun 10-Sep-23 11:43:39

We arranged it all for my mother without telling her- her dementia was pretty bad by then but in her head there was absolutely nothing wrong with her so she’d never have agreed to go. A lot of surreptitious arrangements were made and finally we took her’out for lunch’ at the care home - a 60 mile drive away. TBH I’ve never dreaded a day so much in my life, but it all went rather better than we’d feared.
The CH had sent someone beforehand to ascertain that she did need 24:7 care - by then TBH it was pretty obvious. She was self funded so we had not involved social services at all. The CH was a specialist for dementia and was very good. She went on for another 8 years, until she died at 97.
I’ve never felt in the least guilty about it - TBH it was overdue / she was simply no longer safe to be left alone even for half an hour.

aonk Sun 10-Sep-23 12:39:28

Some years ago my MIL developed cancer although she wasn’t told about this( not my decision.) She hated being alone even for a few hours. She was quite weak after surgery so we also suggested “convalescence.” She wasn’t sure about the care home at first but soon settled in and was well looked after. She didn’t have dementia but was getting rather vague and helpless. She made her own decision to remain there and died there a year later. She was so well cared for. As long as she had frequent visits and outings when possible she was content.